Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Joseph Baena’s upbringing was markedly different from that of the actor’s other children. Baena is the result of an affair that Schwarzenegger had with his housekeeper in the 90s – but there is no doubt that Joseph is his father to this day.
For many years, the world was unaware that Arnold Schwarzenegger had an illegitimate son – but in 2011, everything changed. In an interview with Men’s Health tells Joseph Baena about the day the truth about his famous father was revealed:
“I remember that day very clearly. I was in eighth grade. It was the fifth or sixth lesson. And in the middle of the lesson, I find out that I have to go home. My mother is there, and she says, ‘we have to go – it’s out who you are and who your father is’. Reporters surrounded the house. Photographers stalked the family. I’m 13. Your body goes through changes, your brain goes through changes. And now my life is changing before my eyes,” he said in an interview published in February this year.
The divorce took ten years
Baena is actually the son of Schwarzenegger’s former housekeeper, Mildred Baena. The actor has previously told in an interview with 60 Minutes that it was only when Joseph was eight years old that he understood that the child was his own:
“It wasn’t until the boy started to look like me that I understood. I put two and two together,” he reportedly said People.
After the realization, Szwarzenegger began supporting Mildred financially and when he left his post as governor of California in 2011, he finally told his family the truth about Joseph.
Arnold and his ex-wife Maria Shriver – whom he married in 1985 and had four children with – separated shortly after the revelation. In the same vein, Shriver filed for divorce.
During his participation in 60 Minutes Schwarzenegger took the blame for his failed marriage:
“If you had asked me 10 years ago, five years ago, two years ago, what was most important in my life, I would have said over and over again that it’s my marriage, it’s my family. So what really meant the most to me broke because of me. I’ll always look back on it and think, ‘How could you do that?'”
Although Schwarzenegger and Shriver separated in 2011, it took a full decade for the divorce to take place. According to rumours, it was Arnold’s relationship with his 27-year-younger girlfriend Heather Milligan, whom he met in 2013, that ultimately led to the ex-spouses taking the step to separate in 2021.
According to a source Page Six so Schwarzenegger and Shriver are on good terms with each other today:
“They have a great relationship, they are very close to each other and take care of the children, they see each other very often.”
Following in his father’s footsteps
Joseph Baena’s upbringing was markedly different from that of Arnold’s other children. Baena’s family lived in Bakersfield, an area sometimes referred to as “California’s armpit”, and despite Schwarzenegger’s financial support, he describes his childhood home as “simple”, and says that his family “didn’t have much”.
Baena’s relationship with his biological father developed when he discovered weightlifting as a teenager and Schwarzenegger gave Baena the book The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding to help him with the training.
“Even though I could call him at any time, I was too proud,” admits Joseph Men’s Health. “I used the book instead. I wanted to learn it on my own.”
He later asked his father for advice on how best to build strength in his shoulders, and when he was eighteen they began training together. Today, father and son seem to have a better relationship than ever: Joseph periodically pays attention to his father on Instagram and has even chosen to follow in his footsteps and become an actor.
At the same time, Joseph, who also works as a broker, says that he does not feel compelled to become a new Arnold Schwarzenegger:
“A lot of guys struggle with trying to make their dads proud or trying to get out of their dads’ shadow. But as long as you do what you want, all that will come naturally. Although it is clear, those boys may not have as kind fathers as I do.”