Local news agencies reported Thursday that there's now an obvious blotch on the Governator's lapel in the portrait — a blotch that looks suspiciously like a hurried edit to remove Schwarzenegger's estranged wife, Maria Shriver, from the painting.
The portrait was officially unveiled this week to hang in the Capitol building. Sources have told local news that Shriver's face originally appeared in the painting, however, on a lapel pin the former governor was wearing when he sat for the portrait.
Schwarzenegger's former assistant, Clay Russell, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he saw the original painting when it was done several years ago, while Schwarzenegger was still in office.
"It was unusual for a portrait to be done so soon — a couple of years into the administration," Russell said.
And now, Russell is defending Schwarzenegger's apparent choice to replace his ex with a sloppy smudge of blue paint.
"Considering everything, it's not that odd," he said. "It would have been weirder if it was already up and he had removed it."
Schwarzenegger and Shriver split in 2010, when it was revealed he was the father of a child with the couple's longtime housekeeper. Since then, allegations of infidelity on Shriver's part have also surfaced.
Years after Schwarzenegger and Shriver split, they have yet to finalize a divorce, leading many to think they may still reconcile. But a comment made by Austrian artist, Gottfried Helnwein, who painted the official gubernatorial portrait, makes it sound like that's far from the truth.
Helnwein mentioned to a reporter that the painting contains "one little interesting detail... which I cannot give away because I am not allowed to tell, but it was very important and meaningful to the governor."
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