Arnold Schwarzenegger in Cannes, southern France. (April 4, 2011)

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Cannes, southern France. (April 4, 2011) Credit: AP

Maria Shriver was a compassionate and understanding source of comfort and support, her former housekeeper Mildred Baena told Britain's Hello! magazine. Baena is the mother of a child, named Joseph, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shriver's estranged husband.

Baena said Shriver had noticed the household staff whispering about the boy's resemblance to Schwarzenegger.

The former broadcast journalist "would ask if I needed to talk to her, and I kept saying no," Baena told Hello!.

Finally, however, "Maria asked me directly if Joseph was Arnold's son, and I just broke down. I dropped to my knees and I was crying, saying that yes, he was, and I was so sorry."

And Shriver, she said, "cried with me and told me to get off my knees. We held each other and I told her it wasn't [just] Arnie's fault, that it takes two."

Baena said she then offered to leave immediately. "Since I was retiring soon," she told the magazine, "I said I would pack and leave right away, but [Shriver] said to stay until after the holidays."

The Guatemala-born housekeeper said she did not realize that Joseph was not her husband's biological son until the boy was older and began to resemble the former California governor.

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