Entertainment Movies Maria Shriver Reveals She Went to a Convent After Arnold Schwarzenegger Split to 'Look for Advice' "I had never given myself permission to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak," Maria Shriver said By Tommy McArdle Tommy McArdle Twitter Tommy McArdle is a digital news writer at PEOPLE covering stories across all of the brand's verticals. Prior to joining PEOPLE, Tommy covered the entertainment industry at Looper and sports at The Sporting News and Boston.com. He graduated from Emerson College in 2019. People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 6, 2023 04:37 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Maria Shriver sought out life advice at a convent after her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger ended. During Shriver's appearance on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast Monday, the journalist told host Hoda Kotb that she began feeling like she "had the freedom or permission" to be herself when she filed for divorce from Schwarzenegger in July 2011, after 25 years of marriage. "I first felt like, 'Oh I'd better go and figure out like, what is the truth?' " Shriver, 67, said on the podcast. "I went to a convent — I did so many things — but one of the things I did is I went to a convent, a cloistered convent, to be in silence and look for advice." The journalist and author shared that the convent's Reverend Mother gave her permission "to go out and become Maria," during her visit — something she said she's never revealed before. "The Reverend Mother there said to me at the very end, she said — and I actually have written about this, but I haven't shared — she said, 'I think you came here looking for permission,' " Shriver told Kotb, 58. Maria Shriver; Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty; Alex Bona/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Inside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver's Relationship as the Exes Finalize Their Divorce "I felt like I was in a scene out of The Sound of Music," she added. "She says, 'You can't come live here, but you do have permission to go out and become Maria.' I was like, sobbing. I was like, 'Who is that?' " Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic "I think the word permission… I had never given myself permission to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be brought to my knees, and the world did it to me," Shriver said of the experience. "And then I was like, 'Okay, God, let's go. I'm gonna take this and learn everything I can about my role and what I need to learn.' " Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Elsewhere in the interview, Shriver said that both her notable upbringing as a member of the Kennedy family and her marriage to Schwarzenegger, 75, often made her feel "invisible." For more on Maria Shriver, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. "I would find myself getting angry at people who came up and didn't acknowledge that I existed when I was standing next to Arnold, or when I was standing next to my uncle or somebody," she told Kotb. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver marry in 1986. Bettman/Getty Images Exes Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Celebrate Son Patrick's Birthday with Family Dinner "And then I [realized] they were teaching me a lesson that it's not about whether they see me," she added. "Do I see me? Am I visible to me?" Shriver and Terminator star Schwarzenegger first met in August 1977 at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament after being introduced by NBC's Tom Brokaw. The former couple married in 1986 and had four children together: daughters Katherine, 33, and Christina, 31, and sons Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25. Shriver filed for divorce in July 2011 after 25 years of marriage. Two months before the filing, Schwarzenegger publicly admitted he had fathered another son, Joseph Baena, 25, with the family's longtime housekeeper Mildred Baena. The former couple's divorce was finalized in December 2021; Shriver and Schwarzenegger have remained unified as a family since their breakup. In September, they posed with son Patrick Schwarzenegger at a birthday dinner in a photo shared to his Instagram after his 29th birthday.