“Fatherhood is really the greatest joy,” Arnold Schwarzenegger told Men’s Health in 2018, and it’s a truth he’s lived ever since he first became a father. Though Arnold’s life is full of major milestones – winning Mr. Universe, claiming the title of Mr. Olympia seven times, serving as the governor of California from 2003 to 2011, becoming a pop culture icon with films like Conan The Barbarian, The Terminator, Predator, and Kindergarten Cop – it seems that the one thing he’s most proud of is being a dad.
“Watching all five of my kids grow into their own successful lives is fantastic,” Arnold said in that 2018 interview. “Spending time with them, working out together, answering their questions makes me so happy.” So, who are the five children that have helped Arnold be a better person?
The oldest of the Schwarzenegger children is Katherine Schwarzenegger. The daughter of Arnold and his former wife, Maria Shriver, Katherine was born on Dec. 13, 1989. Arnold and Maria first met in 1977, after her fellow journalist (and NBC Nightly News anchor) Tom Brokaw introduced them at a tennis charity event, per the Washington Post. The couple tied the knot on April 26, 1986, and three years later, they welcomed Katherine.
Katherine grew up while her father appeared in big-budget action films — True Lies (1994), Jingle All The Way (1996), Batman & Robin (1997), to name a few – while her mother was working as a journalist for NBC News. Despite having high-profile parents with A-lister friends, Katherine said she had a regular, normal upbringing.
“You don’t view them [her parent’s famous friends] – my siblings, and I don’t view them – as big names, as much as they are as friends of our parents,” she told PEOPLE in 2017. “So, we grew up like that. It felt very normal for all of us, because our parents raised the four of us kids to have a very normal upbringing and a normal childhood. I feel like we really had that. It wasn’t a showy or flashy thing – we didn’t go to red carpet things all the time. We had a normal childhood except for some random friends who are bigger deals than others.”
However, Katherine’s life stopped being “normal” when her father was elected governor in 2003. “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,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2011. She said she felt pressure to not do “anything stupid,” but as a teenager, she still “did go out, I did drink, I had a boyfriend in high school.” While attending the University of Southern California, she did discover that dating was complicated with her last name. Guys “were coming up to me, and it would automatically jump to a conversation about my dad and weight lifting or how to do a proper bicep curl. It’s like, ‘Do you want to date my father, or do you want to date me? Like, I can arrange that for you.’”
Thankfully, Katherine has since found love. She and actor Chris Pratt began dating in 2018. They were engaged at the start of the following year and got married on June 8, 2019. IN August 2020, the couple welcomed their first child together, Lyla Maria. Arnold and Maria adapted quickly to being grandparents. “It’s such a great and cool new role for both of them to be able to experience,” Katherine told Us Weekly at the end of 2020. “Also, for me as their daughter to watch them in this new role is such a beautiful thing.”
Katherine is an author. She published her first book, Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets To Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty From Someone Who’s Been There And Back in 2010. She published her fourth book, The Gift of Forgiveness, in 2020. She’s also active on social media, notably Instagram.
Arnold and Maria welcomed their second child, daughter Christina Schwarzenegger, on July 23, 1991. She seemingly takes after her mother. Christina graduated from Georgetown, Maria Shriver’s alma mater, in 2013, according to Men’s Health, and she has worked as an assistant editor at Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand launched by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Christina is more private than her other siblings, but she did have a moment in the spotlight in 2018. She teamed with her mother to produce a documentary for Netflix, Take Your Pills. It explored the use of Adderall in American society, and it was a subject that’s close to Christina’s heart. She took the drug in high school, briefly, to combat attention deficit disorder, but said she became dependent on it in college.
“I was diagnosed, I think, when I was around five with ADD, as a majority of kids probably are,” she told Fox News in 2018. “And then I started taking it 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.”
“You get a high from it,” she said. “But in a completely different arena, it’s very helpful obviously for people to have ADD, who struggle with their attention span. It’s a very helpful drug for those types of people. And I think if they find it helpful if they’re able to take it on an as-needed basis or the way it was prescribed by your doctor without abusing, I think that’s totally fine.”
“I learned a lot of things about myself, especially from when I was younger,” added Christina, who said making the doc brought her closer to her mother. “And it wasn’t about discovering how I learned, but more so how my brain functioned. I guess just being very open with each other has been a very bonding experience.”
Perhaps the most high-profile of Arnold and Maria’s kids is Patrick Schwarzenegger. Born on September 18, 1993, Patrick made his first on-screen appearance as “Jock Kid Game #3” in 2006’s The Benchwarmers. The acting bug quickly bit Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son, and he has since appeared in movies like Grown Ups 2, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Echo Boomers, and Midnight Sun. He also has appeared in TV series like The Long Road Home and 2015’s Scream Queens.
“I’ve been on movie sets for as long as I can remember,” Patrick told the Irish Times in 2020, before listing off a series of Arnold’s flicks – from Terminator 3 to Around The World In 80 Days. “Obviously, a lot of my dad’s films were made when I was extremely young or not even born yet. And I’m still visiting him at work. I visited him on The Last Stand and the last Terminator film.”
When Patrick decided to follow his father into show business, Arnold was there to give him “tons of points” but kept a mostly hands-off approach to his son’s career. “[Most] of his advice comes back to working hard and making sure that when you wake up each and every day, that you want to do the thing that you’re working on. That’s really what it comes down to,” Patrick told the Irish Times. “My dad is very open about the fact that he’s not here to tell me ‘this is how you act’ or ‘this is how you cry on cue.’ My dad made movies that he felt were enjoyable and fun… He’s the person that tells you to find your purpose, and then you can figure out the other stuff.”
Patrick graduated from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in 2016. As a teen, he launched his clothing company, Project360, which donates a percentage of proceeds to various charities, per the Los Angeles Times. The fashion-minded Patrick also signed on as a model https://www.imgmodels.com/patrickschwarzenegger, and he’s appeared in campaigns for Tom Ford and Calvin Klein.
Patrick had a high-profile romance with Miley Cyrus from October 2014 to April 2015. As of 2021, he was still involved with Abby Champion after striking up a romance in 2016. Patrick is also active on Instagram.
While Christina Schwarzenegger is pretty low-key (compared to Patrick and Katherine), Christopher Schwarzenegger is the most chill, most private of Maria and Arnold’s four kids. Born on September 27, 1997, Christopher hasn’t stayed out of the spotlight and forged his own path in life.
While Patrick and Katherine attended USC and Christina studied at Maria’s alma mater, Christopher attended the University of Michigan. He graduated in May 2020, and his father paid tribute to his young son online.
“Christopher, you are a champion, and I love you,” wrote Arnold in a May 4, 2020, Instagram post. “I know your graduation from Michigan wasn’t the big celebration you dreamed about for years, but walking across a stage isn’t what makes me so proud of you: 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.” Currently, Christopher doesn’t have an Instagram page.
In May 2011, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver ended their relationship after 25 years of marriage, with her moving out of their mansion in Brentwood, California. In July of that year, she filed for divorce after he admitted that he had a “love child” with their former housekeeper, Mildred Baena. That child was Joseph Baena, born on Oct. 2, 1997. The scandal was quite big at the time, and Arnold has owned up to causing the end of his marriage. “I had personal setbacks, but this was, without any doubt, the biggest setback and the biggest failure,” he told Howard Stern in 2015. “Without any doubt. Not only failure, but you feel like, ‘I’m to blame for it. It was me that screwed up.’ And you can’t point the finger at anyone else. So yeah, I was disappointed in it.”
Out of this “biggest failure” has come what has been an incredible bond between father and son. In that 2015 interview with Stern, Arnold said that he had a “fantastic” relationship with his children, including Joseph. “Joseph]’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?”
Joseph is the one Schwarzenegger child who has followed Arnold into the bodybuilding world. The Pepperdine University grad (class of 2019 with a degree in business administration) looks like a young Arnold in the gym and frequently posts his latest updates to his Instagram.
“I love my dad!” Joseph told HollywoodLife in 2019. “We hang out all the time! He is a great father! That’s really all I have to say about him! We train together. We eat together. We do many things together. … He is a jokester! He can be intense sometimes. He knows how to get things done. If he needs to get things done, he is going to get things done. He is serious about his work and what he does.”
Relationship Between the Half Siblings
By no fault of his own, Joseph is the byproduct of the affair that broke up Arnold and Maria’s marriage. So, it might be understandable if the four Schwarzenegger children didn’t immediately embrace their half-brother with open arms. Katherine and Christina have “no relationship” with Joeseph, according to a 2019 Page Six report. Joseph was absent when Katherine married Chris Pratt, and he hasn’t been present in any of the major Schwarzenegger family gatherings.
That’s why many heads turned when in April 2021, Joseph was spotted having a workout session with Patrick Schwarzenegger in Santa Monica, California. The two got in some cardio at the steep stairs near the beach. They were joined by Joseph’s girlfriend, Nicky Dodaj, for this exercise excursion. It marked the first time that one of the Schwarzenegger kids publicly acknowledged Joseph and hinted that there might be a future where all five of Arnold’s children could come together as a family.
Whether or not that happens, it’s evident that Arnold loves all his children. “Kids are the next best thing after cloning—even though you realize every child has a different personality,” he told Men’s Health. “If you really want to spread your philosophy, whether it’s about giving back, fighting for fitness, or, just like my dad told me, making the world a better place than you inherited, you’d better do a good job as a parent.”