For the past 10 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have been happily separated.
As one mutual friend told Page Six: “They have a great relationship, they’re very close and take care of the kids, and they see each other a lot.”
So it came as a surprise to many that they finally closed the door on their marriage just days after Christmas, as a judge finalized their divorce Tuesday morning.
On the same day the divorce was announced, it seemed that Shriver, a frequent “Today” show contributor, was emotional as she announced a social media break, posting on Twitter: “See you in 2022. I hope you also take some time for yourself in the next few days. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay present! #bepresent.”
As for why the couple took so long to divorce, the mutual friend added: “I just don’t think they wanted to push the button. They weren’t ready to disentangle themselves. But there are a few reasons for finally doing this, and it’s a good time of year to do this — you can get things done quietly when people are busy celebrating the holidays.”
Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood star turned former California governor, has an estimated $400 million fortune, while Shriver is a member of the Kennedy clan — and the couple never signed a prenup when they wed in 1986.
One well-placed legal expert said one reason for the delayed divorce could be financial, as former couple try to get in front of any tax implications ahead of the Democrats’ $1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which could hit the uber-wealthy hard if it becomes law next year.
But the reason could also be romantic.
“Typically if one person wants to get married again they will ask for the divorce,” said the expert. “Staying separated for 10 and a half years is pretty crazy!”
Schwarzenegger, 74, has been dating physical therapist Heather Milligan, who is 27 years his junior, since 2013. They were first spotting kissing in Santa Monica and are still going strong.
“Arnold is very happy with Heather. She’s very good for him,” said the mutual friend, making it clear that Schwarzenegger is with her for the longterm. Milligan has even joined him on trips back to his homeland of Austria.
Shriver, 66, meanwhile, is single, according to friends, since splitting from political consultant Matthew Dowd in 2017.
Reps for both parties were unavailable to comment.
As TMZ reported this week, Schwarzenegger and Shriver had a very complicated property settlement agreement, and the money “pretty much” got split down the middle. Shriver lives in Brentwood, while her ex lives close by in the same area. While married, they lived in the Pacific Palisades and also owned a 25-acre ranch in Carpinteria near Santa Barbara, Calif.
Schwarzenegger is only believed to have hired his divorce lawyer Kristina Royce relatively recently, while Shriver contracted “divorce queen” Laura Wasser, known for her work with celebrities from Angelia Jolie to Kim Kardashian.
The “Terminator” star has admitted that his split from Shriver was one of the lowest moments of his life.
The couple first met in August 1977 at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament after being introduced by NBC’s Tom Brokaw. They started dating shortly after and Schwarzenegger proposed to Shriver in August 1985. They tied the knot on April 26, 1986, in a Catholic ceremony in Hyannis, Mass., not far from the Kennedy compound. It was the first marriage for both.
They split in 2011 after it was revealed that Schwarzenegger had fathered a son, Joseph, with their housekeeper Mildred Baena.
As Schwarzenegger later told shock jock Howard Stern, “I had personal setbacks, but this was, without any doubt, the biggest setback and the biggest failure … Not only failure, but you feel like, ‘I’m to blame for it. It was me that screwed up.’ And you can’t point the finger at anyone else.”
In his 2012 memoir, “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story,” he revealed he initially gave Shriver three “lame” reasons for why he hid the truth about Joseph from her: embarrassment, a compulsion for secrecy and not wanting her to tell her famous family.
He also told how he had sex with Mildred in 1996 in the guesthouse of his Pacific Palisades mansion while his wife was away on vacation with their kids.
When Mildred gave birth, she named the baby Joseph and listed her husband as the father — and, Arnold wrote, he “wanted” to believe that, and did, for years. But he could not ignore the striking resemblance between himself and his son.
Another source who has worked with Shriver previously told The Post: “Maria’s always been respectful of Arnold because he’s her [children’s] dad. She’s never, ever bashed him. All her kids seem to be very close, they’re very tight. Family and faith is very important to all of them.”
Indeed, in 2018, Shriver wrote: “Forgiveness is letting go of the need to feel like a victim. … Take it from me: If you’re struggling with forgiveness, be gentle with yourself, because I’ve learned that forgiveness is a process, and it takes time.”
Meanwhile, all four of their kids appear to be thriving. Katherine, 32, recently announced she is pregnant with her second baby by actor Chris Pratt, after giving birth to daughter Lyla Maria in August 2020. Shriver and Schwarzenegger’s other daughter Christina, 30, is a producer for Netflix.
Son Patrick, 28, is an actor who has dated Miley Cyrus and model Abby Champion. The family’s youngest, 24-year-old Christopher, has been showing off a huge weight loss recently.
Schwarzenegger is also close with his son Baena, 24, who has followed in his dad’s footsteps with a love of bodybuilding and plans to become an actor. He’s already slated to star in several upcoming films, including the action thriller “Lava.”
He also has his real estate license and is working with an LA agency.
Although the Schwarzenegger daughters are not close with Baena, he was pictured with Patrick in LA in April.
Despite their divorce, Schwarzenegger and Shriver will continue to be tied together.
“They really love [being grandparents],” their daughter Katherine told Us Weekly earlier this month. “It’s such a great and cool new role for both of them to be able to experience. Also, for me as their daughter to watch them in this new role is such a beautiful thing.”