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Having Arnold Schwarzenegger as a dad might seem like an awesome experience, but for Joseph Baena, learning that The Terminator star was his father was a traumatic and very public experience. That’s because he was born of an affair between Schwarzenegger and his housekeeper, Mildred Baena, while he was married to Maria Shriver.
The now 24-year-old actor is following in his father’s fitness and entertainment industry footsteps, but the scars of the day the media found out about Schwarzenegger’s infidelity still burn brightly in his memory. “I remember the day very vividly,” he told Men’s Health. “I was in the eighth grade. Fifth or sixth period. And I get called out of class to leave. And my mom’s there, and she’s like, ‘We gotta go—everyone is finding out about you and who your father is.’ “
Joseph shared that the public frenzy happened at an awkward time as he was going through puberty, so the entire situation was extremely intrusive. “My life transformed before my eyes,” he told the publication. He and his mother had to rely upon each other during that tumultuous time. “No one knew, and everyone wanted the details. We had each other’s backs,” he explained.
His high school years were challenging because “the trust factor became really difficult,” especially when everyone knew his family’s personal business. It also took quite some time before father and son were able to bond. As he reached adulthood, Joseph learned to lean on Schwarzenegger for advice when it came to his exercise regimen — and his dad even gifted him a copy of the book he co-authored, The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. Joseph admitted that it still took some time for their relationship to develop. “Even though I could call him anytime, I was too proud. I went straight to the book. I wanted to figure it out myself.”
Despite the less-than-ideal way Joseph found out who his father was, the duo has become quite a pair — and there’s no denying the resemblance between them. And he’s also following his dad’s beliefs resisting “handouts” when it comes to helping him with his career. “He believes hard work pays off, and so do I,” Joseph summed up.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrities who have admitted to cheating on their partners.