Nine years ago in the spring of 2011, bombshell news broke revealing that movie star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had, 14 years earlier, secretly fathered a son with his family's longtime housekeeper, Mildred "Patty" Baena.
The revelation torpedoed Arnold's long marriage to Maria Shriver, with whom he had four children — including his youngest, Christopher, who was born the same week as Mildred's boy, Joseph. Over the years, despite the heartbreaking and awkward circumstances, Arnold worked to develop a relationship with Joseph, who's now a 22-year-old college graduate with a business degree — and budding bodybuilder and actor like his dad.
Joseph has, all the while, maintained a loving relationship with his mother, who's rarely photographed publicly. But on Mother's Day 2020, Joseph took to Instagram to share a few photos with his mom, captioning the slideshow, "I LOVE MY MAMA! Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Thank you for always being our best friends, our protectors and our teachers! You all deserve the best on this special day and every day." One pic shows him preparing food in the kitchen with his mom, and the other shows them embracing at his 2019 college graduation.
A year ago, Arnold also attended that graduation ceremony where Joseph earned a degree from Malibu's Pepperdine University. "Congratulations Joseph! 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!" Arnold captioned a photo of himself clasping hands with his son, who was wearing his cap and gown.
Every year in recent years, Arnold has also posted a social media message on Joseph's birthday, Oct. 2, as he also does with all four of his kids with Maria — Catherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher. In 2018, Arnold captioned a photo marking Joseph's 21st birthday, "Happy birthday Joseph! It's been fantastic to watch you pump up your muscles and your mind this year and I can't wait to see what's next. I'm proud of you and I love you!" In 2019, he captioned a pic of them, "Happy birthday Joseph! Watching you graduate from college this year and seeing you follow your passions has been amazing. You are a fantastic son, and I can't wait for our next training session. I love you."
Last year, Joseph took a page out of Arnold's book and sent him a loving message on Instagram for his 72nd birthday, captioning a pic of them together, "BIG happy birthday to the best training partner in the world! Love you dad 🎊🎉."
Bodybuilding has been a common thread for the father-son pair. Joseph inherited Arnold's physique and often posts photos of himself working out or striking poses reminiscent of photos from Arnold's Mr. Olympia days.
In 2015, Arnold opened up about moving on from the pain of his mistakes — he'd previously admitted in his memoir that once he realized Joseph was his, he kept the information from Maria because he was embarrassed about his behavior and also didn't want to face the wrath of her family, the Kennedys — in an interview with radio host Howard Stern.
Of Joseph, who was at the time 17, Arnold told Howard, "He's terrific and he totally understands the situation. So, it all has worked out … 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?"
In late 2019, TooFab briefly spoke to Joseph at a GO Campaign Gala he attended to support fiends who were involved with the charity. TooFab asked what was next for him. "Currently I'm studying more. I am looking forward to applying to some more schools for an MBA, possibly," he explained. "But acting is a huge goal of mine, bodybuilding 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."