What Arnold Schwarzenegger's Love Child Is Doing Today

In May 2011, the Los Angeles Times sent shockwaves around the celebrity world when it revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a love child with his family's longtime housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena. The scandal destroyed his decades-long marriage to Maria Shriver and tarnished the former Governor of California's political career. The news also came as a shock to his four children with Shriver: Katherine Schwarzenegger, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Christina Schwarzenegger, and Christopher Schwarzenegger. Patrick even changed his Twitter name to Shriver, although his handle retained the Schwarzenegger name, according to the Daily Mail. As for Katherine, she tweeted that the situation was "definitely not easy."

If there is one silver lining to the fallout from the scandal, it's that Schwarzenegger and Baena's son, Joseph — who was 14 at the time his identity was revealed — has managed to weather the storm with relatively few bumps and bruises. He'll celebrate his 23rd birthday in 2020 and is already paving the way to a bright future. Here's what Joseph Baena is up to today.

Joseph Baena headed off to college

In 2015, TMZ reported that Joseph Baena had graduated from Frontier High School in Bakersfield, Calif. The commencement ceremony included a bit of drama, depending on how much you like to read into online gossip: Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly skipped his son's big day to spend time with daughter Katherine Schwarzenegger in Santa Monica. However, Joseph's mother was there and reportedly "posed for pics with her son, who proudly displayed his diploma."

Baena enrolled at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. and reportedly majored in business and business management, according to the Daily Mail. Joseph had reportedly been honored for student philanthropy, an accolade the publication speculated "could have been monetary, through a donation, or more likely he volunteered to help in some capacity at an event or on a project that benefited the student population in general." A source told the tab, "It shows his commitment to the school, and it's a great way to meet other students." The insider added, "'He's on a great path, it will be interesting to see if he follows in his father's footsteps."

Although Schwarzenegger wasn't there for Joseph's high school graduation, he was a huge source of support at his college send-off in April 2019. "Congratulations Joseph!" he captioned a shot of the two on Instagram. "Four years of hard work studying business at Pepperdine and today is your big day! You have earned all of the celebration and I'm so proud of you. I love you!"

He went to Oktoberfest with dad Arnold Schwarzenegger

Despite the awkward way in which the world found out about his identity, Joseph Baena has been working steadily with his father to develop a strong and lasting bond. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who initially spoke very little about his son after the scandal broke in 2011, confirmed as much in an interview with Howard Stern (via People) in 2015.

"He's terrific and he totally understands the situation," Schwarzenegger said. "So, it all has worked out." The movie star added, "It's a very tough situation for him. It's a very tough situation for my kids, very tough situation for my family. It was tough for everybody. But it has happened and now we have to figure it out, right?" Indeed.

In October 2016, Baena traveled to Munich, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest and his 19th birthday with his dad. The happy travels were shared on Schwarzenegger's Instagram. "Happy birthday, Joseph," he wrote, captioning a photo of the father-son duo clinking two giant mugs of beer. "Great student, great athlete. I'm proud of you and I love you!"

Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child is getting seriously ripped

Considering his father got his start as a world-famous bodybuilder, it was perhaps inevitable that Joseph Baena would hit the gym, too. And yet, it's still remarkable to see just how ripped this kid has already become. In June 2016, TMZ obtained photos of Joseph and Arnold Schwarzenegger at Gold's Gym in Venice, Calif., describing the young man as "jacked like an up-and-coming Mr. Universe." A month later, People spotted father and son riding bikes together. In January 2019, Baena set the internet on fire when he mimicked one of his father's most famous bodybuilding poses and posted the rippling results on Instagram.

Speaking of Joseph's dad, he's very confident about his son rising to the top. "He's training very hard ... I'm a big believer in training also for strength," Schwarzenegger told Extra's Mario Lopez, describing a dead-lift training session the duo shared. "I put it on 455 ... and he did two reps. I saw him do the first one ... [and said], 'Go for the second one, come on, Joseph!' So, he's very serious about it, and I'm very happy about it, because as I said to him, 'It's important to take care of your body, train hard, if you're passionate about that.'"

Suddenly, that "Diet starts Monday" sign hanging above our desks isn't looking so funny.

Joseph Baena's a beach bum

As one would expect from a kid who grew up in California, Joseph Baena spends a lot of time at the beach. People magazine spotted him "casually throwing a football around on the sand with a friend" in Malibu in May 2016. At the time, the already-ripped 18-year-old was still sporting his incredibly long hair. The following year, in June, TMZ posted photos of Joseph going for a jog along the water with his buddies. He'd cut his locks and added what looked like a lot of muscle.

Of course, it's easy to develop a bangin' bod when you learned from the best. "To push it all the way and more weight. Push it more," Baena said about dad Arnold Schwarzenegger's most helpful piece of advice, according to Us Weekly. "I would say, you can always do more than you think you can."

Seriously, we'll go to the gym tomorrow.

Is Hollywood in his future?

Like father, like son, indeed. In September 2016, Joseph Baena starred in a video directed by his friend, Ben Hess, in which he recreated the famous "Bad to the Bone" scene from Terminator 2 shot-by-shot.

Of course, while Baena looked like a natural in front of the camera, he initially played it coy about whether he'll actually try to make the big leap to movies. When TMZ asked him about the possibility in June 2017, he replied with a simple, "We'll see." But Joseph's tune changed in November 2019, when he gave a very revealing interview with TooFab, telling the outlet about his future, "Currently I'm studying more. I am looking forward to applying to some more schools for an MBA, possibly." He continued, "But acting is a huge goal of mine, body building is a huge goal of mine and real estate is also a big goal of mine. All of these things, working really hard to get involved in a lot of different areas, that's what it's all about."

Translation? Don't rule out a career in Hollywood just yet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair still weighs heavily on the family

While Arnold Schwarzenegger has clearly moved on from his love child scandal, he admitted to Men's Health in March 2017 that he still thinks about his years-long affair with Joseph Baena's mother "every so often."

"I can beat myself up as much as I want — it's not gonna change the situation," he said. "So the key thing is, how do you move forward? How do you have a great relationship with your kids?" Schwarzenegger added, "You can't go back. If I could, in reality, be Terminator, of course I would go back in time and would say, 'Arnold ... no.' You know, it's always easy to be smart in hindsight. That's not the way it works."

The good news: Between beer fests and workout sessions, it's clear that moving forward is the right direction for Schwarzenegger and his successful young son. And who knows, maybe the rest of his kids will find the same sense of peace one day.

Joseph Baena has a special lady in his life

Not only is Joseph Baena killing it as a college graduate, but he's seemingly doing well in the love department, too. At the time of this writing, Baena is dating Nicky Dodaj, a financial planning intern he potentially met while attending Pepperdine University. Dodaj graduated from the school with a degree in Business Administration and Management, according to her LinkedIn page, and it looks like she's in the process of pursuing her MBA. Not too shabby. 

Although the two appear relatively private about their romance, Dodaj did post a heartfelt note in honor of Baena's 22nd birthday in October 2019. "Happy birthday to my person!!!!!" she captioned a cute Instagram shot of Joseph holding her up in the air. "From group partners in a business project to now !!! I love you & can't wait to celebrate with you." 

As for Baena, he shared a beautiful shot of the pair at a charity event in November 2019. It looks like the two might just be built to last.

Sibling relationships can be tough

Sibling relationships can be complicated, particularly when family betrayal is involved. Someone who's probably well-versed in this area is Joseph Baena, who is supposedly not close with Arnold Schwarzenegger's four other children, especially where it concerns Katherine Schwarzenegger. "Why should she have a relationship with this kid?" a source said to Page Six in June 2019. "Joseph is the product of an affair that Arnold kept hidden for years! This was a deeply damaging and shameful situation that destroyed her family. I can't say I blame her for not wanting to embrace this living ­reminder of that." Not to mention, Katherine failed to mention Joseph in a post celebrating National Siblings Day earlier that year. 

What's sad? It seems like Baena is trying to forge a relationship with his half-siblings. When Katherine tied the knot with actor Chris Pratt, for instance, he left a "congratulations!" message on her Instagram. The Pepperdine grad supposedly wasn't invited to the nuptials, however, with an insider explaining to Page Six: "Even if he had been invited, he would say he wouldn't have wanted to go to the wedding as he would be a distraction. It would have definitely taken away the shine from Katherine's big day. It would have really been the only story of the day."

It's possible Joseph Baena and his half-siblings will grow close one day, but it's ultimately their decision in the end.