The Truth About Arnold Schwarzenegger's Children

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The following article includes mentions of addiction.

Growing up with famous parents isn't exactly easy. We often hear about the pressures and expectations of the public to live up to said parents, and how debilitating and lonely it can be. Although some celeb kids might crack under that pressure, embarrassing their famous parents or acting out in shocking ways, others come out on the other end unscathed and have successfully managed to create careers and lives of their own — outside of their well-known relatives. 

But children of celebrities who embrace the notoriety they were lucky enough to be born into — even using it to their advantage to do good in the world — is not as uncommon as you may think. The subjects of this article, the Schwarzenegger children, are among this very group. Born to bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, and journalist, author, and member of the Kennedy family Maria Shriver (as well as one to Mildred Baena, but more on that later), this accomplished quintet has taken the fame of their parents and used it for good. 

Let's take a deeper look at the lives of Arnold Schwarzenegger's children, shall we?

Katherine Schwarzenegger is an accomplished author

Katherine Schwarzenegger is the eldest child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Born in 1989, Katherine enrolled at the University of Southern California following high school, where she received her bachelor's degree in communications. Katherine actually wrote her first book, 2010's "Rock What You've Got," while in college and has since become a successful and accomplished author, as well as a New York Times best-seller. With three additional books under her belt, as of this writing, each one is derived from different experiences in her life, ranging from self-esteem and body image issues to sharing post-college career advice to working toward forgiveness, per her website.

In addition to her work as an author, Katherine is also an animal rights advocate and ambassador for both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Best Friends Animal Society. In fact, her third book — a children's book called "Maverick and Me" — details the serendipitous experiences children can have when their families either foster or adopt a pet, rather than buy one. She also reveals in the book how this philosophy of pet ownership helped her rescue a dog of her own, which she named, you guessed it, Maverick. 

Adding to her already impressive list of ambassadorships, Katherine holds another for the Special Olympics, an organization for children and adults with disabilities that was actually founded by her maternal grandmother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's kids had a 'normal upbringing'

As the child of two famous and well-known parents, Katherine Schwarzenegger — along with her younger siblings, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher Schwarzenegger — had a relatively average upbringing, at least by Hollywood standards. 

Despite living in the affluent neighborhoods of Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, California, the Schwarzenegger children were required to do chores, were denied access to TVs or phones in their bedrooms, and had to attend church every week, per The Washington Post. Basically? Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver taught their kids to appreciate their fortunate lives. "My parents raised the four of us kids to have a very normal upbringing and normal childhood," Katherine explained to People in 2017. "We didn't go to red carpet things all the time."

Although she faced a "difficult time" dealing with her parents' divorce due to her father's admitted infidelity — resulting in the birth of her younger half-brother, Joseph Baena — Katherine shared with Harper's Bazaar, "I really do believe that everything happens for a reason. A lot of the time, it's hard to understand in the moment why things are happening, but I really do think that. I also like to think that God doesn't really give you anything you can't handle." It's worth noting that, although Katherine has maintained a relationship with her father, she reportedly has not developed a close bond with Joseph, at least according to a source cited by Page Six in 2019.

Katherine Schwarzenegger is married to Chris Pratt

Set up at church by mom Maria Shriver, Katherine Schwarzenegger and Chris Pratt kicked off their blossoming whirlwind romance in the summer of 2018. Six months following their engagement, the lovebirds tied the knot in Montecito, California in June 2019. Describing the secret to their marriage, Katherine later told Us Weekly, "I'm a big communicator. I got married last June, and just communication constantly is, like, really the most amazing gift you can have, I think, in a partnership and in a relationship." (It might also help that Pratt got the public seal of approval from father-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

In August 2020, their first child, daughter Lyla Maria, was born. When celebrating her first Mother's Day, Katherine paid homage to her own mother in a post on Maria Shriver's website. Promoting their upcoming chat on Katherine's "BDA Baby" podcast, she wrote, "I feel so grateful to be a mama to my little Lyla Maria, and I am filled with so much gratitude for my own mama and now grandmama. I hope to be half as perfect of a mother as she is. I hope to mother with as much grace and joy as she does. I hope to raise kids to feel as loved and as accepted as she has with me and my siblings." 

In December 2021, Katherine and the "Parks and Recreation" alum — who also shares son Jack with ex-wife and fellow actor Anna Faris — announced they were expecting their second child together.

Christina Schwarzenegger is open about her ADHD diagnosis

Born in 1991, Christina Schwarzenegger is the second eldest child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. At just five years old, Christina was reportedly diagnosed with two neurological conditions: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, per TV Overmind. Speaking with Fox News in 2018, she opened up about receiving her ADHD diagnosis at an age when "a majority of kids probably [do]," and her resulting struggle with prescription drugs to treat it as she got older.

"I started taking [Adderall] in high school, ninth grade, for about a few months, and then I stopped taking it. Just because I didn't like the side effects," Christina explained, before sharing how her use of it spiraled into overuse while dealing with the demands of her studies at her mom's alma mater, Georgetown University, where she graduated in 2013. "I didn't really become too dependent on it until I was in my junior year of college. In our junior and senior year of college, I pretty much used it very frequently." 

Noting that it's possible to "get a high from it," Christina clarified that she thinks it's "totally fine" and can be helpful to take Adderall "on an as-needed basis or the way it was prescribed by your doctor without abusing," but that she personally stopped taking it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's second child is a producer

Not quite following in her father's footsteps by becoming an actor, Christina Schwarzenegger instead is an accomplished producer. Together with her mother, Maria Shriver, the two produced the 2018 Netflix documentary "Take Your Pills," which examines Adderall addiction and its damaging effects on society. 

Opening up to WWD on why she decided to make the doc, Christina said, "It was an idea I had after I graduated from college, just after seeing the overuse and over-prescription of Adderall and also the existential identity crisis me and a lot of my friends had after transitioning off of Adderall." She added, "I searched for resources and help with Adderall addiction, and wasn't able to find much coverage on — any long-term studies, what would happen if you continued to take it. I love documentaries, and searched for one on it, and thought it was something important to cover." In a joint interview with HelloGiggles, Shriver revealed how she hopes "everybody" would see the doc. "Everybody we spoke with [for the film]: parents, doctors, young professionals, you name it. As many people as possible," she said. "And we hope it ignites a conversation across gender, across socioeconomic groups, and across age groups."

Like older sister Katherine Schwarzenegger, Christina has a close relationship with both of her parents. "Watching all five of my kids grow into their own successful lives is fantastic," proud dad Arnold Schwarzenegger shared with Men's Health. "Spending time with them, working out together, answering their questions, makes me happy."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Patrick Schwarzenegger is following in his parents' footsteps

As Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver's third child, Patrick Schwarzenegger was born in 1993 in Los Angeles, per Hollywood Life, where the future actor and model grew up with his three siblings, older sisters Katherine and Christina Schwarzenegger and younger brother Christopher Schwarzenegger. Due to their public-facing careers (and love lives), Patrick and Katherine are perhaps the most notable of the Schwarzenegger children when it comes to being in the spotlight. 

Even before graduating high school, Patrick co-founded with two friends the Project360 fashion line in 2009 — a "socially responsible brand" that "use[s] fashion as a vehicle to generate social awareness," and therefore donates a percentage of its proceeds to charity. Per the Daily Mail, this has included causes like "cancer and AIDS research and initiatives to fight homelessness and domestic violence." Sharing why he decided to start the business, Patrick told the outlet, "My mom raised me with the idea of doing public service, and I definitely want to go in that direction. But I also want to follow in my dad's entrepreneurial footsteps."

In keeping with that entrepreneurial spirit, 2013 saw Patrick open his own Blaze Pizza branch at one of LA's most popular sites, The Grove, with some help from dad, as well as a second location at the Staples Center three years later. Per his LinkedIn profile, he graduated from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, where he also minored in cinematic arts, in 2016.

Inside Patrick Schwarzenegger's acting resume

Patrick Schwarzenegger is following directly in his famous father's footsteps by becoming an actor in his own right. Starting his career at 10 years old with a minor role in the 2006 film "The Benchwarmers," he's continued to build his resume with supporting roles in movies like "Stuck in Love," "Grown Ups 2," and "Midnight Sun" — the latter being his very first role as a leading actor. Meanwhile, in the Netflix film "Moxie," Patrick's "key role" as a sexist bully was his first foray into playing a not-so-likable character, per Screen Rant.

In 2020 interview with the "Today" show, Patrick opened up about dad Arnold Schwarzenegger and mom Maria Shriver's thoughts on his acting career, saying, "Both my parents are proud of me. ... It's pretty surreal 'cause I remember growing up and going on set with him, and it was my favorite activity." Speaking with Page Six two years earlier, Patrick shared that the father-son duo's mutual love of acting is what helped them develop a closer relationship: "It created a big bond with my father. He'd take me to set every morning. I'd sleep in his trailer, accompany him to the makeup set. I grew up with it and into it."

For his part, Arnold described his bond with Patrick as a "great father-son relationship and also a great friendship" in their joint cover story interview with GQ Germany, per Instagram, in 2019.

Patrick Schwarzenegger briefly dated Miley Cyrus

Meeting through mutual friends, Patrick Schwarzenegger started dating singer-actor Miley Cyrus in late 2014. Although the relationship only lasted for five months, these two nevertheless seemed to be smitten with one another, sharing public kisses and attending industry events together. Cyrus even met Patrick's family

Although the intimate details of their romance have remained private, Patrick previously told the now-defunct Details magazine (via Us Weekly) in 2011 that "[his] eye" was "set on Miley." However, the alleged reason for their breakup was said to be inappropriate behavior involving Arnold Schwarzenegger's eldest son. In March 2015, paparazzi snaps of Patrick appearing to get cozy with — and take body shots off of — another woman while on spring break in Mexico were obtained by the Daily Mail. He took to Twitter to deny any wrongdoing or accusations of infidelity. While Patrick and the "Wrecking Ball" hitmaker reportedly tried to make things work following the scandal, they officially went their separate ways the following month. "They're just in two different places in their lives," a source told People. "He's in college and she's focused on her music career."

As of this writing, Patrick has been dating his model girlfriend, Abby Champion, since 2016. Wishing her a happy 25th birthday on Instagram in February 2022, Patrick captioned a sweet pic of the couple with, "Love this girl so much! Such a hard worker. So beautiful. Faithful. Drinks 2 cups of coffee! Loves Ice cream. Loves her sugary cocktails, Loves Jesus & America too. Can't wait till your back in town."

Christopher Schwarzenegger keeps a lower profile

Born in 1997, Christopher Schwarzenegger is the super private and youngest child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. In fact, he's so private that his Instagram bio reads in part, "If I don't know you, don't try to follow me." Fair enough! 

What we do know about Christopher is that he attended the "prestigious" Brentwood School in Los Angeles as a child, per TheThings. Due to a surfing accident when he was 13, Christopher suffered lung damage and broken bones, but thankfully fully recovered, as reported by People. He also appears to be close with the entire Schwarzenegger-Shriver clan. In 2020, his father took to Instagram to congratulate his son on graduating from the University of Michigan. "Christopher, you are a champion and I love you," Arnold wrote in part, before noting "what makes [him] so proud of" his youngest kiddo. "It's your compassion, your hard work, your vision, your critical thinking, and your selflessness that make me burst with pride. I can't wait to watch you keep climbing and succeeding." 

Unfortunately, Christopher's appearance has often been a hot topic among media outlets in comparison to both older brother Patrick Schwarzenegger and their former bodybuilder father. With his weight loss journey starting back in 2020, a noticeably slimmer Christopher was photographed during a November 2021 outing with his mother in New York City. An insider alleged to Hollywood Life that Christopher had simply opted for healthier habits, like establishing an exercise regimen and consuming well-balanced meals, rather than relying on a "fad diet or crash diet."

The media storm surrounding Joseph Baena and his father

The world learned of Joseph Baena in 2011 when it became headline news that he was the son of actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, per ABC News. The product of a surreptitious affair between Arnold and the family's housekeeper, Mildred Baena, Joseph was also born in 1997 — just a week before Arnold and Maria Shriver's youngest son (and his half-brother), Christopher Schwarzenegger, was welcomed into the world. The story proved to be quite controversial for a Hollywood family that, up to that point, appeared to be scandal-free — and it ultimately resulted in Arnold and Maria Shriver's divorce.

Finding out your father is one of the biggest action stars in the world was understandably not easy for Joseph. "I was in the eighth grade. ... And I get called out of class to leave," he remembered in a Men's Health interview over a decade later. "And my mom's there, and she's like, 'We gotta go — everyone is finding out about you and who your father is.'" Joseph added, "I'm 13. Your body's transforming; your mind is transforming. And now my life transformed before my eyes." Having very little time to process things due to the ongoing press, Joseph and his mom were forced to find refuge among family in Texas. 

However, calling the media attention "outside noise" in January 2022, Joseph told Inside Edition that his parents are "a huge inspiration" to him, particularly as "immigrants that kind of created something out of nothing." He added, "I want to make them proud."

What does Joseph Baena do for a living?

Two years after graduating from Pepperdine University with a degree in business administration in 2019 (yes, his famous father attended the ceremony and shared a loving message of congratulations on Instagram — but more on their relationship below), Joseph Baena informed his Instagram followers that he was embarking on a new gig with Aria Properties as a residential real estate agent working in the Silicon Beach and West Los Angeles areas.

But that's not all he would be doing. Not straying too far away from Arnold Schwarzenegger's influence, Joseph — just like his older half-brother, Patrick Schwarzenegger — has also been pursuing a career as an actor. In his February 2022 Men's Health cover story, Joseph recalled how his dad advised him to simply, "Do the reps," in regard to this career path. Thinking he was getting workout advice, Joseph realized the simple yet wise words were beneficial to the acting art form, explaining, "I say the lines over and over again — with a scene partner, an acting coach, or just by myself — repeating, repeating, repeating until it's muscle memory. To a point where you can wash your clothes, do your dishes, basically do anything — and spit the lines out." 

Joseph also shared why he opted not to use the Schwarzenegger moniker. "When I go to auditions, they don't know who I am, because we don't have the same last name," he said, noting that this is his own way of knowing that whenever he lands a role, "I know it's all me."

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joseph Baena's 'close' bond

Although they got off to a rocky start due to the media storm surrounding the truth of their paternal connection, Joseph Baena and Arnold Schwarzenegger have since fostered a great bond as father and son. Not only do they share a mutual passion for working out — which they do together at Gold's Gym in Los Angeles, per People — Joseph is also continuing the legacy his father created, launching his own Hollywood career as an actor, as previously mentioned. The two also share an uncanny resemblance — Joseph's even become known for recreating his father's classic bodybuilder poses on Instagram.  

While Joseph revealed during a January 2022 appearance on the "Unwaxed" podcast (via E!) that he was initially "nervous" to build a relationship with his father, admitting how "it took a little while for [the two] to get really close," he said that nowadays, "I'm so close to my dad and we joke about everything." 

Arnold, in return, has publicly shared the same sentiment on multiple occasions. While wishing Joseph a happy 24th birthday in October 2021, this proud dad of five tweeted in part, "I am so proud of you and I love you!" Sending a special shout out to his son's many career endeavors, the "True Lies" actor added, "You are crushing it in the gym, in your real estate career, and in acting. I know this will be another fantastic year."