Person close to Shriver: She is not adrift
May 17th, 2011
09:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Person close to Shriver: She is not adrift

(CNN) - A source close to Maria Shriver tells CNN it would be a mistake to assume that the former California first lady is a wreck in the wake of revelations of her husband's infidelity.

"It's a misperception that Maria is adrift, that she's lost trying to figure out where to go next," this source says, adding, "This is an empowered woman. Even her decision to leave (her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger) was the choice of an empowered woman who knows where she's going and what she wants in life."

The source says for the last four to five months Shriver has been meeting with potential business partners and backers strategizing the next step in her public life. According to the source, she plans to combine journalism and activism with a focus "sharp focus on empowering women." The source says Shriver has deliberately kept her plans private while she decides "how can she make the greatest impact" because "that's her process."

In the hours since news of her husband's indiscretion broke, Shriver has been cast as, at turns, her husband's victim and enabler. She has come under criticism for defending then-candidate Schwarzenegger during the 2003 recall election when 15 women came forward claiming he groped them. Shriver vouched for his character.

After the couple announced their separation earlier this month, Shriver was the subject of a flurry of stories that hinted she's emotionally unhinged. Reporters dissected a YouTube video in which a visibly emotional Shriver tells the camera, "Like a lot of you, I'm in transition," "It is so stressful to not know what you are doing next, people will ask you do you know what you're doing and you don't know what you're doing and then every idea you have - maybe I shouldn't do that."

She asks people to share the lessons they learned, adding, "It might be able to help me."

The source close to Shriver says people misunderstand Shriver's intentions in producing that video, saying, "She at her heart is a journalist and she talks about issues people aren't comfortable talking about. So she turned to her community to say, 'What did you think? I'd love to hear your feedback.'”

The source adds that as first lady, Shriver also delivered speeches that "were often raw and vulnerable and candid" as a way to open discussion with other women.

During her seven years as first lady, Shriver championed women's issues. She turned an already-existing California Women's Conference into a powerhouse news-making event that drew international celebrities, executives and activists. Through the conference she helped raise and donate $5.5 million to women's-focused charitable programs and drew national attention to previously unknown women for their work in public service. She wrote a book and reported a documentary about Alzheimer's disease, arguing it especially affects women who are disproportionately both the caregivers and the afflicted. More recently she organized a free medical clinic that treated more than 5,000 people over two days in Long Beach, California.

Because of this work as an advocate for women and families, the source argues, Shriver "shouldn't be defined entirely by this relationship" with Schwarzenegger.

The source says Shriver will eventually reveal her plans to "shine a spotlight on issues and projects that benefit women." She'll do it by drawing on her background in journalism which, the source says, "is at its core activism – designed not just to inform but inspire action." The source says that for Shriver, the key is "having conversations with people in a real, sometimes raw, authentic way."

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Becca

    Bravo to this courageous woman, saying what so many think during bad times in relationships. Transition you will Maria but God help Arnie.

    May 18, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  2. zb

    Is it my imagination or do most of these sex scandals seem to involve Republicans? The party that shouts family values doesn't seem to have any values at all, except the value of hate, lies; hypocrisy, and exploitation.

    May 18, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  3. cecilia

    absolutely correct, do not confuse heartbreak with immobility – this is a strong woman from a strong family and she will do more than survive. He on the other hand, is a jerk with nothing of substance to fall back on.

    May 18, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. Republicans - "The not Intened to be factually accurate Party"

    As a man – a "Dirty Old Man" at that – I have nothing but compassion for Maria "The Good Wife" Schriver.

    America needs to loose it`s love of Celebrities though. When 15 women came forward in 2003, there is no way he should have survived, even with her pronouncements. Ignore 2 or 3 of the 15 but it wasn`t likely that ALL of them were part of a lying conspiracy.

    I`m reminded of the case in Califonia where police were acquitted of beating a defensless man even when captured on videotape. Yet we were told we couldn`t believe our on eyes. The evidence was irrefutable then just as it was with Arnold and these 15 women.

    Stop the Celebrity worship.

    May 18, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  5. ModernMan

    Go Maria! She has always been strong and savvy and will continue to be the same in the public eye. Her emotions regarding her marriage are private and should remain so.

    May 18, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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