Entries in Maria Shriver (3)


Schwarzenegger Scandal Exposes a Familiar Kennedy Flaw

Chelsea Lauren/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Maria Shriver, who hired a divorce lawyer after husband Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission that he fathered a child with the housekeeper, has joined at least three generations of Kennedy women who have been stung by womanizing.

Shriver, 55, is the granddaughter of Joseph Kennedy, the patriarch of the Irish-American political clan, who carried on affairs with Hollywood actresses, and the niece of President John F. Kennedy, who was rumored to have slept with numerous women, including actress Marilyn Monroe.

Psychologists and sociologists have a name for the way in which trauma and relationship patterns are passed down through families: intergenerational transmission. They point to battered wives who raise daughters who are beaten and victims of sexual abuse who go on to abuse their own children, continuing an unconscious cycle.

When the Los Angeles Times interviewed a dozen women in 2003 who said they had fought off Schwarzenegger's unwanted sexual advances between 1975 and 2000, Shriver denied that Kennedy women look the other way. The women who had worked with Schwarzenegger said they had thought they were powerless to report the actor, who admitted he had "behaved badly."

"Well, you know, that ticks me off. ... I am my own woman," Shriver told friend Oprah Winfrey on her TV show. "I have not been, quote, 'Bred' to look the other way. I look at that man [Schwarzenegger] back there in the green room straight on, eyes wide open, and I look at him with an open heart."

This time, however, Schwarzenegger crossed the line by sleeping with the family's longtime housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena, during daytime romps in the couple's Brentwood home while Shriver was away, said Stanton Peele, a psychologist who has blogged about the couple's marital woes for Psychology Today. The woman the family called "Patty" gave birth to a son, who is now 14.

"Joe Kennedy could [sleep with actress] Gloria Swanson, but he couldn't bring it home or insult or defile Rose Kennedy," he said. "You might say Arnold Schwarzenegger learned the cultural thing to do perfectly. Men do whatever they want until it's discovered in the home. Then 'boom,' it's over."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Taking Care of Alzheimer's: the Burden on Women

Photo Courtesy - Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease can be a 24/7 job, taking an emotional, financial and even physical toll on caretakers, especially if they're women, according to the Shriver Report on Alzheimer's.

Maria Shriver's study, released Oct. 15, details the special burden women face as caretakers.  The majority of Alzheimer's patients and caretakers are women, and more than half of them report serious emotional and physical stress that results from taking on the care of their ailing loved ones.

"All my time is taking care of my mother.  Your whole life is devoted to somebody else, as if you had a little baby," says Ana Marie Ortega, 63, who has been caring for her 89-year-old mother, Teodora Ortega, for the past decade since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

As with many caretakers, live-in nurses or nursing homes were not an option for Ortega because of financial and personal reasons, leaving the Sacramento, California native to care for her ailing mother on her own.

"The nursing home was not what I wanted for mom," she says.  "My mother practically raised my daughter so I could get a college education.  She worked so hard all her life.  You have to do the moral thing.  Life doesn't repeat itself.  She might be gone within a year or two and I don't want any regrets."

That choice has meant a lot of sacrifice for Ortega.  She is on leave from her job at the governor's office so she can care for her mother, leaving tight finances and little time to herself.

"It's an emotional, mental, physical struggle," she says.  "She can get very angry and mean when the medication is wearing off and she wasn't that way before.  It's a cruel disease; it robs the person of their life and the people around them.  This time it happens to be me because I chose to take care of mom."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Alzheimer's Daughter: Maria Shriver Takes on Disease With Second Shriver Report

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of the nation's highest-profile women is taking on one of the nation's highest-profile health problems.  Alzheimer's.  It has affected her father and more than five million other Americans.

The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Takes on Alzheimer's is a collaborative research effort by California First Lady Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer's Association that calls on society and government leaders to address the needs of patients and caregivers, fund more research into treatment for Alzheimer's and other brain diseases and help people prepare for the possibility of a future Alzheimer's diagnosis.  The report's main focus is the impact the disease has on women.

"Alzheimer's is a woman's disease that's dramatically changing the way we live as families," Shriver said.  "Sixty percent of people with Alzheimer's are women, and 60 percent of the caretaking is done by women."

Doctors say there's a simple reason more women have Alzheimer's.

"Women outlive men much longer, so there are more women with Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center.

This year's report builds on last year's Shriver Report, A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, that found that about two-thirds of women now have to be their family's breadwinner in addition to being a wife, mother and caretaker for elderly or sick relatives.

"The challenge really has got to be how do we support women in all of these roles?  They're strapped and stressed at all ends of the spectrum," she said.

Alzheimer's disease hits close to Shriver's heart.  Her father, Sargent Shriver, has had the disease since 2003.

"Today he doesn't know I'm his daughter and he doesn't even know my name," Shriver wrote in the report.

At the same time she was caring for her father, she also took care of her elderly and ill mother, who died in 2009.

"When I was out doing the women's report, I found many women in my situation -- raising children, working and caring for elderly parents," she said.  This isn't the first time Shriver has taken on Alzheimer's -- she produced a documentary and also wrote a book on the disease.

"There's been a lot written about it, a lot of trials, we've certainly been able to tie cardiovascular health to brain health," she said. "There's a lot of good preventive information that's gone out, so there's a lot of hope, but people get pessimistic because there's no cure."

One of her biggest hopes is to get people talking about Alzheimer's.

"We're trying to take it out of the closet and put it into the living room."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio