Maria Shriver is opening up about how she dealt with her ex-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heartbreaking infidelity.
If you don’t know, Maria and Arnold were married from 1986 to 2011 (though they didn’t finalize their divorce until 2021). They share four kids together, Katherine, 33, Christina, 31, Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25. Sadly, the couple’s relationship came to a shocking end when it was revealed the Terminator star had secretly fathered a child, Joseph Baena, 25, with the family’s former housekeeper, Mildred Patty Baena. The son’s paternity didn’t become an issue until he was a teen — and started to resemble his father!
Can you imagine how devastating that must have been for Maria?! Arnold had been keeping this secret for over a decade — and the two mothers were unknowingly pregnant at around the same time. Damn.
Related: Priscilla Presley Tells Fans To ‘Ignore The Noise’ Amid Lisa Marie Trust Battle!
Now, in a very candid episode of Hoda Kotb‘s podcast Making Space, the journalist is opening up about the unconventional way she healed from the betrayal and other childhood traumas. On Monday, the I’ve Been Thinking author revealed she tried to live in a convent as part of her healing journey! While the religious community wouldn’t allow her to stay, she did walk away with some life-changing advice, she recalled:
“I went to a convent, a cloistered convent, and to be in silence and look for advice.”
The 67-year-old continued:
“And the reverend mother there … I actually have written about this but I — I haven’t shared it. She said, ‘I think you came here looking for permission.’”
The nun then said something super profound, she shared:
“She goes, ‘You can’t come live here … but you do have permission to go out and become Maria.”
The words immediately impacted the former First Lady of California, who recalled “sobbing” at the realization that she hadn’t been allowing herself to fully feel all her emotions, she expressed:
“I had never given myself permission to — to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be brought to my knees. And the world did it to me. And then I was like, ‘OK, God, let’s go.’”
Reflecting on the magical moment in her life, she noted:
“And I felt like I was in a scene out of The Sound of Music, you know?”
Maria went on to explain how she’d been struggling with feelings of being invisible throughout much of her life, especially in her marriage to the actor, whose fame could overshadow her. She felt a similar way growing up as a member of the Kennedy family.
Related: TJ Holmes’ Ex Marilee Fiebig Dating Again Already?! See The Evidence!
The Today special anchor is the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Some very powerful men — or as she called them “a lot of very big characters in that family”! On her upbringing, she detailed:
“I grew up feeling invisible in an incredibly public, famous family.”
This combined with Arnold’s fame meant she was always left feeling like “background noise,” which has got to be a really s**tty feeling!! She explained:
“If you, as a child, are standing next to the president of the United States, two U.S. senators, the first lady, nobody is looking at you. You are background noise. And you take that with you really through life, and you end up putting yourself in situations where that continues until you learn your lesson.”
She noted elsewhere:
“I would find myself getting angry at people who came up and didn’t acknowledge that I existed when I was standing next to Arnold or when I was standing next to, you know, my uncle.”
Oof. It must’ve been so tough to navigate that! Thankfully, she’s learned that the most important thing is focusing on “seeing yourself” and forgetting others’ opinions. She insisted:
“It’s not about other people seeing you, it’s about you seeing yourself. And that took me a really long time, a really long time to learn.”
At least she finally figured it out! Interestingly, it took the former Dateline correspondent so long to learn this lesson because at first she was equating career successes with feeling seen, she dished:
“I thought what made people feel seen was winning an Emmy … getting an award, getting a book, being on TV. But what actually makes people feel seen and worthy is talking to them, sitting with them, calling them, slowing down … sitting on the porch, going, ‘I don’t have anywhere to go. I’m right here with you.’”
Now, whenever she’s out and about, Maria makes an effort to always look for those who might be “feeling invisible” and give them her undivided attention since she knows what it’s like to be in their shoes. Incredible! We could all learn a thing or two from this! Hear Maria recount this impactful moment in her life (below)!
You can hear the full episode HERE! Thoughts?! Can you believe Maria tried to check into a convent to get over her heartbreak?! Let us know (below)!
[Image via MEGA/FayesVision/WENN]