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. Wendy

    Im sorry Maria and her children are going through this dificult time,I will pray you make the right decision,you are strong,inteligent,women.I wish people would let you have your privacy so you can move on.

    May 18, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  2. Jim Lofgren

    I had an opportunity to listen to a speech by Maria Shriver delivered to a group of women leaders. She is a strong woman. Do not underestimate her.

    May 18, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  3. Dave

    Of course she wants to empower women and shine spotlights on issues and projects that benefit women. She wants to recruit allies to punish the evil men in the world.
    The problem Maria has with Arnold is the same problem Sandra Bullock had with Jesse James. Both women thought they could have a bad boy and that they would suddenly become faithful family men. Both of these guys were self proclaimed bad boys. Any therapist will tell you it's a mistake to expect someone to change just because they say "I do". Hey, bad boys can't be good boys. Thats an oxymoron.
    Maria, why don't you focus on getting people to make better marriage decisions. I'm not saying this mess is all your fault but you must have known you were playing with fire. Find something to do that will promote your healing, not hatred.

    May 18, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  4. kat

    Hang in there Maria. You're a survivor. I'm on your side

    May 18, 2011 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  5. Moe NY

    Glad to see a politicans' wife finally NOT standing by her man. You go for it Maria, I always thought you had more brains in your little finger than your husband had in his head. I will share a lesson I learned...believe in yourself only, and never stop believeing in not ever give up your own self-esteem for any man. Stand strong Maria.!

    May 18, 2011 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  6. PiZam

    She may not be though her left eye is....

    May 18, 2011 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  7. art

    Great ! How do these infidel dolts get into public office anyway? Speaks volumes about their integrity- Ppl without integrity shouldn't hold Public office. BTW, Clinton should've been impeached. Period.

    May 18, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  8. Doug

    I really liked Maria when she was a tv jouralist, she was always extremely interesting.. I wish her well.. I can not believe how badly her husband betrayed her.. Shocking !

    May 18, 2011 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  9. Andrew Richard Millsmith

    Interesting article, I am very confident that Maria Shriver knew about the child all along. This was a political calculation as well as a personal calculation. She was concerned about her public persona as an independent woman and she was also concerned about what her mother and father would say about the out of wedlock child. Her parents recently passed away and Schwarzenegger is no longer governor. My belief is that it would be almost impossible for a Latino house cleaner that lived at their house and had a child that looked like his father (Schwarzenegger) to not raise eye-brows of someone as intelligent at Maria Shriver. However, she also would not want to hurt her children and her parents and she would not want to endanger her husband’s career. She played the good wife. She helped get Arnold Schwarzenegger elected governor.

    Unfortunately Schwarzenegger’s governorship was a political circus act from beginning to end. A financial failure and a public policy failure for our schools, our economy, our environment, and the illegal immigrant issues etc. I remember this circus act well... from the days of the Davis recall, to Congressman Darrell Issa crying on T.V., to the girlie man comments and then Schwarzenegger's last-minute early release for the gang member son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. Was this black mail? I doubt is, but the possibility of blackmail is real. ? It is just a conspiracy theory.....but the issue of blackmail by lobbyist or special interest groups is very real. Now it is so clear why we had such a carnival for eight year in Sacramento. Maria Shriver helped promote and perpetuate that circus act on the state of California.

    Maria Shriver is part of a great American political family and dynasty, but that family, the Kennedys, has been known to keep many private family secrets that range from affairs, sexual harassment, to murder. They keep a very, very good public face. Combine that with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood PR machine and you got a potent mix. The kids need to kept out of the story, but the timing of this announcement is all too creepy.

    May 18, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  10. Rob

    What about all the women in the spotlight who cheat? Oh wait, the media doesn't report on that.

    May 18, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  11. mary

    She's rich with a lot of contacts and resources..
    It seems it would be so much easier for women like that to get out of a bad situation. She can even write a book and make millions off her experience.
    So people aren't going to spend a lot of time worrying about how she is dealing with this. And maybe that is what makes it harder for someone in her position..?

    May 18, 2011 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  12. Lisa Brennan

    Sorry to you Maria, and the kids. Especially in public light. Glad you have your own money and power and education: walk away and don't look back. Unless you want to. It is your choice and I just wish you peace and a positive way forward from this. With or without him. I went through this as a commoner without money...with 2 kids and no health insurance. I am a better person for it today but it was difficult and my heart was broken and I was in shock. You are a Kennedy. I know you will be okay.

    May 18, 2011 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  13. V

    So TIGER WOODS is a scumbag, whereas Maria Shriver shouldn't be at all surprised by this, is the biased Media take on this huh?

    And the Black media personalities must play-along, or else! I see absolutely no relief in sight, for these people.

    May 18, 2011 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  14. Capt'n Crunch

    Was the " House Staffer" the toilet maid?

    May 18, 2011 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  15. zoundsman

    "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."-Shriver

    I can relate to that. People want to be supportive in your time of crisis, but don't really know themselves what to do.
    There's nothing wrong with man or woman to have an emotional nose dive in a situation (humiliating) like this. However
    she plays it, she'll always appear like of woman of class and integrity. Arnold, you blew it.

    May 18, 2011 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  16. Albertine

    People must leave Maria Shriver alone and not bother her about her husband. She is type of woman who stand by her man no matter what he does. This is no crime it is just the way she is...

    May 18, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  17. Scott

    You were to good for him. unfortually in life when you have to much or to good.. Thats no enough for most people. Godbless you and your kids.. Its just to bad your kids have go though this too. People always want what they can't have. I don't have much. But I am happy not to be rich or famous.. I think it better to struggle in the world.. You appreciate things... What comes easy in life leaves quick.. At the End we all have to answer to the person upstairs...Poor Or Rich? No one is better then anyone else.. I wish you all the luck in the world... I have lots of respect for you....Godbless Scott

    May 18, 2011 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  18. Broncorider

    This is no wallflower. You can't control who you fall in love with, but how you live with or without that person, you can control. I think we're just beginning to see the real Maria Shriver. Her father didn't raise a quitter.

    May 18, 2011 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  19. Gary D. Holmes

    I wish people would leave Ms. Shriver & her family alone. When something like this infidelity happens, in any family, it is a source of embarrassment, to ALL family members. If people really cared, they would stop the jokes(mostly sick jokes), concentrate on their own situations(families etc.), and drop this story.

    May 18, 2011 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  20. Glenda

    She has Kennedy blood and also a Democrat so ehat does it matter. Infidelity runs rampant throughout that branch of government and especially the Kennedy family. Arnold probably had to turn to the maid for comfot maria was way to busy somewherwe else doing her Kennedy thing with someone else. At least she doesn't have Homo tendacies like another higher individual in the government.

    May 18, 2011 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  21. Marie MD

    I never realized what she saw about this muscle bound cigar chomping whatever he is.
    I am glad that their son Patrick is changing his name to Shriver. I have a feeling that the household was not as nice as it looked in public or pictures.

    May 18, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |

    She's a good journalist. She'll bounce back. Any spouse given such news, would be devasted by the breach of trust. That said, life goes on. Wishing her and her children happiness.

    May 18, 2011 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  23. Katerina

    Yay! Good for her! (:

    May 18, 2011 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  24. Shawn

    Well u only become a sad victim when you lay down and not respond. The sad part about a spouse that decides to cheat. Is they never think about the other person. Not only the spouse that cheats, but also the person who accompanies the cheater. Its a very hurtful and disappointing game people play. It takes a while to finally realize that decision and situation had nothing to do with values or unhappy situations. But a person who is self-ish and inconsiderate. The mistress of course will try and steal the role of being a victim. I can go and on with the whole play out. But as I myself have experienced personally its not worth the spotlight. Let them both not only share the affair. But also the reality of their actions. Let her stand in your shoes. Since she thinks she's that special. And she will soon find out. It wasn't your marriage that was screwed up. But that same fool that cheated. Is that same fool she has. Wish them good luck. Wipe your forehead. Say close call and continue to be successful and happy. Better her than you. The sun will always shine.

    May 18, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  25. Stephanie Palmer

    Can't we leave this woman alone. I'm sure she will be able to take care of her own personal business without the help of the media.

    May 18, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
1 2 3