Journalist, first lady. Born Maria Owings Shriver on November 6, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. Shriver is the daughter of prominent politican and diplomat Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of John F. and Robert Kennedy. She graduated from Georgetown University in June 1977 with a B.A. in American studies and began her career as a newswriter and producer for Philadelphia’s KYW-TV later that year. In 1978, she started work at Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, where she wrote and produced the Baltimore-based show Evening Magazine. In September 1983, Shriver began reporting for CBS News and soon won a spot as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News.
In 1986, she joined NBC News as a correspondent for the news show 1986 and an anchor for Main Street, a news magazine aimed at young people. From 1987 to 1990, she served as a co-anchor on NBC’s Sunday Today. In 1990, she began hosting a series of news specials entitled First Person with Maria Shriver. Since then she has conducted numerous notable interviews including spots with Fidel Castro, Ted Turner, Magic Johnson, and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
Shriver was a reporter for NBC’s Dateline NBC from 1989 until August of 2003, when she took a leave of absence when her husband, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, became a candidate in the California recall election. Upon his inauguration as the 38th Governor of California on November 17, 2003, Shriver became the First Lady of California. A few months later, she resigned from NBC citing a conflict of interest between her role as a journalist and her status as First Lady.
As first lady of California, Shriver served as an advocate for many social causes. She helped develop and launch a special website to match volunteers with organizations needing assistance. Shriver supported the construction of playgrounds and community gardens in lower income areas.
Serving as executive producer, Shriver helped bring the documentary The Alzheimer’s Project to television in May 2009. The four-part program provided an in-depth look at this devastating brain disorder. Advancing understanding of the disease and supporting medical research is a personal mission for Shriver. Her father had Alzheimer’s disease.
Later that year, Shriver experienced two great personal losses. Her mother died on August 11th at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Two weeks later, Shriver lost her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, who had been battling brain cancer. After her uncle’s death, Shriver appeared on Meet the Press. She described her late uncle as “the most compassionate, empathetic man.”
Outside of the world of politics, Shriver established herself as a successful author. She has written several works, including a successful series of children’s books. Her most recent work is Just Who Will You Be? (2008).
In January 2011, Shriver went through a time of personal upheaval. She finished with her role as California’s first lady as her husband’s second term ended. Shriver also lost her father around this time. A few months later, she and her husband announced that they were separating after twenty-five years of marriage. The couple released a statement in May that said this decision came “after a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer.” Shriver and Schwarzenegger have four children: Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher.
Only a short time after their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced their separation in a statement released late Monday. The couple said that “after a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together.”
Both Schwarzenegger and Shriver have been going through “a time of great personal and professional transition.” Schwarzenegger finished his second term as governor of California in January, and he has recently announced plans for reviving his acting career. He is set to star in an animated series featuring a character known as the Governator. A member of the Kennedy political dynasty, Shriver experienced a personal loss in January with the death of her father, Sargent Shriver.
Married in 1986, the couple said that they will live apart “while we work on the future of our relationship.” No details regarding where they will reside during this time or about the custody of their children have been released. The couple’s statement simply said that “we are continuing to parent our four children together.”