BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The revelation that Arnold Schwarzenegger has an out-of-wedlock child with a former employee turned into a tabloid frenzy Wednesday, as reporters and photographers swarmed a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in California farm country amid unconfirmed reports it was the home of the child's mother.
The woman, identified by a number of news organizations as Mildred Patricia Baena, was not at the Bakersfield home when the mob arrived. Schwarzenegger's office declined to discuss whether the woman is the mother of the former governor's child.
A photo of the boy posted on the woman's MySpace page shows a fairly strong resemblance to Schwarzenegger, particularly when the actor-bodybuilder-politician was younger. "If I saw him or his picture, I would see the resemblance," next-door neighbor Marilyn Steelman said. "But if I just saw him on the street, to say, 'Wow, Arnold's son?' No, I would not say that."
Residents of the street of fashionable homes said they didn't know if the woman's son was fathered by Schwarzenegger. Steelman said that after moving into the neighborhood about a year ago, the family told her the woman worked for Schwarzenegger and was planning on retiring soon. Steelman said the real estate agent who sold the family the house told her Schwarzenegger was actually the buyer. Real estate records make no mention of Schwarzenegger's name.
Steelman said the woman, her husband, and 13-year-old son are nice people. "He's a wonderful kid. Such a nice young man. He's respectful of people and property, very courteous. He's very intelligent."
The Los Angeles Times, which first reported Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with a longtime family employee, has not named the woman but has said she retired in January after working for the family for 20 years.
Schwarzenegger, who recently separated from his wife, Kennedy family heiress and former journalist Maria Shriver, acknowledged Monday that he fathered a child with a former employee more than a decade ago. He and his aides have declined to release her name or any details beyond a statement in which he apologized to his family. Schwarzenegger has said Shriver didn't learn the child was his until he told her after leaving the governor's office.
The birth certificate for the Bakersfield woman's son shows he was born the same week as Schwarzenegger and Shriver's youngest son, Christopher.
Shriver, who has declined to discuss the matter, made a brief appearance Monday at a taping of an Oprah Winfrey show, telling the host she has "given me love, support, wisdom, and most of all the truth."
A person close to the situation who requested anonymity said the ex-governor had been humbled and embarrassed. "He's not focused on what steps he needs to take for himself, but the steps he needs to take for his family."