May 10, 2011 / 6:08 AM / 8 years ago

Schwarzenegger, Shriver announce surprise separation

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver said on Monday they are separating “while we work on the future of our relationship.”

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) smiles with his wife Maria Shriver at the Governor's Inaugural Ball at the Sacramento Convention Center January 5, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Baer/Pool/Files

The surprise announcement came four months after Schwarzenegger, an Austrian-born bodybuilder turned Hollywood action star, left office in January.

“This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us,” Schwarzenegger, 63, and Shriver, 55, said in a statement. “After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together.”

The couple, who met at a charity tennis tournament in 1977 and married in 1986, did not mention whether they would divorce but said they were living separately.

“We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the centre of both of our lives,” the statement said. “We consider this a private matter, and neither we nor any of our friends or family will have further comment.”

The couple had maintained their home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles during Schwarzenegger’s two terms as governor, with him commuting by jet to the state capitol in Sacramento.

Schwarzenegger said in February he was ready to make movies again and announced recently he was developing a television show and comic book based on his political nickname “The Governator.”

An industry source told Reuters last month Schwarzenegger was likely to star in a new “Terminator” movie that would reprise his most famous role as the almost indestructible cyborg from the future.

Shriver, an author and former journalist for NBC, is active with a number of volunteer organizations.

Her mother was the sister of assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy and her father, Sargent Shriver, was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972. Shriver’s father died in January at the age of 95.

Although a lifelong Democrat, Shriver campaigned for her Republican husband when he sought to recall and replace then-Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, in 2003. She took to the stump to help Schwarzenegger win re-election in 2006.

Additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Peter Bohan and John O'Callaghan

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