The untold truth of Katherine Schwarzenegger

As the daughter of action hero-turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger and journalist Maria Shriver, Katherine Schwarzenegger managed to do the unthinkable by keeping an uber-low profile away from the paparazzi's camera lenses. Instead of relying on her famous parents to pull strings for her, the self-proclaimed "addict of all things lifestyle" has worked diligently to be recognized for her own accomplishments, and she has a ton of them, might we add.

Topnotch pedigree aside, this 5-foot-8-inch brunette beauty lives a fascinating life that will leave you completely intrigued. From her dedication to animal activism to her alleged romance with one of Hollywood's most eligible superheroes, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt – have your ears perked up yet? She's also an accomplished author and a sorta kinda mom.

Her famous last name is easily recognizable, but who is she exactly? From body image issues to that time she wanted to change her last name, this is the untold truth of Katherine Schwarzenegger.

Her family tree is famous (and fashionable)

Her last name is associated with bodybuilding, the Terminator films, and politics, thanks to her dad, but Katherine Schwarzenegger has a pretty impressive family history on her mom's side, too. The author and animal lover is the great-niece of late U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Though politics are obviously a huge deal in her family, her parents never forced her to fall in line with the dynasty. "They didn't say, 'You have to be in politics' or 'You have to be in the acting world'," she told Hello!. "It was very much like follow your heart and follow your dreams. Know that you're going to have to work really hard to do it — but you can do it."

When you explore the branches of her family tree, everything Schwarzenegger embodies starts to make more sense, including her penchant for looking flawless. She's the great-niece of fashion maven Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. "Of course you look at pictures of [Jackie Kennedy Onassis], pictures of different people in our family or in our world, and you want to try to emulate some of that," she said about her lineage's fashion influence. "But I think just really embracing your own style and dressing for your body type is definitely something that I would like to do."

She has huge shoes to fill — a pair of Hélèle Arpels, to be exact — and she's nailing it!

An animal activist

Though her father has starred in more than a few box office hits, Katherine Schwarzenegger has not yet dipped her toes in the acting world. Instead, she's been toiling away behind the scenes, devoting a huge chunk of her time to animal activism.

As an ambassador to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), she loves all things animal-related and even shares pictures of rescued dogs that are available for adoption on her personal blog. She also has an Instagram profile that pays homage to her beloved rescue dog, Maverick, and his furry friends.

Speaking of Maverick, her children's book, Maverick and Me, was penned to teach children the importance of animal rescue programs. She talked to the Today show about her goals for the book. "When [kids] get to a point in their life where they're turning to their parents and saying 'Mommy and Daddy, I want a dog or I want a cat,'" she hopes "their parents might take them to the ASPCA or to a local rescue to pick out their first animal."

This gal is a triple threat: beauty, brains, and benevolence!

Like mother, like daughter

Her mother, Maria Shriver, is an Emmy award-winning journalist and the recipient of the iconic Peabody Award. Shriver's accomplishments are well-respected in the media world and beyond, and the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Not only is Katherine Schwarzenegger her mom's doppelgänger, but she's branching out into the world of broadcast journalism, too. 

When she was still a college co-ed, Entertainment Tonight gave her the chance to conduct her very first celebrity interview asking Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy all of the most pressing questions about their film, This Means War

"Before I went in there, I was like, 'I'm going to throw up. I'm going to have projectile vomit in their faces, I'm so nervous!'" Schwarzenegger told People magazine. She blamed her uneasiness on the eye candy sitting in the room. "Chris Pine is gorgeous," she said. "I think it would have been easier if Chris Pine had not been there." Hmm, sounds like she has a thing for guys named Chris, but we digress…

Let's go, Trojans!

When Katherine Schwarzenegger earned a degree in communications from the University of Southern California (USC) in May 2012, her mom, Maria Shriver, was asked to deliver the commencement speech. 

Before giving the more than 500 graduating USC Trojans some sound advice, Shriver had a special message for her daughter. "I'm pausing to be in awe of this moment, that I'm standing at my first child's graduation from college," she said. "I'm in awe of the woman you are, your grace and courage and strength. I'm so proud of all of you and what you've done to get here."

Schwarzenegger's brother, Patrick, was also accepted into the same university, and his big sis was there in August 2012 to help him move into the exact same dorm room she lived in when she was enrolled at the school! Talk about a coinkydink!

Her parents were 'very protective'

One reason Katherine Schwarzenegger is a complete enigma is because her parents worked really hard to make sure she and her three younger siblings had a normal upbringing away from the glitz and glamour. "They were very protective of having us in the public eye when we were younger. We didn't go to Hollywood premieres," she told USA Today.

She may have missed out on being front and center at her parents' events and wearing dazzling evening gowns on the red carpet, but as a child, her plate was full. "We practiced community service. We went to school and camp like normal kids," she said.  

As an adult, Katherine made the choice to step into the limelight, albeit slowly. Let's just say, dealing with the paparazzi hasn't been easy…

She went across the pond after news of her dad's affair

The world was shocked to discover that Arnold Schwarzenegger carried on an affair with their family housekeeper, Mildred Baena, for years, even fathering a son with her named Joseph.

We can't even imagine what it was like for Katherine Schwarzenegger to find out the truth about her father's infidelity. According to People, he revealed the truth during a family therapy session in 2011. Maria Shriver filed for divorce soon thereafter, although the divorce has not yet been finalized as of July 2018. 

"My parents always really sheltered us, so when [the separation] started happening, it was like everything came out of nowhere overnight," Katherine told Harper's Bazaar. "I would go out to lunch, and literally 20 people would come and scream at me. And I'm like, 'This is so inappropriate; you're trying to provoke me to have an attack and say something crazy.'"

To get away from all of the unwanted attention, Katherine jetted off to London. "I just kind of wanted to go away and realize that it's not as big a deal in other places," she said. 

She's rockin' her curves, but she wasn't always so confident

Even though her parents shielded her from the media, they couldn't protect Katherine Schwarzenegger from having body image issues. "It was the first time I was aware of my body and compared what I looked like to what other girls looked like. It freaked me out," she told USA Today.

Her parents attempted to reassure that she was smart and beautiful, but being self-conscious about her body continued when she entered the seventh grade. Schwarzenegger recalled trying to keep her weight under 100 pounds in a "friendly competition" with a naturally thin friend, though she insisted she "did not have an eating disorder at all."

The trials and tribulations she faced encouraged her to pen a book titled Rock What You've Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty From Someone Who's Been There and Back. "I want to let girls know they are not alone with the changes and doubts about their body," she said.

She's the hostess with the mostest

Growing up with three siblings and a ton of extended family members and friends meant her childhood home was always jam-packed with people. Her mom was a party-planning extraordinaire, so being a great hostess rubbed off on Schwarzenegger, too.

"[My mom has] taught me so many things about how to host and throw a perfect party!" Schwarzenegger told AOL"One of the things she's always told me is to make sure your guest bathroom is ready, and that it's just like every other room, so you shouldn't neglect that." 

She put her mom's hosting techniques to work when she threw a baby shower for one of her best friends. She chronicled the festive event on her blog, writing that "even though I had never hosted a baby shower before in my life, I was super excited to do it and it turned out to be so much fun." 

Her mom is her BFF4L

Katherine Schwarzenegger and her mom, Maria Shriver, are really close. "I talk to my mom about six times a day, and we constantly e-mail in between that," she told Harper's Bazaar. "People say that I'm her twin. I guess it would be the Kennedy genes; my cheekbones are coming out. We'll be at the breakfast table and my mom will look over at me and say, 'I see them!'" Friendship aside, her mom is also one of her "biggest role models." 

But, move over, mommy, because Schwarzenegger has other friends in high places. In fact, she's a proud member of the Beyhive! She told Refinery29 that she's "overly obsessed with Beyoncé. She's definitely a huge role model for me." Bzzz!

The pressures of being the governor's daughter

Even at the young age of 13, Katherine Schwarzenegger realized the choices she made in life could impact her father's gig as the then-elected governor of California. 

"It could have ruined my father's career if I was caught drunk driving or something like that," she told Harper's Bazaar. "Being the oldest and going from being an actor's kid to being the governor's daughter, it's a totally different amount of pressure put on you to be perfect."

Some might says she was putting on a front because she wasn't exactly living the lifestyle of a straight-edge, perfect kid. "I did go out, I did drink, I had a boyfriend in high school, so I definitely had times of partying," she said. 

In the end, it was her parents' strict parenting style that kept her in line, complete with an 11:00 p.m. curfew and a personal escort by California's highway patrol officers. Well, that's one way to ensure you're never late for curfew!

She thought about terminating her last name

Living up to her famous last name was another huge battle Katherine Schwarzenegger faced. In fact, the burden almost became too much to bear in college her freshman year. 

It was her fellow male classmates who pestered her the most. Schwarzenegger told Harper's Bazaar they would approach her for all the wrong reasons and immediately jump into a conversation about her dad or "weight lifting or how to do a proper bicep curl." What a turnoff! "It's like, 'Do you want to date my father, or do you want to date me? Like, I can arrange that for you,'" she quipped.

"I thought of changing [my last name] because, especially for dating, it's impossible." she said. "It's something I deal with every day, and I am hyperconscious about it."

She's a blended family pro

After Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child with their housekeeper, Maria Shriver filed for divorce. Though this chain of events had the ability to tear their family apart, but her parents tried to keep things civil for the sake of their kids. "My parents were very, very big on making sure that we remained a family unit no matter what happened and they did a really good job at that," Katherine Schwarzenegger said during an appearance on The Talk (via People).

This commitment to co-parenting included both parents showing up to the kids' special events, including birthday parties and graduations. "We've remained very very normal and we just have a lot of love for each other," Katherine said. "We're overly obsessed with each other … they did a great job, both my parents … maintaining our family unit." 

Just call her 'mom #2'

As the eldest child in her family, Katherine Schwarzenegger took it upon herself to act like some sort of surrogate for her younger siblings. "Patrick, my brother, always calls me 'Mom #2,' and now all of his friends do," she told Refinery29.

Being protective over her younger brothers and sister meant giving them the third degree about everything going on in their lives. "I'll ask them a million questions every time they're going out, and try and get every detail of what they're going to do and where they're going — because, that's what my mom did with me," she said.

Call us crazy, but we'd love to have Schwarzenegger and her unwavering support in our corner. She even famously defended Patrick when he was accused of cheating on his then-girlfriend, Miley Cyrus, during a trip to Mexico. When pictures of Patrick doing body shots off a bikini-clad woman hit the net, Schwarzenegger tweeted an epic clap back: "Ever heard of spring break?!"

Mom #2 has his back!

How she met the guardian of her heart

After filing for divorce from actress Anna Faris in December 2017, movie star Chris Pratt sparked a relationship with Katherine Schwarzenegger. Guess who played matchmaker? Her mom, Maria Shriver! 

"Maria helped set them up," a source told People in June 2018, after the couple was spotted on a Father's Day picnic. The following month, Schwarzenegger and Pratt hit up a church service and stopped for ice cream afterward with Pratt's son, Jack Pratt, in tow. TMZ published a photo of the couple smooching and pics of Schwarzenegger tending to Jack and helping him eat his treat during their adorable family outing.

But before we give Shriver the matchmaker of the year award, we're not entirely convinced this was all her doing. Maybe Schwarzenegger spoke this entire relationship into existence all on her own?Access uncovered a 2017 interview filmed before she began dating her actor beau. When asked which Hollywood "Chris" she was more into — Chris Pratt, Chris Hemsworth, or Chris Evans, Schwarzenegger initially chose Evans, but quickly changed her mind. "Actually, Chris Pratt. Chris Pratt has been looking good lately, so you never know."

Whoa. Psychic Katherine. We're shooketh!

A quickie engagement

Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt didn't officially go public with their relationship until Schwarzenegger's birthday on Dec. 13, 2018, when Pratt posted a heartfelt dedication on Instagram that read: "Happy Birthday Chief! Your smile lights up the room. I've cherished our time together. Thrilled God put you in my life. Thankful for the laughs, kisses, talks, hikes, love and care." 

Little did we know, Pratt had something major cooking behind the scenes for the lady in his life. A month after making things Instagram official, Pratt proposed with a giant engagement ring worth an estimated "$150,000-$250,000 or more," reported Page Six. They both shared the happy news on their respective social media accounts, along with identical photos of their post-engagement bliss. Schwarzenegger's caption read: "My sweet love. Wouldn't want to live this life with anyone but you."

The engagement occurred just under seven months after the couple was first linked together as an item and a mere three months after Pratt's divorce from actress Anna Faris was finalized. Some suspect the couple is moving way too fast. "For someone on the outside, it might seem their engagement came too quickly," a source told People. "But for everyone close to them, it feels like they have been dating much longer than they actually have."

A religious wedding is in the works, but zip it, mom!

Connecting on a "spiritual level" is what cemented the bond between Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt. "They have the same outlook on the world, and their faith ties them together," a source told People. "He's really impressed that she's vocal and unashamed about her beliefs in God, because that's how he is." Sources say their spiritual beliefs will play a major role when they tie the knot. "They're going to want a religious wedding," an insider told People. "I know that Chris does, and I assume that she does, too. God is going to be a part of this marriage."

It's likely we won't know the full details surrounding their impending nuptials — which is rumored to take place in the summer of 2019 — because Schwarzenegger's mom, Maria Shriver, who also holds the title of Schwarzenegger's "best friend," has been sworn to secrecy. Shriver told Today that her daughter was "super happy" about the engagement but gave her "very strict instructions not to talk about it." So what gives? 

"She said, 'It's not your moment,'" Shriver explained. "No one wants to hear from me. It's not my moment. I know nothing, I say nothing." Well, we here at Nicki Swift are dying for more details. We wish the smitten couple nothing but the best!