Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger: A political odd couple that worked
Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger announced their separation Monday. Despite being a prominent Democrat, Shriver was crucial to her Republican husband's political success.
Less than six months after former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger left office, he and his wife, Maria Shriver, have announced that they are separating after 25 years of marriage. The announcement, so soon after the end of Mr. Schwarzenegger's term, has led to retrospection on her crucial role in his rise to the governor's office as well as speculation as to whether she was fulfilling the role of the political "good wife."Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Schwarzenegger and Shriver's marriage
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
From the beginning of their marriage in 1986, Ms. Shriver and Mr. Schwarzenegger were ribbed for being a political odd couple, because of Schwarzenegger’s Republican leanings and Shriver’s connection to one of America’s Democratic family dynasties as daughter of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Now, after the separations of several high profile politicians, including John and Elizabeth Edwards, Al and Tipper Gore, and Mark and Jenny Sanford, there are questions about whether Shriver stayed with her husband to help him further – or not damage – his political career.
To be sure, she was integral to it. Indeed, there is the sense among many political analysts that, if it weren’t for Shriver, Schwarzenegger might not have made it to Sacramento in the first place.
During California’s 2003 recall election – in which Schwarzenegger was a candidate – the Los Angeles Times printed a series of articles alleging that Schwarzenegger had groped women. Shriver's defense was seen as crucial.
The allegations "show why really good people don't want to go into politics anymore," she told reporters. "As I say to my children, it always takes great courage to do – stand before anybody and apologize," she said. "I think that's what Arnold did today. I think he handled it, and his statement speaks for itself."
Governor's 'greatest asset'
Her political pedigree, along with her professional credentials as a former reporter for NBC’s “Dateline,” offered her unique opportunities.