Joseph Baena on Not Using Dad Arnold Schwarzenegger's Last Name: 'He Doesn't Believe in Handouts'

"My dad is old-school," Joseph Baena said about Arnold Schwarzenegger

joseph Baena
Photo: Eric Ray Davidson for Men’s Health

Joseph Baena doesn't want to rely on his famous father Arnold Schwarzenegger's last name.

The 24-year-old son of the Terminator actor features on the cover of the Men's Health March 2022 issue, opening up about his fitness regimen and bonding with Schwarzenegger. Baena explained why he chooses not to use Schwarzenegger as his last name when pursuing his acting career.

"My dad is old-school; he doesn't believe in handouts. He believes hard work pays off, and so do I. I love the word honor, and I'm very prideful in the sense that if I use my dad's contacts or ask him for favors, I wonder what honor is that gonna bring me?"

"When I go to auditions, they don't know who I am because we don't have the same last name," he continued, adding that when he lands a role he will "know it's all me."

Baena explained that it "took a little bit" for him to "realize that I don't have to do what my dad did."

"I don't have to get into acting or bodybuilding. I'm very motivated and driven. I'm happy about my relationship with my dad," he told the magazine. "But I'm more happy that I am finding joy in what I'm doing and that I'm doing exactly what I've always dreamed about."

joseph Baena
Eric Ray Davidson for Men’s Health

"A lot of guys struggle with trying to make their dad proud or trying to get out of their dad's shadow. But as long as you're doing what you want to do, then that all comes. Of course, maybe those guys don't have such nice dads," Baena added.

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joseph Baena
Eric Ray Davidson for Men’s Health

Baena was born in October 1997 to Schwarzenegger and the actor's former housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena.

The affair came to light the day after Schwarzenegger left the California governor's office in 2011. In a therapy session with his then-wife Maria Shriver and their four kids, Schwarzenegger confirmed that he fathered a son with Mildred. Shriver filed for divorce shortly after the revelation.

Baena told Men's Health he remembers "very vividly" the day the news made headlines.

"I was in the eighth grade. Fifth or sixth period. And I get called out of class to leave," he recalled. "And my mom's there, and she's like, 'We gotta go — everyone is finding out about you and who your father is.' I'm 13. Your body's transforming; your mind is transforming. And now my life transformed before my eyes."

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