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Shriver stood by her husband during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign after the Los Angeles Times reported accusations that he had a history of groping women. Schwarzenegger later said he “behaved badly sometimes.”

In 2006, Schwarzenegger settled a libel lawsuit with a former late-night British TV personality who claimed she was groped by the Hollywood actor during a 2000 interview and later defamed by his aides during the 2003 campaign. In 2004, a judge dismissed a similar libel lawsuit filed against Schwarzenegger by Rhonda Miller, who accused him of groping her.

While Schwarzenegger was governor, Shriver and their children never moved to Sacramento, preferring their homes in the Los Angeles area. Schwarzenegger commuted by private jet between his family and the state capital.

Shriver often lamented the loss of her TV job. More recently, she has struggled with the death of her father, Peace Corps founder and former vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, in January.

A separation doesn’t always signal a divorce is imminent, said Charlotte Goldberg, a family law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

“Some people separate in order to try to work things out, to see if they can reconcile and come back together,” Goldberg said.

That was the case for talk show host Larry King and his wife, Shawn, who kicked off a bitter divorce struggle last year before deciding to stay together. Similarly, actors David Arquette and Courtney Cox announced last year they were separating, but have yet to file any formal paperwork to make their split official.

Steve Mindel, a Los Angeles family law attorney with more than 25 years of experience, said the fact that the pair issued a statement rather than filing court papers signals they may be working toward a deal that will keep most of the details of their breakup private. Several celebrities have recently taken that course, including singer Christina Aguilera and comedian George Lopez.

Both of their breakups were announced through publicists before any paperwork was filed, and neither case produced acidic court filings that have become the hallmark of other stars’ breakups.

Unless Schwarzenegger and Shriver have a property agreement, in California any assets they accrued throughout the marriage are split 50/50. Once they separate, their earnings become their own.

That may be significant for Schwarzenegger, who has said he hopes to revive the film career he placed on hold when he was elected governor in 2003. Shriver, a successful television journalist who is a member of Kennedy family, has said she doesn’t foresee a return to on-camera journalism.

As for their two youngest children, Goldberg said they’re old enough that they’ll likely have some say in any custody agreement.

She and Mindel said the couple seemed to be handling the announcement of their split with class.

“They’ve gone through a lot together,” Goldberg said. “Sometimes marriages fail even after a long period of time.”


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