When it comes to high-profile splits, the one between Maria Shriver and her former husband Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most talked-about in recent memory. The journalist recently reflected on the divorce in an episode of the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast, sharing her newfound sense of enlightenment and how she found it.
The 67-year-old revealed that, soon after her split from Schwarzenegger, 75, she visited a cloistered convent to seek advice and solace. During her time there, the Reverend Mother said something that would stay with her for the rest of her life.
“The Reverend Mother there said to me at the very end, she said—and I actually have written about this, but I haven’t shared—she said, ‘I think you came here looking for permission,'” Shriver shared, before referencing Julie Andrews’ role in the Sound of Music. “She says, ‘You can’t come live here, but you do have permission to go out and become Maria.’ I was like, sobbing.”
Shriver, 67, said that she realized her full potential after that profound conversation. “I had never given myself permission to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be brought to my knees, and the world did it to me, and then I was like, ‘Okay, God, let’s go. I’m gonna take this and learn everything I can about my role and what I need to learn.'”
Shriver explained that during the period following her divorce, she felt “invisible” living in the shadow of her ex-husband.
“I would find myself getting angry at people who came up and didn’t acknowledge that I existed when I was standing next to Arnold, or when I was standing next to my uncle or somebody,” she shared on the podcast. “And then I [realized] they were teaching me a lesson that it’s not about whether they see me. Do I see me? Am I visible to me?”
Despite this, the journalist said she was able to take a lesson from her experience and learn to love herself. “It’s not about other people seeing you, it’s about you seeing yourself,” she explained.
Shriver and Schwarzenegger announced their split in May 2011 after 25 years of marriage. The two share four children, Katherine, 33, Christina, 31, Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25. Soon after news of their separation broke, Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a son, Joseph Baena, now 24, with former family housekeeper Mildred Baena, with whom he had an affair during his marriage to Shriver.
The former couple has maintained a cordial relationship since their breakup, most recently reuniting to celebrate their son Patrick’s birthday in September.