Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked the world in 2011 when he announced he had fathered a secret child behind his then-wife Maria Shriver’s back.
The actor, now 75, notably had an affair with their housekeeper, Mildred Baena, and she gave birth to their son, Joseph Baena, 25, in 1997.
Joseph has wowed the world with his strong resemblance to his father, shared interest in bodybuilding and has even followed in the action icon’s footsteps by pursuing a film career, while juggling a solid career as a real estate agent.
However, while Joseph has formed a close bond with his Terminator star father, the actor’s four other children with Shriver have maintained fractious relations with him – with Arnie candidly explaining the crushing impact his infidelity had on his family in his new Netflix documentary.
Katherine Schwarzenegger, 33, the eldest of the clan, famously didn’t invite Joseph to her 2019 wedding to Chris Pratt – although he sent well-wishes.
Last month it was claimed the children ‘didn’t love’ their brother after their separately attended their father’s FUBAR premiere.
As Joseph’s star looks set to rise even further, DailyMail.com looks inside the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lookalike son…
Just like dad: Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked the world in 2011 when he announced he had fathered a secret child behind his then-wife Maria Shriver’s back – son Joseph Baena, now 26
Seeing double: Joseph, now 26, has wowed the world with his strong resemblance to his father, shared interest in bodybuilding and has even followed in the action icon’s footsteps by pursuing a film career (Arnie pictured R in 1970)
2011 – JOSEPH BAENA’S IDENTITY IS REVEALED AFTER 1996 AFFAIR
Baena is the son of Schwarzenegger and his longtime housekeeper, Mildred who kept his identity secret for the first eight years of his life.
The affair happened in 1997, while Schwarzenegger was still married to his ex-wife Maria Shriver.
After realizing she was pregnant, Mildred left Schwarzenegger’s home to keep the link between the two secret, until the link between the two became apparent.
Baena was born on October 2, 1997, only a few days after Shriver gave birth to the couple’s fourth child, Christopher.
Schwarzenegger reportedly found out about his son when Baena was eight years old and his ex-wife became suspicious.
During a marriage counseling session in 2011, the counsellor had stated at the time, ‘Today Maria wants to be very specific about something,’ he reveals. ‘She wants to know if you’re the father of Joseph.’
Family first: Baena is the son of Schwarzenegger and his longtime housekeeper, Mildred who kept his identity secret for the first eight years of his life. The affair happened in 1997, while Schwarzenegger was still married to his ex-wife Maria Shriver
Proud of co-parenting: Maria Shriver and Arnold married in 1986. They have four children together: Katherine, 32, Christina, 30, Patrick, 28, and Christopher, 24
Candid: Arnold spoke about his marriage imploding due to his affair on Netflix documentary, Arnold
The former governor of California expressed, ‘I thought my heart stopped. And then I told the truth. “Yes, Maria. Joseph is my son.” She was obviously crushed by that.’
The star explained that at first, both himself and Mildred assumed the child was her husband Rogelio’s, and she continued to work for the Schwarzenegger family. ‘In the beginning I really didn’t know, but the older he got, the more it became clear to me.’
‘It was then just a matter of, “How do you keep this quiet?”‘ Arnold stated in a snippet from the documentary.
It wasn’t Joseph until was in his teens that he learned the truth, in an interview with Yahoo News, he said: ‘I remember the day very vividly. I was in the eighth grade.
‘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.”
Bond: Joseph has previously revealed it took a while for him to get close with his dad and the two only connected later in life
Joseph grew up in a Guatemalan household, in Bakersfield, California, he told Men’s Health: ‘It was a humble home and we didn’t have much.’
The two didn’t connect until later in life, as Joseph revealed during an appearance on Unwaxed podcast in January 2022. He said: ‘It took a little while for me and him to get really close and just (feel) like I can joke around with him.’
Schwarzenegger detailed his affair with Mildred in the Netflix docuseries, Arnold, which premiered in June 2023.
Regarding the affair, Arnold admitted that it was his ‘biggest failure’ and stated, ‘I have caused enough pain for my family, because of my f**k-up. Everyone had to suffer. Maria had to suffer, the kids had to suffer, Joseph, his mother, everyone.’
The True Lies star revealed, ‘I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.’ Following the affair, Mildred left her husband and Schwarzenegger provided for both her and Joseph, purchasing them a home with a pool in California in 2010.
The housekeeper retired in 2011, the same year that Maria ended her relationship with Arnold, prompting their separation. She filed for divorce in July 2011, which wasn’t officially finalized until 10 years later in 2021.
‘People will remember my successes and they will also remember my failures. I’ve had failures in my career but this was a whole new dimension of failure. I am very happy within this sad story that Maria and I were able to raise the kids well,’ the former professional bodybuilder stated.
Following their split, both Arnold and Maria have maintained a positive relationship, from attending to children’s graduations to celebrating birthdays together.
Arnold also revealed that he was ‘very proud’ of his son, Joseph, who is also an actor and bodybuilder, like his own father. ‘I saw Joseph developing into a fantastic human being.’
‘It was wrong what I did but I don’t want Joseph to think he’s not welcome in this world because he is very much welcome and I love him. He has turned out to be an extraordinary young man,’ the star sweetly added.
JUST LIKE DAD – JOSEPH THE BODYBUILDER
Seeing double : Joseph is no stranger to flaunting his chiselled abs, and often shares snaps of himself working out in the gym (Arnold pictured R in 1976)
Joseph is no stranger to flaunting his chiselled abs, and often shares snaps of himself working out in the gym.
He is noted for his striking resemblance to his former Mr Olympia father – and is often cited as the child of Schwarzenegger that bears the most similarity to him.
Arnold has continued to have a strong relationship with his son. He has paid for his education and expenses, and they often spend time together and work up a sweat at the gym.
A family insider said that ‘Arnold loves all of his children. He has a great relationship with all of them.’
‘Arnold is really close to Joe. I’ve been at several events where he’s brought him along,’ added Page Six’s first source.
‘It’s not fair, but I guess it’s understandable — he’s the product of something that should not have occurred,’ they said of his estrangement from his half-siblings.
Go time: He is noted for his striking resemblance to his former Mr Olympia father – and is often cited as the child of Schwarzenegger that bears the most resemblance to him
Style star: Joseph has racked up an impressive 443,000 Instagram following – as he makes waves in acting, dj’ing and real estate
Cheers: The star is seen in a relaxed Instagram snap
However, another source claimed: ‘The Schwarzenegger kids have consistently navigated the situation with respect and class.’
In March 2021, Baena started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Checkmat Northridge and was featured on the cover of the Men’s Health March 2022 issue, with the star discussing his fitness and his bond with his father.
Arnold has closely mentored his son during his bodybuilding journey and gave him the book he co-authored – The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding – to help him.
Baena appeared as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2022 – a decision he said was to ‘break the barriers in his family’ – due to his body type and fitness training making his frame far from perfect for ballroom dancing.
He previously said how he was bullied over his weight in school, saying: ‘I was like the chubby kid in my… crew, and, um yeah. It wasn’t until I joined swim my sophomore year…’
2019 – JOSEPH IS EXCLUDED FROM SISTER KATHERINE’S WEDDING
Joseph shared a sweet message of congratulations to his half-sister Katherine on social media, after seemingly being left out of her lavish nuptials to Chris Pratt.
The bride married Pratt in a lavish star-studded ceremony in Montecito, California and shared a photo from the big day on Instagram.
In the caption, she detailed how the couple felt ‘blessed’ to be joined by their family as they became ‘husband and wife in front of God’.
Joseph did not attend the ceremony, but posted a kind note under the photo.
‘Congratulations!’ he commented, under his username, ‘Projoe2’, adding two love hearts and a bottle of champagne emoji.
Message: Joseph shared a sweet message of congratulations to his half-sister Katherine on social media, after seemingly being left out of her lavish nuptials to Chris Pratt
While Katherine didn’t respond back to the message, fans were quick to weigh in with their thoughts on the difficult family dynamic.
One user wrote: ‘I hope they invited you.’ Another chimed in: ‘He wasn’t invited. I think Arnold is the only one that acknowledges him. Heart breaking.’
At the time, a source who had worked with the family told Page Six that Schwarzenegger’s children with Shriver ‘have really no relationship with Joseph,’ though they also noted that Patrick and Christopher appeared to be somewhat closer than his sisters. A source also said that Patrick and Joseph had been spotted working out together.
A family source claimed that ‘They are trying to navigate a private relationship before it’s a public one,’ though there appears to have been little progress on the public front in the four years since then.
At the time, a source who knew Katherine said, ‘Why should she have a relationship with this kid? Joseph is the product of an affair that Arnold kept hidden for years! This was a deeply damaging and shameful situation that destroyed her family. I can’t say I blame her for not wanting to embrace this living reminder of that.’
However, Joseph was not a new fixture in their lives, as he was presented as their housekeeper’s son before they knew of their father’s affair and Joseph’s parentage.
‘He grew up around them,’ an insider told the publication at the time. ‘He was a regular at the mansion in Pacific Palisades, where the family lived from 1986 until 2003.’
While Joseph previously followed all his half-siblings on social media, none of them follow him back.
Rocky start: Both Arnold and Mildred attended Joseph’s graduation from business school in April 2019
Joseph took to social media on Katherine’s wedding day to document himself working out at the gym at Malibu’s Pepperdine University, even though he graduated back in April 2019 with both Arnold and Mildred there to show their support.
He was later spotted with his model girlfriend Nicky Dodaj on a night out around Los Angeles.
It’s not the first time Katherine has come under fire for excluding her half-brother from family recognition.
Back in April on National Siblings Day, she shared two sweet childhood snaps alongside her sister Christina and brothers Patrick and Christopher.
But many of her followers took to the comments to question why Katherine hadn’t included Joseph, who was born merely five days after Christopher in September 1997.
‘All hypocrites! They preach all this love, happiness, forgiveness, acceptance crap but yet they never ever acknowledge their youngest brother!! It’s not his fault, he didn’t ask to be born but he’s here.’
Not invited? Joseph took to social media on Katherine’s wedding day to document himself working out at the gym at Malibu’s Pepperdine University
Where’s Joseph? And it’s not the first time Katherine has come under fire for excluding her half-brother from family recognition. Back in April on National Siblings Day, she shared two sweet childhood snaps alongside her sister Christina, 27, and brothers Patrick, 25 and Christopher, 21
Kindness first: At the time, Katherine hit back at the commenter reminding her to be kinder with her words
User rosa_hdz_fashionista continued: ‘And if you notice Joseph always likes all their photos and follows them. But They always like most of Arnold’s photos except the ones with Joe in them.’
At the time, Katherine hit back at the commenter reminding her to be kinder with her words.
‘@rosa_hdz_fashionista saw in your profile it says “god always”. Just wanted to remind you of Gods presence in all of our lives and even in yours as you come spreading hurtful words and judgement.
‘He does not judge you or any of us. I am praying for you and sending you love not because what you said is okay, but because i believe you need love to heal whatever is causing you to post comments like this. god bless you!’
Arnold has continued to be open about the uncomfortable situation, telling Howard Stern in 2015: ‘He’s [Joseph’s] terrific and he totally understands the situation.’
‘So, it all has worked out. It’s a very tough situation for him. It’s a very tough situation for my kids. Very tough situation for my family. It was tough for everybody. But it has happened and now we have to figure it out, right?’
MAY 2023 – SCHWARZENEGGER AND SHRIVER’S CHILDREN ‘DON’T LOVE’ HALF-BROTHER JOSEPH
No Joseph: The LA premiere of Schwarzenegger’s new action–comedy series FUBAR provided an even more awkward look at the family dynamics as the action legend’s daughters Katherine, 33, and Christina, 31, joined him on the red carpet with Katherine’s husband Chris Pratt , 43.
Painful words: In surprisingly brutal terms, a source who knows Arnold claimed to Page Six that his children with Shriver ‘don’t love’ their half-brother Joseph, even though his father reportedly has a strong and supportive relationship with him; seen Monday
His biggest fan: He praised the first episode and his father’s performance
The LA premiere of Schwarzenegger’s new action–comedy series FUBAR provided an even more awkward look at the family dynamics as the action legend’s daughters Katherine, 33, and Christina, 31, joined him on the red carpet with Katherine’s husband Chris Pratt, 43.
However, Joseph had also attended the premiere to support his father, but he walked the red carpet solo without meeting up with his half-siblings.
In surprisingly brutal terms, a source who knows Schwarzenegger claimed to Page Six on Friday that his children with Shriver ‘don’t love’ their half-brother Joseph, even though his father reportedly has a strong and supportive relationship with him.
DailyMail.com reached out to Baena and representatives for Schwarzenegger and his other children.
Schwarzenegger also shares his actor and model son Patrick and his younger son Christopher with Shriver, though they did not attend the FUBAR premiere this week.
The source described Arnold and Joseph as being ‘very close.’
‘But, to be honest, the other kids don’t love Joe,’ they continued. ‘It’s a shame as he’s a really good kid, and Arnold has always treated him like all his other kids — very fairly. But for whatever reason, the other kids take [the affair] out on Joe.’
Despite the apparent tension at the premiere, Joseph didn’t let on at all in his jubilant Instagram post after the event.
He shared a photo of himself beaming ear to ear and flashing dual thumbs up for the camera.
‘I give FUBAR a 2 thumbs up!!!’ he wrote. ‘Had an amazing time last night at the FUBAR premier!’
Choosing sides: Although Joseph didn’t even mention his half-siblings, several top comments on the post called out their behavior while praising him for staying above the fray
Making a statement? It’s common for public figures to delete controversial comments from their posts, but Joseph opted to leave the statements about his absent siblings in place
He went on to praise the first episode that was screened at the premiere for its balance of action and comedy, before adding that he was ‘especially proud’ to see his father and costar Gabriel Luna ‘bring this amazing show to life.’
‘Just remember… “Hero’s don’t retire. They reload,”‘ he concluded.
Although Joseph didn’t even mention his half-siblings, several top comments on the post called out their behavior while praising him for staying above the fray.
‘Joe is Arnold’s true legacy and his rich lazy kids are clearly butthurt. Keep on trucking Joe,’ wrote one fan.
Another said it was ‘disgusting’ how he was ‘treated’ by his ‘own blood.’
No rush: A family source claimed in 2019 that (L–R) Patrick, Katherine, Christopher and Christina were working on their relationship with Joseph privately, but little appears to have changed after four years
Baby steps: Although a source who knew Katherine defended her for not wanting a relationship with Joseph in 2019, another source told Page Six that her brother Patrick has been seen working out with his half-brother in the past; seen in April
‘Completely ignored due to something out of your control. Is it racial hostility?’ they mused, before urging him to ‘use this bulls*** to fuel you.’
One user said they just started following Joseph to ‘support’ him after his ‘snobby siblings’ opted not to.
‘You are a great example for many. You train hard, have made it on your own without taking your father’s last name, you have a job, you support your father and look up to him,’ they wrote. ‘In my eyes, you are an exemplary son.’
It’s common for public figures to delete controversial comments from their posts, but Joseph opted to leave the statements about his absent siblings in place.
Witnesses reportedly saw Joseph stay at the after-party at the swanky outdoor mall The Grove, but Katherine, Chris and Christina all left shortly after the premiere wrapped.
FOLLOWING IN ARNIE’S FOOTSTEPS – ACTING ODYSSEY
Number one gun: Deadline reported that Baena (pictured in January) had been cast in the film Gunner which was written and will be directed by Dimitri Logotheti
Buff: He will portray a character named Wally who is a young, wet-behind-the-ears Deputy Sheriff; he is seen in a gym photo posted last month
Becoming a working actor: While Joseph currently works as a real estate agent, he has been putting in the footwork to become a working actor like his Terminator dad
Joseph is set to star in an action film alongside Luke Hemsworth and Morgan Freeman.
Deadline reported in April the bodybuilder had been cast in the film Gunner which was written and will be directed by Dimitri Logotheti.
He will portray a character named Wally who is a young Deputy Sheriff.
According to the industry news publication, the film is centred around Special Forces veteran Lee Gunner (Hemsworth) as he takes his two sons on a camping trip where they stumble upon a fentanyl lab and are kidnapped by drug runners.
However, Gunner will stop at nothing to get his boys back safely as he not only faces off against a criminal cartel but also the FBI and local police as he uses his special training to bring his family back together.
While Joseph currently works as a real estate agent, he has been putting in the footwork to become a working actor like his famous father.
Last year Joseph had landed his first major role in John Malkovich’s upcoming sci-fi film Chariot.
He also starred in Bully High and one episode of Scam Squad.
His acting career is certainly starting off well as he has five upcoming films including Gunner and another action flick titled Called To Duty which is currently in post-production.