I’ll be honest. When I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, watching Twins and Kindergarten Cop with [my brothers] Carlo and Brian come to mind—then former Governor of California. Now, cheater, liar and deadbeat dad come to mind. After twenty-five years of marriage, Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced that they were separating last week. According to the Los Angeles Times, the woman with whom Schwarzenegger fathered a child worked for his family for twenty years until last January. Both Schwarzenegger and Shriver have made comments on the scandal that broke up their marriage—and as a single mom of a little boy who has a living, educated father who refuses to participate, yet plays dad to his other son, both of their statements kind of irk me. Here goes...
Schwarzenegger said: “After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago.” I don’t like that he says “over a decade ago.” To me it reads: Eh, it was so long ago who cares! My son’s father uses our short-lived relationship as one of many, many convenient excuses as to why he doesn’t come around. Whether you cheated on your wife, had a one-night-stand or called someone your girlfriend for three months—if you father a child in that time—there should be no excuses—or pay-offs. We've all seen Knocked Up. You can get pregnant via 3 minutes of bad sex.
I imagine there are many, many people who have no idea the handsome family guy in Indiana has a son in NJ he abandoned 11-weeks into my pregnancy. This keeps things looking neat. Schwarzenegger was married with four kiddos, so I’m not surprised he paid his child’s mother off and allowed her to work for the family all these years—it kept things looking normal and picture-perfect. Pictures tell a thousand lies—trust me. Like I said, I’ve been able to watch my son’s father’s life unfold in pictures over the past four years thanks to the Internet.
Schwarzenegger continued: “I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.”
Ah, he apologized to his children—the 4 or 5 of them? What about the 10-year-old child? Does anyone care that in the middle of this scandal lies a kid that was deceived for a decade of his/her life—pawned off like a piece of gold?
Shiver’s statement is as follows: "This is a painful and heartbreaking time," she said. "As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment." She undeniably said “My children”—and she has every right to worry about their feelings, but she deliberately ignored the, for lack of better terms, love child. THE CHILD. Still, I feel for Shriver and I know that her not mentioning the love child wasn't out of spite, but likely, shame, sadness, confusion -- shock that her life for the past 10 years has been a lie. I think of my ex's wife and how she described their kissy relationship on their glowing wedding website -- leaving out the big, nasty breakup and her husband's move to NYC where he met ME -- where OUR child was concieved. Of course, no one would admit these details, but the complete discard of reality -- saying we met and the rest was history -- really? Really? And I feel bad for his wife, and confused why I feel bad for her. Because I'm a good person (maybe a little angry, sad, and hurt sometimes, too).
How are Schwarzenegger's 4 kids taking the news? Cheeky! Patrick Schwarzenegger, 17, tweeted: “Appreciate all your messages. Small speed bump [in] life, luckily we own hummers, we will cruise right over it.” I wonder if your dad will buy your half-sibling a hummer when he turns 16.
Now, I’m not putting all the blame on Schwarzenegger, because this woman with whom he conceived the child with must have been OK with whatever financial arrangement was made, because not only has Schwarzenegger admitted to taking financial responsibility for his child (big deal), but the woman continued to work in the home where Schwarzenegger lived with Shriver—and their kids that were good enough to get his full participation and not just a child support check—which, btw, regardless of the hush-hush arrangement between the celeb turned Governor and his lover, is the freaking law! The two people that create the child must pay for the child—and there are legitimate penalties when court-ordered child support isn’t paid (jail being one, a lien on a property being 2, not being able to leave the country, drive, being 3! Want to hear more? OK! Garnished work wages and intercepted tax return checks -- there's more). Being financially responsible for your child isn’t a favor and it doesn’t make you a parent. Doing what Arnold and parents like him do, makes you a coward.
I’ll end here: I personally have a friend whose father had an affair—and from that affair a child was born. My friend’s parents went to counseling and decided not to divorce—but they didn’t throw child support at my friend’s half-sibling. The father, OK, pays child support (again, the law) but he also plays an active role in the kid’s life. It’s was a messy, painful situation, but let it be an example of a man owning it—not a mouse who pushed his “mistake” under the carpet.
I can't wait for the Lifetime movie. You know it's coming.
Go on and discuss…