There are few people who have lived quite the life like Maria Shriver has. While you might just know her as a famous someone’s mother, or another famous someone’s wife, she is truly so much more than that. Shriver has had a very public life, having to endure many transitions in the public eye. Sure, she might be more privileged than most people, but she’s still pretty relatable and also somewhat down to earth, it seems.
That said, Shriver used to have a much more prominent presence, so where did she go? Well, she’s still out there, living her life, but a lot has changed over the years — some of it good, some bad, and some downright dramatic. But when you look at what really happened to Maria Shriver, you might just become a fan of hers yourself. Seriously, Shriver has been through so much and come so far in her life that it’s pretty impressive.
Maria Shriver was born into a prominent family
Perhaps one of the most important things to know about Maria Shriver is that she wasn’t born into your typical American family. On the contrary, she is a member of the Kennedy family, a true American dynasty. Her uncle was President John F. Kennedy, and her mother, Eunice Kennedy, actually started the Special Olympics.
So, it’s safe to say that Shriver has pretty much always been a driven person, as she was literally born into a highly successful family. As she wrote on her website, "I have always been surrounded by extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. At times, it’s been challenging. But more often than not, it’s been motivating." Shriver has spent her life in the spotlight, and with a family like the Kennedys, it’s no wonder she grew up to be the smart, successful, graceful woman she is today. Still, all the pressure Shriver has dealt with for her entire life couldn’t have been easy, and this might have something to do with her desire for privacy.
Maria Shriver has long enjoyed a successful career as a journalist
Maria Shriver might not be the first person who comes to mind when you think of a successful journalist, but she’s actually had a long and outstanding career in the field. For years, Shriver worked as a journalist — something she loved — both on and off television.
According to Britannica, she began her journalism career in 1977 after graduating from Georgetown University and quickly worked her way up the ladder. As Shriver wrote on her website, she was quite busy at the start of her career. "I’ve had a great career, working my way up from writer to producer to anchor at both CBS News and NBC News, and traveling around the world interviewing presidents, kings, activists, and humanitarians," she explained. Clearly, Shriver’s career has been special and important to her, and she truly blossomed in her early years.
Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger had a huge wedding
Obviously, Maria Shriver fell in love with and eventually married Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two met at a celebrity tennis tournament and tied the knot nearly ten years later, according to History.com. Because Shriver and Schwarzenegger were both pretty well-known already and had prominent families and lives, the wedding was always going to be huge, but you might be shocked to learn just how huge it was.
The wedding was so big, so historic, that History.com even covered it. Yes, the wedding took place on April 26, 1986. Shriver married Schwarzenegger in Hyannis, Mass., in front of about 500 guests. Yeah, it was a big wedding. But it wasn’t just big because of the guest count — it was also big because of Shriver’s family. Her cousin Caroline Kennedy was her maid of honor, and Schwarzenegger’s best man was a former Mr. Universe, Franco Columbo, according to History.com. Additionally, the reception took place at the infamous Kennedy compound. The wedding, to be frank, was a huge deal.
Maria Shriver eventually separated from Arnold Schwarzenegger
After Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger got married, they seemingly led a happy, semi-normal life. Of course, they had four children, Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher, and Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California with Shriver serving as first lady of the state from 2003 to 2011. Still, things were good. That is until they announced that they were separating in 2011, the same year Schwarzenegger wrapped up his time as governor.
As ABC News reported, the pair released a joint statement explaining the situation. The statement explained that they would be living separately as "they decide on the future of their relationship." The statement continued, "This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together." It was a tough time of transition for Shriver, who had to leave her journalism career in order to avoid conflicts of interest while her husband was Governor. But what would unfold during their separation was more dramatic than anyone could imagine.
Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated on Maria Shriver very publicly
Perhaps the most shocking and infamous scandal associated with Maria Shriver and her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger was when Schwarzenegger’s affairs came to light — and one such affair resulted in a child. It was this devastating blow that caused Shriver to leave Schwarzenegger, and when it became public in 2011, she was understandably humiliated and moved out.
As hard as it was for Shriver, Schwarzenegger also explained that he knew he made a huge mistake. In a 2015 interview on The Howard Stern Show with Howard Stern, Schwarzenegger discussed the affair that ended his marriage. "I had personal setbacks, but this was, without any doubt, the biggest setback and the biggest failure," he said. However, it doesn’t seem as though the couple has any chance of getting back together. With an affair that public, it’s no wonder Shriver has desired more and more privacy as time went on.
Maria Shriver is passionate about finding a cure for this disease
Growing up in a family like the Kennedys, who are known for their political power and charitable work, it’s not surprising that Maria Shriver felt a strong pull to help others. But because of a personal connection, she has been extremely passionate about finding a cure for one disease in particular.
On her website, Shriver explained that her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003, and since then, she’s felt empowered to fight for and, hopefully, find a cure for the devastating disease. "My mission is to wipe out Alzheimer’s disease once and for all because it is destroying millions of lives," she wrote. "Young and old. Patients and caregivers. And, it’s bankrupting our country." Shriver has a strong pull to take care of people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, a truly heartbreaking disease that destroys the memories of those it affects, and that’s a pretty great mission to have. Alzheimer’s has no known cure, but, if Shriver has her way, that will soon change.
Maria Shriver’s divorce from Arnold Schwarzenegger has been messy
As TMZ reported, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger never signed a prenup before they got married, so the divorce has been particularly difficult. While they were married, they reportedly amassed a fortune of close to $400 million, so figuring out how to divide that up makes things even more complicated. Add in the custody arrangements they had to figure out while their kids were still minors, and you’ve got yourself one seriously messy divorce.
However, the divorce proceedings were still underway when their kids aged out of being minors, making custody no longer an issue. Additionally, a source explained to TMZ that the two were continuing to work towards an amicable divorce in 2017, six years after Shriver first filed. "Arnold is not standing in the way of the divorce. [He] wants the divorce to become final in a way that is both sensitive to Maria and their kids," the source said. Whatever the case is, the couple’s divorce has taken years to complete.
One of Maria Shriver’s daughters married a Hollywood actor
Even if you’d never heard of Maria Shriver, you’ve probably heard of her daughter, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, who married a certain A-list actor in 2019. Yes, Shriver’s kid tied the knot with Chris Pratt. Her mom was pretty happy and felt a little bittersweet about the whole thing.
According to USA Today, Shriver was thrilled for her daughter at the wedding, but she also felt a little conflicted. "As a mother, you go through many emotions, right?" she explained. "So you’re trying to be both excited, you get a new member of your family, [but] you’re kind of losing your child as they were." Obviously, Shriver had to adjust to her daughter getting married, but the fact that she married another celebrity goes to show that Shriver truly will forever live her life in the public eye. No matter what she does in life, her daughter will have married a huge star, and with her own family’s prominence, Shriver isn’t going anywhere.
Maria Shriver has experienced her fair share of grief
If you know anything about Maria Shriver’s famous family — the Kennedy family — you know that this family has dealt with plenty of tragedy. From the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy to the untimely plane crash that took the life of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Kennedy, and more, the family is seemingly cursed. And Maria Shriver has just about seen it all. In 2009, her mother passed away, and then ten years later, tragedy struck the Kennedy family again when Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the daughter of Shriver’s cousin, passed away when she was only 22.
In her newsletter, Shriver wrote how she felt with all the grief compounding around her. "As I sat with my thoughts, I found myself furious at God for taking my cousin Courtney’s only child away," she described. "It doesn’t get any more brutal than that, as many parents know all too well. I found myself holding onto my own children tighter." Shriver also explained that just after Saoirse’s passing was the ten-year anniversary of her mother’s death, making things that much harder. Shriver has seriously experienced plenty of grief in her life, but she has grown more because of it.
Maria Shriver is now a grandmother
Not long after Maria Shriver’s daughter, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, got married, she welcomed her first child into the world. In August 2020, Schwarzenegger Pratt’s daughter, Lyla Maria Schwarzenegger Pratt, was born, and if you caught that little tribute to Shriver, you’re right. Clearly, Schwarzenegger Pratt and Shriver are very close for her to name her daughter after her mom.
In an interview with FOX 11 Los Angeles, Shriver explained that she already had formed a bond with baby Lyla. "I have my own little private thing going on with my granddaughter," she said. "I just am beside myself about it." Shriver also added that she felt lucky to even have a grandchild. "There are people my age who don’t get to my age, and who never have that chance to see a grandchild, so that’s one of the things I thank God for every day, that I’m alive to see that, and I’ll be having Thanksgiving as a grandmother." Out of all the roles Shriver has had in her life, it seems that grandmother is her favorite, and, really, who could blame her?
Maria Shriver still works on television
Before Maria Shriver became a wife, mother, and first lady of California, she had a very successful career in broadcast journalism. And though there were some fluctuations in that career, she’s actually still working on television. Yes, you might just see Shriver on your screen if you tune in at the right time, and she’ll look perfectly at home there, too.
Still, despite her break during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time as governor of California, Shriver has managed to continue her impressive career. Not only does she write her own weekly newsletter and conduct interviews for her own YouTube channel, but she also regularly appears on and hosts the Today show. Shriver got right back to her career after her marriage to Schwarzenegger came to an end, as she returned to work at NBC in 2013. Though she couldn’t work in journalism while her husband was a public official, she returned to work as soon as she could, proving her love for the media is pretty strong.
Maria Shriver is passionate about philanthropy
It’s no secret that anyone in the public eye, especially someone married to a president, senator, or governor, is expected to engage in plenty of philanthropic efforts — and Maria Shriver is no exception. However, she has gone above and beyond her call of duty to do her part in helping the world.
Shriver was even named Variety’s Entertainment Philanthropist of the Year in 2020. So it’s pretty safe to say that she’s dedicated plenty of her time to helping others. And while much of her focus has been on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, she has supported many other causes over the years. Shriver raises money and awareness for Best Buddies International, which focuses on helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And that’s not all — she also started The Minerva Awards and Minerva Prize "to recognize and reward remarkable women who stepped forward and changed the world," according to her website. Shriver also helps hotel room attendants, women impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, and so much more, because she truly wants to make a difference.
Maria Shriver is still close with ex-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger
Though Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger may have endured a pretty intense and public separation, that doesn’t mean that they hate each other and never see each other anymore. On the contrary, while their children are all grown, they still seem to have a respectful and amicable relationship as they co-parent and help with grandparenting duties.
Not only are Shriver and Schwarzenegger spotted together quite often to celebrate family milestones, but Shriver hasn’t shied away from posting photos of her with her ex on social media. In fact, in one Father’s Day post from 2020, Shriver shared photos of her own father along with some photos of her family all together, including Schwarzenegger. And in the caption, Shriver made it clear that she and her ex-husband are actually still pretty close. "Happy Father’s Day to all the dads here on earth who father day in day out, and to you, Arnold. We all wish you the happiest Father’s Day!" she wrote. For Shriver and Schwarzenegger, a post-married life means being there for each other still — and especially for their growing family.