"I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment," he says
The marital split of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and broadcast journalist Maria Shriver took a shocking new twist Tuesday with a Los Angeles Times report that the couple separated after Shriver was informed that her husband and a longtime female member of their household staff had a child together more than a decade ago.
According to the Times, the 25-year marriage hit the rocks earlier this year, when Shriver moved out of the couple’s Brentwood mansion after Schwarzenegger confirmed the paternity. The employee had retired in January after 20 years with the family, says the paper.
In a statement to the newspaper, Schwarzenegger, 63, said Monday: “After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. 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.”
He added: “I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time,” the statement concluded. “While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not. ”
Schwarzenegger also said he financially provided for the child. Shriver’s spokesman told PEOPLE the former first lady, 55, had no comment. Schwarzenegger and Shriver have four children together.