LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put his movie comeback on hold Thursday as he deals with fallout from his affair with his housekeeper and braces for what could be a costly divorce.
A statement from Schwarzenegger’s office said the former "Terminator" star has asked his talent agency to put all his motion picture projects that are currently under way or being negotiated on hold until further notice.
"Gov. Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines," the statement said. "This includes ‘Cry Macho,’ the ‘Terminator’ franchise and other projects under consideration. We will resume discussions when Gov. Schwarzenegger decides."
The revelation that Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his housekeeper also set the stage for what could be a big-money divorce case that will stand out even in a city that has seen its share of made-for-the-tabloids matrimonial splits.
His wife, Maria Shriver, the Kennedy heiress and former network TV anchor, stands to cash in big time financially, according to several prominent divorce attorneys. Although, California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning her husband’s acknowledged philandering technically can’t be used against him in court, the reality, attorneys say, is that it will be.
"Every judge would know about what happened and I think would hold it against him," said attorney Robert Nachshin, who has represented the ex-wives of a who’s who of entertainers that includes Will Smith, Rod Stewart, John Ritter and Eddie Vedder. "Judges are human beings, and Maria will definitely be the sympathetic spouse."
Based on his experience, Nachshin said, Shriver should expect to receive at least $100,000 a month in spousal support and, with three children under the age of 18, probably $40,000 or more in child support.
Then there’s the division of the couple’s property, including the Brentwood mansion that Shriver and her children moved from earlier this year.
Nachshin said that could be affected by a prenuptial agreement, if the couple signed one when they were married in 1985. Many such agreements call for people to keep what would otherwise be joint assets separate after marriage.
Shriver won the sympathy vote when Schwarzenegger revealed this week he had fathered a 13-year-old son with a housekeeper who had worked for his family for 20 years and that until earlier this year he had never told his wife about the boy.
"It seems to me that he has gratuitously embarrassed her. This should greatly enhance settlement negotiations," said Atlanta attorney John Mayoue, who has represented Chris Rock in a paternity suit, baseball star David Justice in his split with actress Halle Berry, and other celebrities.
Neither Schwarzenegger nor Shriver indicated whether they planned to divorce when they announced their separation a week before word of the bodybuilder-actor-politician’s out-of-wedlock child surfaced.
However, People magazine reported Wednesday that Shriver has retained prominent Los Angeles divorce attorney Laura Wasser.
Wasser did not return phone calls from The Associated Press, and Shriver’s spokesman declined to comment on the report.
Wasser has represented Christina Aguilera, Mel Gibson’s estranged wife, Robyn, and brokered the child-custody agreement Britney Spears reached with her ex-husband Kevin Federline.
Her specialty is keeping details of celebrity splits secret, and Nachshin said that’s what Schwarzenegger should strive to achieve. He suggested that if the former star of the "Terminator" films is smart, he would seek to have divorce proceedings handled privately by a retired family law judge, keep his mouth shut in public and tell the truth in court.
"Because courts go crazy if people lie," he said.
Celebrity divorces have become a specialty of retired judges because they can be conducted in private, although the final resolution must, like any other divorce, be made public.
In the past celebrities and the wealthy have gone to great lengths to keep the details of their divorces private, with mixed results.
Billionaire supermarket magnet Ron Burkle tried unsuccessfully to keep 1,200 pages of his divorce transcript from being released to the public when the California Supreme Court ruled against him.
In allowing the documents to be unsealed, the state high court struck down a law that would have kept them from the public. Ironically, the law was signed by Schwarzenegger.