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In a May 2009 commencement speech at the University of Southern California, Mr. Schwarzenegger alluded to the powerful influence Ms. Shriver had on his life. He said when people ask him the secret to success, “I say, No. 1, come to America. No. 2, work your butt off. And No. 3, marry a Kennedy.”

As the state’s first lady, Ms. Shriver ran an annual women’s conference that attracted a long list of business, political and entertainment luminaries, along with an audience of thousands. She also was credited with overhauling the California Museum in downtown Sacramento, and, with Mr. Schwarzenegger, starting the California Hall of Fame.

In 2007, Ms. Shriver said she wouldn’t resume a TV news career after the media circus surrounding Anna Nicole Smith’s accidental drug overdose.

“It was then that I knew that the TV news business had changed, and so had I,” she said at the time. In a 2009 interview with the Associated Press, she said, “I’m too much of a free spirit” to consider running for elective office.

Ms. Shriver stood by her husband during his campaign after the Los Angeles Times reported accusations that he had a history of groping women. Mr. Schwarzenegger later said he “behaved badly sometimes.”

The breakup comes months after the death of Ms. Shriver’s father, Peace Corps founder and former vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, in January.

Associated Press writer Daisy Nguyen contributed to this report.