Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger: 25 Years Ago
April 26, 1986: In her family’s favorite town of Hyannis, Massachusetts, 30-year-old Maria Shriver, a TV journalist and the niece of John F. Kennedy, beams outside St. Francis Xavier Church after her wedding to 38-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian-born bodybuilder-turned-movie star. Over the next 25 years, the direction of their lives would change dramatically, as they welcomed children and he became, despite his wife’s deeply Democratic roots, California’s two-term Republican governor. Still, their unlikely union seemed to be one of Hollywood’s most enduring — until May 9, 2011, when the couple announced their separation. “This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us,” they said in a statement. “After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together.” Their story — equal parts American Dream and fairy tale — was tarnished even further on May 17, 2011, when Schwarzenegger revealed that over a decade earlier, he had fathered the child of a member of the couple’s household staff. But here, take a look back at the often glamorous early days of Schwarzenegger and Shriver’s relationship.
A Date in 1977
Arnold and Maria are photographed the year they met; they were introduced by Tom Brokaw at a charity tennis tournament at the home of her parents, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (JFK’s sister) and Sargent Shriver (the first head of the Peace Corps). Also that year, the bodybuilder raised his profile by appearing in the documentary Pumping Iron.
At the 1979 Special Olympics
Schwarzenegger became closer to Shriver’s famous family: The Special Olympics were founded by her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Affectionate in 1982
About a year before their wedding, Maria and Arnold hit the town.
Welcoming Their First Child
In 1989, Maria delivered the couple’s first of four children, a daughter named Katherine Eunice Shriver Schwarzenegger. Here, the little family are photographed on the White House lawn for the Great American Workout, 1990. By this time, Schwarzenegger had taken a more active role in politics: George H.W. Bush — who called Arnold “Conan the Republican” — appointed him as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Movie Premiere, 1990
Arnold escorts his wife and his mother-in-law. Once, when asked his keys to success, he replied: “I say, number one, come to America. Number two, work your butt off. And number three, marry a Kennedy.”
Immortalized in Hollywood, 1994
Though she stood by Schwarzenegger during his two terms as governor, even giving up her career due to conflicts of interest between being a journalist and California’s first lady, Shriver has always maintained much of her independence. In 2008, for example, she publicly endorsed Barack Obama for president, despite the fact that days earlier, her husband endorsed John McCain.