LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former California first lady Maria Shriver filed for divorce on Friday from her estranged husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ex-governor and film star who has admitted fathering a child out of wedlock more than a decade ago.
Shriver, 55, a former television journalist and a daughter of the Kennedy political dynasty, filed papers seeking to dissolve her 25-year marriage to Schwarzenegger, 63, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences.
According to the four-page, standard-form divorce filing, Shriver seeks unspecified spousal support and joint custody of the couple’s two minor children, Patrick, 17, and Christopher, 13. They have two adult children together, Katherine 21, and Christina, 19.
A spokesman for the former “Terminator” film star declined comment. Representatives for Shriver could not be reached immediately.
Shriver and Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born former bodybuilder turned Hollywood action star and politician, announced their separation in May, just four months after he left office as California governor.
A week later, Schwarzenegger stunned the world by acknowledging publicly that he had fathered a child more than 10 years earlier with a member of his household staff.
He said then that he had revealed the affair and his out-of-wedlock child to Shriver shortly after his two terms in office ended in January.
The admission drew a torrent of scorn and ridicule in the media, with some comparing it to scandal over Woody Allen’s affair with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his longtime companion, actress Mia Farrow, in 1992.
Comic and co-host of TV’s “The View” Joy Behar, among others, promptly dubbed Schwarzenegger “the Sperminator.”
Schwarzenegger and Shriver met at a charity tennis tournament in New York in 1977 and married in April 1986.
As one of the most high-profile but improbable couples in American public life — a powerful Republican politician married to a stalwart Democrat — the pair endured years of persistent allegations about Schwarzenegger’s extramarital dalliances and sexual misconduct.
Shriver was widely credited with saving Schwarzenegger’s successful 2003 gubernatorial campaign by steadfastly standing by her husband amid a swirl of media accounts at the time reporting on his history of groping other women.
Their split came at a time of upheaval and change in both their lives.
Shriver, forced to give up her NBC News career while acting as California’s first lady, posted a video message to supporters on YouTube shortly before their separation saying she found it “stressful to not know what you’re doing next.” Her parents both died during the past two years.
Her mother, Eunice Kennedy, was the sister of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and her father, Sargent Shriver, was the first director of the Peace Corps and the 1972 Democratic nominee for vice president.
Schwarzenegger said shortly after leaving office that he planned to resume his Hollywood career. But days after the scandal broke over his extramarital affair with a housekeeper and their secret child, now a 13-year-old boy, he said he was putting a number of show-business projects on hold, including a proposed new “Terminator” movie.
While Schwarzenegger has largely retreated from the public eye in recent weeks, Shriver made a nationally televised appearance more than a week after their split on a star-studded tribute to TV talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.
Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jerry Norton