Maria Shriver attended a convent for advice after she split from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The journalist, 67, filed for divorce in July 2011 from the ‘Predator’ actor, 75, after it emerged he had cheated with their housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena, but the split was not finalised until December 2021, and Maria said speaking to a reverend mother about the betrayal left her sobbing.
She told Hoda Kotb on Monday (06.02.23) during an appearance on the ‘Making Space’ podcast: “(The nun said), ‘You can’t come live here… but you do have permission to go out and become Maria.’”
The former first lady of California admitted she had never “given myself permission to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be brought to my knees” before the talk, and she thought: “OK, God, let’s go” as she left the convent before she went on to give herself “permission to start learning”.
Arnold and Mildred had a baby boy named Joseph, now 25, amid their affair, and a judge ruled Maria was entitled to half the money the actor earned during their marriage.
Maria – who had children Katherine, 33, Christina, 31, Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25, with the ‘Terminator’ actor – added on the podcast the scandal and split led her to re-evaluate “every aspect of” her life.
She said: “(I asked myself), ‘What was my role? What could I do better? What had I done that put me in that place?
“I did everything that was available that I could find to myself.”
Maria – the niece of late US President John F Kennedy – also said she had been used to growing up in the shadows of the rich and famous.
She added: “I grew up feeling invisible in an incredibly public, famous family. There were a lot of really big characters in that family.”
Maria also admitted her successes in life never made her feel “seen”, adding: “What actually makes people feel seen and worthy is talking to them, sitting with them, calling them, slowing down… sitting on the porch, going, ‘I don’t have anywhere to go. I’m right here with you.’”