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Why I Didn’t Take Dad’s Famous Surname- Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Secret Son Reveals

Schwarzenegger

Hollywood actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son, Joseph Baena has revealed why he doesn’t use the family name even though he is keen to follow in his dad’s footsteps in the fitness world and acting.

Joseph Baena is the son of actor turned US politician Arnold Schwarzenegger and his former housekeeper Mildred Baena after he had an affair while married to ex-wife Maria Shriver.

Shriver married Schwarzenegger in 1986 and divorced in 2021 though they share four children together.

Their youngest son Christopher is the same age, 26, as Arnie’s son with Baena, with the Terminator actor admitting the affair in 2011, after acknowledging paternity.

‘I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry,’ he said at the time.

Joseph has now spoken about his relationship with his father, saying: ‘He’s a great father. He has been nothing but amazing to me. He’s been very supportive with everything that I have chosen to do.

‘Going to Pepperdine, graduating from University and when it comes to my acting career and my real-estate career, my journey into bodybuilding and fitness – he is always there and he is a great support to have. He is a great dad.’

However, despite his close relationship with Schwarzenegger, 76, he’s staying away from the family name.

Joseph continued: ‘I think the main thing is that I am trying to do things on my own and pursue my career with my will, my determination and my work ethic. It’s just doing everything through me.

‘My family is very big about supporting from afar and not being so hands-on. I really appreciate that and I think it is really important growing up as a man to do things on your own and to figure it out. So that’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been working so far. I’ve been working really hard.’

Talking about the shock of finding out about his dad as a child, he went on:

‘As a kid, you don’t really question too much. It’s just how it is. For me, I love my father. He is an amazing man. I love my mother, she is an amazing woman. So yeah, I’m just really happy and honoured to be a part of this family.’

He continued: ‘He always has great advice. I think for me it’s just been really funny because a lot of the things I have been pursuing, like acting and real estate, are like childhood dream jobs.

‘Some children grow up wanting to be a firefighter or an astronaut, but I have always loved film and I have always wanted to be an actor. It’s just the way the cards have played out. We happen to do and like a lot of the same things.’

In 2023, Schwarzenegger opened up about the impact the affair had on his family, saying his ‘heart stopped’ when rumours of Joseph being his son were first raised.

In Netflix documentary Arnold, he reportedly said: ‘And in one of the sessions the counsellor said, “I think today Maria wants to be very specific about something. She wants to know if you are the father of Joseph.”

‘And I was like – I thought my heart stopped, and then I told the truth.’

He goes on: ‘She was obviously crushed by that. I had an affair in ‘96. In the beginning, I really didn’t know.

‘I just started feeling the older he got the more it became clear to me and then it was really just a matter of how do you keep this quiet? How do you keep this a secret?

He added that the affair was his biggest ‘failure’, saying: ‘I have caused enough pain for my family, because of my f*** up. Everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer, the kids had to suffer, Joseph, his mother, everyone. I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.’