Photo Credit: Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images
Although insiders say it has been coming for a long time, the world was still shocked when former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Dateline NBC anchor Maria Shriver announced that they've separated after 25 years of marriage.
The high-powered couple released a joint statement on Monday night saying, in part: "After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship."
There had been signs of trouble in paradise for months. TMZ reports that Shriver, 55, moved out of their home and into a Beverly Hills hotel months ago. But despite that, the couple has reportedly been seeing each other a lot lately, even celebrating Easter, Mother's Day and their 25th wedding anniversary together. However, Schwarzenegger, 63, was photographed on Monday (before the announcement was made) riding a bike and not wearing his wedding ring.
Inside sources tell TMZ that Shriver has wanted to divorce Schwarzenegger for a long time because she was "miserable" in the marriage. No specific reason was given for the breakup, although speculation that Arnold was unfaithful has added grist to the rumor mill. More likely, however, Schwarzenegger's governership of California was the tie binding him to Shriver. And, now that he's vacated the post, their problems came into stark relief.
That said, Shriver reportedly had plans to leave Schwarzenegger in 2009, but decided to hold off when her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, passed away. Shriver allegedly wanted to break off their relationship again in January 2011, but then her father, Sargent Shriver, died.
Whatever was going on privately, there have also been public indications that not all has been blissful in the Schwarzenegger-Shriver union. In a personal video that Shriver recorded in March for her women's empowerment website, she makes a reference to being in a "transition" and asks for advice on how to handle it.
While Shriver makes no reference to her impending split in the video, she appears emotional, saying, "I'm in transition... It's so stressful to not know what you're doing next..." She asks viewers, "How did you get through (your transition)? What were the three things that enabled you to get through (it)?" Of course, Shriver could just be talking about the transition of stepping down as first lady of California. But even more telling than her words is the fact that she isn't wearing her wedding band in the clip. (Watch the video below.)
Meanwhile, TMZ says that Schwarzenegger and Shriver's four children encouraged their mother to leave their father, especially since his governership came to an end and he announced that he wanted to start making movies again. Insiders say that Shriver reported that Schwarzenegger seemed "unstable." Perhaps he was at a loss with what to do now that his time as Governor is over. Whatever the reason, Shriver has taken it very hard, and one insider tells TMZ that she has "been a lost soul for a long time."
Arnold and Maria first met at a charity tennis tournament in 1977 and subsequently married in 1986, a seemingly perfect couple of strange opposites: Schwarzenegger, the Republican, the bodybuilder, the movie star; Shriver a Democrat, part of the Kennedy dynasty, with a burgeoning career as a news anchor.
Sources tell TMZ that Shriver is a "shell of the woman" she used to be because of the situation with her marriage -- not to mention losing both her parents, as well as her beloved uncle Ted Kennedy, in the span of three years.
Even so, those same sources claim that Schwarzenegger and Shriver have "serious chemistry between them" and that Arnold is "working extremely hard" to win Maria back.
While Shriver undoubtedly feels, as she expressed in her video, that it is "stressful" not to know what is next, we hope this "lost soul" can find some peace.