- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - He’s one of the most famous people on the planet, a two-term governor of California, a movie star and a former world champion bodybuilder with a profile so huge that just one name, Arnold, instantly identifies him to almost everyone.

Yet somehow, for more than a decade, Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to keep an incredible secret from the public and his wife, prominent former TV journalist and Kennedy heiress Maria Shriver: that he fathered a child with a woman on his household staff more than a decade ago.

The revelation came Tuesday, just a week after Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced they had separated.

“I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family,” Schwarzenegger wrote in a statement. “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.”

Hours later, Shriver also released a statement: “This is a painful and heartbreaking time. 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.”

Two of their four children posted on Twitter, expressing their love for their family.

“Some days you feel like s–, some days you want to quit and just be normal for a bit,” tweeted 17-year-old Patrick Schwarzenegger, quoting the band Fort Minor’s heartbreak song “Where’d You Go.” Adding his own words, he said, “Yet I love my family till death do us apart.”

His 21-year-old sister, Katherine Schwarzenegger, followed later in the day. “This is definitely not easy but I appreciate your love and support as i begin to heal and move forward in life,” she said. “I will always love my family!”

Schwarzenegger and Shriver jointly announced May 9 that they were splitting up after 25 years of marriage. She moved out of the family’s Brentwood mansion after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the child is his, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. For several weeks, she has been seen in public without her wedding ring.

Schwarzenegger said the child was born “over a decade ago” _ before he began his seven-year stint as governor.

The Times did not publish the former staffer’s name or that of her child but said she worked for the family for 20 years and retired in January.

Schwarzenegger issued his statement to the Times late Monday, after the newspaper interviewed the former staffer. The Times reported that she originally said another man _ her husband at the time _ was the child’s father. When the newspaper informed her of the governor’s statement, she declined to comment further.

Schwarzenegger later released his statement to The Associated Press and other news organizations.

What’s most stunning about the revelation is how long he managed to keep his family _ and the public _ in the dark, prominent Los Angeles divorce attorney Steve Mindel said, adding that Schwarzenegger may have been able to conceal signs, such as child support, because of his wealth.

“Clearly, Arnold has done a spectacular job of keeping it secret,” he said.

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