Person close to Shriver: She is not adrift
May 17th, 2011
09:31 PM ET
10 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. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Good For Her!
    Good For Women!
    Good For America!!!

    May 17, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. Roscoe

    She's lived with Arnold for over 25 years. And, she has to have read his book and quotes, too. I understand she's hurt but thinking Arnold could be a good, faithful husband is like thinking you can turn a ho into a housewife.

    May 17, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. USA

    Go Maria - show them all you don't need the bum!

    May 17, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. Dawn

    Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that the Governor is a cheater, although for the sake of his children, I wish he wasn't. I'm sure Maria is distraught over the ending of her 25 year marriage but I seriously doubt that a woman of her strength and background, will mourn for very long. She's a Kennedy and has suffered far worse tragedy. She'll land on her feet and move on. I wish her well.

    May 17, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. nak

    Empowered woman blah blah blah.

    May 17, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Christina,Windber

    what happened to "love, honor, and cherish tuill death do us part"? Didn't both of them make that promise? So a soon as one of the married couple strays or does something wrong, you're supposed to walk out on the marriage? What's the point of taking the vows and getting married if you're going to leave as soon as there is a problem? Why is this never brought up or discussed?

    May 17, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. Peter s

    Just leave them alone!!! Arnold Schwarzenegger is the man instead of just commiting adultery he fulfilled another command " go and multiply" way to go Schwarz!! make another one and another one! but take care of them.

    May 17, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Rachel

    I am certain she hurts, regardless of how 'empowered' she may be. Losing a husband to another woman, PLUS him fathering and supporting a child behind her back, is definitely going to pull on the ole heartstrings of despair. Maria Shriver is also human being just like the rest of us so.... as tough as she may appear on the surface, she clearly hurts. The only way she wouldn't, is if she hasn't loved her husband for a very long time as well as possibly having affairs of her own.

    May 17, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Is this really our business? I don't think so. Let the poor woman (sort of) deal without us butting into her life.

    May 17, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  10. Linda

    Maria Shriver is handling this blow to her family in a most admirable way. I'm glad she left Schwarzenegger. I would not admire her if she acted like Hillary Clinton after President Clinton's most glaring indiscretion. I think Secretary of State Clinton had too much to lose to leave Clinton. Apprently Maria Shriver is much more of an empowered woman that the SOS. Mria Shriver has set a good example for all of us.

    May 17, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    She's a first class lady because she is and always be one of ours, a Kennedy.

    May 17, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  12. valwayne

    Come on folks. She's a Kennedy. She knew Arnolld's reputation when she married him, and she no dobut knew that he is, and has remained a seri,al cheater after she married him. Clearly she was ok with it. Its silly to think she's devastated at this point. What I want to know is why the Press waited to expose the love child and the serial cheating until he left the Gov office and she left him. Its pretty clear the cheating was common knoledge and the love child doesn't look like it was much of a secret either. Arnold a serial cheater with a love child? Give us a break.....old news!!!

    May 17, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  13. Debi

    Maria Shriver is a survivor, it's in her Kennedy blood! She's going to go out there and show everyone that she is her ownself without that jerk she married! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 17, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. Kelly

    I am very impressed with Maria's professionalism and dedication to women in need. She is a very strong woman who will achieve more great things in the near future. Im saddened that she is having to go through this personal challenge, and pray for her, and the children to find the strength they will need!

    May 17, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Paul NYC

    A woman marries a guy who is notorious for having had affairs his whole life and she thinks he's going to be different all of a sudden? You have to be more aware of reality than that.

    May 17, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  16. normajean

    It's not hard to see that this woman is strong and in complete control of herself .Wealthy people are supposed to be so taken care of that they don't have to think for themselves.. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Each and every day they face problems that we average people can never imagine. { Not that I wouldn't be eager to join them}... The women in this large family have had to be as powerful as the men just to maintain their balance.... Maria will survive and move on gracefully!!!!

    May 17, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  17. Scott

    Please, she is a Kennedy, she should be used to it.

    May 17, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  18. olga

    Thank God ur rid of someone who didnt appreciate your devotution!

    May 17, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  19. CATina

    Good for her tn take some action, however it may end up. I've been so tired seeing these shattered stiff -lipped "good wives" standing next to their cheating husbands at the obligatory "mea culpa" press conferences, looking like they wanted to fall thru the floor. Shriver seems like she's anything but a victim.

    May 18, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  20. Anonymous

    She will join the social club of political wives that are embarrassed by their husbands egos. And .. like the rest she will rise above it and be successful ...

    May 18, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  21. Vickey

    Good for you Maria Shriver.

    May 18, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  22. jant

    If anyone can handle this it's Maria.She's classy and intelligent unlike so many of her celebrity counterparts.Reaching out to people via youtube showed she is genuine and open.I love Maria, she is an admirable woman!Forget Hilary and Palin, Maria for president!!!!!sorry arnold, she'll do the only thing you couldnt do!!!

    May 18, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  23. Clarette Ridley

    I think Maria Shriver is a great advocate for all women, I wish her much luck

    May 18, 2011 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  24. T'sah from Virginia

    That photo does not show any justice to Shriver and it makes her LQQK adrift... Dag CNN – get a better photo!!!

    Maria Shriver is a strong woman and has shown that throughout her career and raising her family... She will survive and MOVE ON!!! Hang in there Maria!!

    May 18, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  25. james

    I don't understand why Maria had to leave her husband over this, people make mistakes. Look at Hillary Clinton, she understands forgiveness.

    May 18, 2011 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
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