There is so much history, some of it dark and brutal, behind his glimmering celebrity. From Austrian immigrant to one of America’s most well-known figures that has helped shaped the action movie terrain in Hollywood. Let’s look back on the journey that made Arnold Schwarzenegger the highly influential figure he is today.
Trouble at Home
Schwarzenegger’s father, Gustav, harbored a dark (and unfounded) suspicion that Arnold wasn’t indeed his biological son. Schwarzenegger recalls that he “had no patience for listening or understanding your problems.” Gustav treated him abusively but favored the older son, Meinhard. “My hair was pulled,” Arnold said.
Remarkably, the abuse drove Arnold to focus on the dreams inside of him. “Every time someone said, ‘You can’t do this,’ I said, ‘This is not going to be for much longer because I’m going to move out of here. I want to be rich. I want to be somebody.” He was certainly right about becoming somebody, somebody rich!
A Harsh Beginning
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born to Aurelia and Gustav on July 30, 1947, in Thal, Austria. Schwarzenegger grew up with no money, and one of the most memorable aspects of his childhood was when the family got something as essential as a refrigerator. Post World War II, Austrian society was also a rather dark existence and harsh and strict.
He's opened up about his childhood explaining how he felt that growing up in Austria was a "different world." He continued, “If we did something bad or we disobeyed our parents, the rod was not spared.” Times were tough growing up in the 50s!
How It Started
Schwarzenegger got into sports from a young age. He was intrigued by weightlifting and bodybuilding, which grew to be his passionate pursuit. Though his father wanted him to be a police officer and his mother wanted him to go to trade school, Schwarzenegger had formed his own plan when he was 14 years old.
He was nearly obsessive in his routine, “It would make me sick to miss a workout… I knew I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror the next morning if I didn’t do it.” Lucky for Arnie, all of his hard work toward those tireless workouts paid off.
An Uncommon Path
It may be difficult to imagine a world in which bodybuilding was not very popular. Nowadays there are a lot of gym fanatics out there that are very religious when it comes to their gym schedules and the way their bodies look.
But in Arnie’s early days bodybuilding and fitness were not the popular trend at the time and, when Schwarzenegger began pursuing it with all of his might, his mother grew concerned. On 60 Minutes, Arnold shared how concerned she was about his newfound hobby. Thankfully, his mother eventually understood more about her son’s passion and even condoned them.
Seems like everyone was part of the military back in the good ol’ days, and that includes good ol’ Arnold. Upon turning 18, Arnold served one year in the Austrian Army as a tank driver. He shared that this time “appealed to the part of me that has always been moved by any show of strength and force.” Perhaps his time in the military only further fueled his fire for pushing his physical limits.
Schwarzenegger gave his all (including breaking his military service) to participate in the Junior Mr. Europe competition. His hard work paid off when he came out number one! However, as punishment for insubordination, Arnold also served time in military prison.
A Leg Up
While going hard at the gym as a teen, Schwarzenegger noticed that his upper body was developing a lot better than his lower half, creating a disproportionate appearance. Realizing he needed to focus more on his lower half, the teen then cut off all his pants at the knee so that his self-consciousness would motivate him.
Definitely, a more creative and unique way to motivate oneself in the gym! But obviously, this technique worked for Schwarzenegger as he brought home the gold in his bodybuilding competitions more than a handful of times. And, looking at him today, his “whatever it takes” approach certainly worked!
First Plane Ride
After completing his service in the Austrian army, Schwarzenegger went to London in 1966, which was his first time on an airplane. He was headed to London to compete in the Mr. Universe competition. Unfortunately, he was not the winner this time around.
However, England had more in store for the Austrian bodybuilder. Little did he know that this time in England would open up other opportunities for him to further himself in the world. He was also clearly not deterred by this loss, and it probably only made him more hungry for the win in the years to come.
An English Lesson
After his loss to Chester Yorton, one of the competition’s judges, Charles “Wag” Bennett, offered to coach Arnold in his English. Bennet was very hospitable and even let him stay with him at his private home.
Reminiscing, Arnold said: “Being with them made me so much more sophisticated. When you’re the age I was then, you’re always looking for approval, for love, for attention, and also for guidance. At the time, I wasn’t aware of that. But now, looking back, I see that the Bennett family fulfilled all those needs. Especially my need to be the best in the world.”
After training with some of the bodybuilding world champions, Schwarzenegger was finally crowned the winner of the Mr. Universe competition in 1967, at just 20 years old. In fact, he became the youngest person ever to win! And one victory was certainly not enough for him as he went on to win three more times.
Schwarzenegger then moved to Munich, Germany, and enrolled in business school. He then began to diversify his interests, sharing with his English coach at the time: “I’m going to become the greatest actor!” It was only about seven years after this dream, that his acting dream came true when he got his first role in “Happy Anniversary and Goodbye.”
Coming To America
In 1966, Schwarzenegger moved to London, where he finally won his first Mr. Universe title at 20 in 1967. “The Mr. Universe title was my ticket to America — the land of opportunity, where I could become a star and get rich.”
The following year he decided to head to the U.S. and was thrilled that he “overcame a thick Austrian accent and transcended the unlikely background of bodybuilding to become the biggest movie star in the world in the 1990s,” said "LA Weekly." Arnold finally became a naturalized American citizen in 1983. We guess that this stands as a testament that dreams do come true!
One perhaps lesser-known part of Schwarzenegger’s life is that he was already a relatively successful businessman before his celebrity took off. He started a bricklaying business in 1968 in California at just twenty-one years old. Curiously enough, he went into business with fellow bodybuilder Franco Columbo, and his company became essential after the San Fernando earthquake in 1971
The natural disaster resulted in damages in the construction and real estate world at $500 million. That’s a lot of damage! Columbo and Schwarzenegger carried on working together in the construction industry for years to come and their friendship only grew stronger as the years went by.
As he reveled in his success acheiving his Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia titles in the U.S., tragedy struck close to home for Schwarzenegger. Arnold’s brother, Meinhard, was killed in a traffic accident in 1971 while driving under the influence. And just a year and a half later, his father also passed. Arnold did not attend either one of their funerals.
Although he was on good terms with Meinhard, he reportedly wanted to avoid seeing his father, with whom he had a strained relationship. A while after this, Arnold was able to help his nephew, Patrick, come to America. Schwarzenegger ended up opening a lot of doors for him.
Patrick M. Knapp Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nephew, Patrick, was primarily raised by his mother and grandparents in Munich, Germany. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2006 but retained his Austrian citizenship like his now-famous uncle. In 1991 Knapp Schwarzenegger graduated from UCLA with a degree in Economics and Political Science.
Today, Patrick is a lawyer with decades of experience. He was Arnold’s advisor while he was the host of "The New Celebrity Apprentice," alongside Tyra Banks, Warren Buffet, and others. Despite the fact that he is a businessman/lawyer, he has also dipped his toes in Hollywood as he has been involved in the filmmaking process of two productions.
Body of Work
Arnold went on to take three Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia titles, the last of which he won after joining the competition exceptionally late! However, there has been controversy over his use of anabolic steroids, which he took while still legal.
In 1977 he commented on this, saying that “steroids were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size while on a strict diet in preparation for a contest. I did not use them for muscle growth, but rather for muscle maintenance when cutting up.” With a body like that, it’s no wonder that he used a little something something on the side.
His First Films
Schwarzenegger’s acting ambition began to pay off when he was cast as Hercules in 1969’s "Hercules" in New York, though his accent was dubbed over. Though his first accolade in acting was not received very well, as it received low ratings, he did go on to redeem himself in a long list of other productions down the line.
He won a Golden Globe in 1976 for New Star of the Year for his role in the movie "Stay Hungry." But he probably was most at home while starring in the 1977 bodybuilding film, "Pumping Iron." Though his filmography is very impressive today, Schwarzenegger admitted that “It was very difficult for me in the beginning.”
When Schwarzenegger first entered the film world, he encountered some unusual criticism. To look at all of his success as an actor today, you would never imagine that he, in fact, was told that he was too big and muscular.
Ironically, this was one of two other significant obstacles he faced, including being told that his accent was too heavy and that his name was too difficult for American audiences. An attempt was even made to change his name in one of his film’s credits, but he decided to stick with the now-iconic “Schwarzenegger” instead, and fortunately, that worked out great for him in the end.
His Many Nicknames
With such an illustrious career, Schwarzenegger has earned himself a few nicknames over the years to go along with his fame. To be fair, Schwarzenegger is most definitely not the easiest name out there to pronounce, let alone spell, at first glance. Therefore the people he encountered along the way came up with all sorts of interesting terms of endearment.
Schwarzenegger was nicknamed the "Austrian Oak" during his bodybuilding days, "Arnie" or "Schwarzy" throughout his acting career, and perhaps most famously, "The Governator" during his political career. And with a name as long as Schwarzenegger, a few nicknames couldn’t hurt!
The Roles He Refused
Though he is without question a household name today, Schwarzenegger turned down a handful of roles, some of them very well-known. He dismissed the idea of being Animal Mother in "Full Metal Jacket," John McLane in "Die Hard," and even Kyle Reese in "The Terminator."
He also made his own creative choices in turning down appearances in both the "Commando" and "Predator" sequels. And what role does he regret turning down might you ask? The offer to be in "The Count of Monte Cristo." Arnie allegedly turned down this action role in favor of taking a role in “Sweet Tooth.”
His Own (Stunt) Man
It may come as no surprise that Schwarzenegger has done many of his stunts for his films, given his physicality and dedication to his roles. But one of the primary reasons he ended up getting his hands dirty was because few stuntmen were as prominent as he was!
And when he did find a stunt double who could take the job, he kept them around. Billy D. Lucas, Peter Kent, and Joel Kramer became his regulars and friends off the set. Kent later opened up in an interview with I News, sharing how tough and gruesome the filming of “Terminator 2” was and how he just feels lucky to be alive despite all the danger while making that movie.
Being an action star can be hazardous work! Schwarzenegger had a near-death experience while filming the movie "True Lies." In a scene where he is riding a horse, the creature is startled by the film equipment and backed up near a steep drop (estimated to be about 90 feet down), almost throwing the actor off the edge!
Thankfully, Schwarzenegger was able to get off just in time before he fell. Arnold managed to slip off the horse in time, and his stunt man Billy D. Lucas pulled him to safety. There was another scene in which Arnold nearly drowned, and once again Lucas managed to spot what was happening behind the scenes and once again saved the day.
So You Think You Can Dance?
There is no such thing as ‘tough men don’t dance’. While we reference his film, "True Lies," it is true that, for the role, Schwarzenegger agreed to acquire an exceptional skill. He decided to take dancing lessons (specifically Tango) for a scene in the film and rehearsed for six months.
But it doesn’t end there with the dancing. Apparently, Arnie loves dancing in real life too. You have probably noticed the pics or footage of Schwarzenegger with Sylvester Stallone performing the Waltz at the Cannes Film Festival on multiple occasions. It seems like he is so devoted to acting, there's nothing Schwarzenegger won’t do.
Seeing as Arnie is one of Hollywood’s action movie legends, he is naturally going to be using a bunch of guns and swords for most of these roles. He also seems to have been very committed to all of his roles, no matter what was required. Acting with these heavy-weight weapons is no mean feat, but that didn’t stop him.
For "The Terminator," the actor made sure he was well-familiarized with weapons. He spent a month making sure he knew how to use them so that, when he was around the props, he was as natural and machine-like as, well, the machine he was playing.
All This And TV Too
While you’re used to seeing him on the silver screen, Schwarzenegger made some brief cameo appearances on TV before many of his action roles. Arnie popped up in shows like "The San Pedro Beach Bums," "Happy Anniversary" and "Goodbye" (with Lucille Ball).
It's curious to think that he made low-key cameo appearances considering he's 6’3” and weighs about 235 pounds. Usually, these cameo roles go for understated, average-looking people- the exact opposite of Arnold’s look. The guy can be spotted from miles away and is far from blending in. Perhaps it was these cameo roles that got him noticed in the first place.
Getting Behind the Scenes
It wasn't enough for Schwarzenegger to just be in front of the camera as an actor; he also took an interest in the business of film. He now has his own production company called Oak Productions (most likely paying homage to one of his nicknames).
Oak Productions has helped produce his films "Iron and Beyond," "The Last Action Hero," "Aftermath," and most recently, "Superhero Kindergarten." According to IMDb, the star has been involved in the filmmaking of a whopping 13 productions. That’s all on top of the over 80 acting accolades he has behind his name. It’s probably safe to say that he knows a thing or two about being involved in the filmmaking process.
Almost the Hulk
Though he is a hulking man, Schwarzenegger was considered for The Hulk's role in the 1970s TV series. While the muscle-manic Arnie would probably have been an impeccable fit to play the role of Dr. Banner’s abominable alter ego, surprisingly, Schwarzenegger somehow didn’t tick all of the boxes for this role.
Ironically, he was considered too short for the part, and (even more ironically) the role was won by a former bodybuilding competitor of his, Lou Ferrigno. Despite the two men’s professional rivalry, Schwarzenegger and Ferringo actually have immense respect for one another. Allegedly the two are good friends and even work out together.
Can't Win Them All
Though he has much in his filmography to be proud of as an actor, Schwarzenegger did get a lot of criticism for his "The 6th Day" performance. But he won three awards for it! Though, not the kind of award that any serious actor wants...
Schwarzenegger won three Razzie Awards for his sub-par performance in The 6th Day for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple (which was just him and a clone of himself on screen). He has also been nominated for other Razzie Awards in his career. In case you didn’t know, the Razzie Awards are mostly for honoring the worst of the worst cinematic fails.
A Real-Life Hero
Schwarzenegger has not only been a hero in his blockbuster hits, and his muscles are not just for looking good; he actually saved a man's life while on vacation in Hawaii. The man had been swimming in the ocean and was starting to drown when Schwarzenegger jumped in and saved him.
Besides the real-life hero that he is. He has also acted in a bunch of action-hero movies where he saves the day. Guess these roles have taught him a thing or two about saving people’s lives in the real world. It's nice to know he's a real-life action hero too!
A Blockbuster Titan?
So, just how much have Schwarzenegger’s movies raked in? Well, combining all of the films he made throughout the 80s and 90s (such as "Total Recall," "Predator, Commando," and many others), it comes to a staggering 4 billion worldwide!
Interestingly, Schwarzenegger's most profitable film is the 1988 blockbuster, "Twins," which he starred in alongside Danny DeVito. Both actors, along with director Ivan Reitman all agreed to not take a salary from the studio in exchange for owning 40% of the film. This is another example of how Arnold makes smart business decisions that benefit him for years down the line.
When he first got to Hollywood, Schwarzenegger’s first on-screen romance was with Sandahl Bergman in "Conan the Barbarian." In addition to this, Penelope Ann Miller, his love interest in "Kindergarten Cop," taught him how to kiss like a pro on-screen to sell it to the audience appropriately. Hey, there’s a first time for everyone!
Nowadays, he is older and more weathered compared to his “Terminator”/bodybuilder peak days, so naturally, this allows him to play roles that are more human than the musclebound hero roles he used to play. Most recently, Schwarzenegger has also had some onscreen romances in the TV series “FUBAR.”
An Unfaithful Past
Being in the public eye with such a famous physique may have attracted women to the super-strong Schwarzenegger, but unfortunately, it seemed that he was weak in his relationships and therefore had issues with commitment.
His ex-girlfriend, Barbara Outland Baker, discovered that Arnold was unfaithful during their relationship and later published a book sharing the scandal and illicit substance use, which was seen in "Pumping Iron." Schwarzenegger subtly fired back, saying that “sometimes Barbara’s recollection of events differs from my own.” Despite his backlashing self-defense, infidelity would later scar his life. Baker was not the only person who felt cheated by him either.
Like most aspiring award-winning actors, several years passed between Schwarzenegger’s first film and his Golden Globe Award in 1976. His acting career began to sizzle in 1982 when he was cast as the lead role in Conan in "Conan the Barbarian." The $20 million dollar movie grossed $68 million – not bad for the 80s.
Schwarzenegger did well enough in the film to be chosen for the 1984 sequel, "Conan the Destroyer," which unfortunately wasn’t as well-received as the first film. But the disappointing reception was soon to be forgotten as he was about to step into his most iconic role.
Schwarzenegger finally found his place in 1984’s "The Terminator," where he stepped comfortably into the role of action star. The movie did so well that it received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received a lot of good feedback from critics. Arnie played the role of a cybernetic assassin who was sent back in time from the year 2029 to 1984 to assassinate and destroy.
He grew his action-film prowess alongside other big stars like Sylvester Stallone during the 1980s, although Schwarzenegger’s roles were generally more comedic. Ironically, his European background did not deter filmmakers from repeatedly casting him as the all-American action hero, a position the public received very well!
A Terminator Once Again
James Cameron was unsatisfied with just one blockbuster film and decided to expand the Terminator franchise. And, of course, given the success of the first film, Schwarzenegger reprised his role in the prequels. No one thought that the franchise would go on to produce a total of five “Terminator” movies but here we are.
He went on to star in "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" in 1991, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" in 2003, "Terminator Genisys" in 2015, and "Terminator: Dark Fate" in 2019. You could certainly say that Cameron enjoyed working with him, and Schwarzenegger did not grow tired of the role!
Secret To Success
When asked about his success as an actor, Schwarzenegger had an uncomplicated approach; he said he chooses “movies people like to see. It’s that simple. You try to make sure the movies are memorable. Not just another movie." He continued, "You’ve got to have a feeling for hipness.
You milk certain lines. ‘Hasta la vista, baby,’ or, ‘I lied.’ You go a little over the top. People love it. Kids love it. And you do some athletic stuff, some fitness, and people think you’re cool.” His methods have certainly paid off well if you think about the success of his list of accolades!
Arnold Schwarzenegger finally appeared to settle down when he married Maria Shriver in 1986, a member of the illustrious Kennedy family that was so famous at the time. In a 2009 commencement speech at the University of Southern California, Schwarzenegger cheekily commented on the necessary turns to take on the road to success: “Number one, come to America. Number two, work your butt off. And number three, marry a Kennedy.”
Schwarzenegger continued to work his butt off, and, in 2020, his net worth is estimated to be around $400 million. But despite the fame and the money, his extramarital habits would threaten his seemingly perfect life...
A Family of His Own
Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger settled in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, although they also had vacation homes in Sun Valley, Idaho, and Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. They had four children together, their first being Katherine, born on December 13, 1989, followed by Christina, born on July 23, 1991.
Sons Patrick was born on September 18, 1993, and Christopher born on September 27, 1997, would follow later. All seemed well for the happy family of six until a disturbing discovery came out years down the line that shocked everyone and was mostly responsible for shifting dynamics in the Schwarzenegger family.
After many years in Hollywood, the star decided to opt for a new career once again. The always-ambitious Schwarzenegger set his sights on another field: politics. He ran as a Republican candidate and was elected as the 38th Governor of California in 2003. But his win was part of a recall election to replace Governor Gray Davis, and so at first, he only completed Davis’s term.
However, he was re-elected in 2006 to serve a full term and even a second term after returning to Hollywood. If an Austrian boy can go from being a humble construction businessman/ bodybuilder to an award-winning actor/ governor, then perhaps anything is possible if you just believe.
Though they were eventually married, Shriver and Schwarzenegger had an impressive start to their relationship. The two began dating while Schwarzenegger was in an open relationship with another woman, Sue Moray. Many women have placed allegations on Schwarzenegger for inappropriate behavior in his past, but others have defended him and stated that his character is that of good nature.
In another disturbing allegation, a former bodybuilder, who is African-American, accused him of racism. Despite these serious allegations, Schwarzenegger and his fans deny any claims that he is a misogynist or a racist. We guess we will never know if they were true or not.
Child Number Five
Sadly, it was announced in 2011 that Maria and Arnold were separating. The root of the breakup? It was soon revealed that Schwarzenegger had had an affair with the family’s maid and fathered her son. The mother of his son was Mildred Patricia “Patty” Baena.
For years, everyone assumed that the child, Joseph, was her husband's biological son, Rogelio de Jesus Baena. What was even more shattering was that Joseph was born on October 2, 1997, only days after Maria and Arnold’s second son, Christopher, was born. Schwarzenegger did not know the child was his for about seven or eight years.
Indeed, Schwarzenegger admitted it was only when Joseph “started looking like me, that’s when I kind of got it. I put things together.” It wasn’t until he ended his foray into politics that his wife confronted him about the affair, which happened after she had confirmed this incident face-to-face with the help of Baena.
Baena opened up about everything, and Shriver’s thoughts had been confirmed. Shriver described his admission as “painful and heartbreaking.” They split up in May of 2011, with Maria moving into a nearby home so their children could easily go between the two parents. The couple stayed separated for a long time before they got divorced many years down the line.
Though now divorced, Maria and Arnold appear to have an amicable relationship, and from the start, he has taken financial responsibility for his son, Joseph. Schwarzenegger owns up to his transgressions, publicly admitting his most personal mistakes.
The Hollywood scandal made a lot of waves in the media and had a lot of fans and followers of the star in complete shock. “I’m least proud of the mistakes I made that caused my family pain and split us up.” All of his fame, accomplishments, and successes were vastly overshadowed by his infidelity, though he has recognized the devastation it has caused.
“He’s terrific, and he understands the situation,” Arnold said about his son, Joseph, in 2015. When Mildred shared with her son who his father was, Joseph reportedly replied, “Cool.” From going to have no father to having Arnold Schwarzenegger as a dad is definitely “Cool!”
Several years after the affair was revealed and he and Maria split, Schwarzenegger explained that it all worked, but that it was a tough situation for Joseph, his kids, and the rest of the family. It was tough for everybody. But he understood that it happened and that they now had to figure out how to live with it.
Still a Family
According to the members of the family, the shift in the family was a mild and manageable situation. His eldest daughter Katherine opened up to the media about their parents’ split “That’s the best thing for everyone, despite it all.” She explained that her parents made sure that they remained a family unit no matter what happened, and that they excelled at it.
Katherine continued to reveal that the family remained very normal and had a lot of love for one another. She admits that despite their split, she thinks her parents did a great job maintaining their family unit.
Another New Family Member
There is a reason why "The Lion King" was so obsessed with "the circle of life." After all, new stars emerge and old ones fade. Katherine Schwarzenegger began dating one of Hollywood’s leading men, Chris Pratt, in June of 2018. The two then got engaged in January of 2019.
And, though it might seem nerve-wracking to ask someone like Schwarzenegger for his daughter’s hand, Pratt said the two share a lot in common, which must have diffused any tension. Though there were reports that Arnold disapproved of Pratt, the claims were wrong as he has expressed only warmth and support for his daughter’s relationship.
A New Role
Schwarzenegger was most recently cast in a particular real-life role, the role of becoming a grandpa. After marrying in June of 2018, daughter Katherine and husband Chris Pratt welcomed daughter Lyla in August of 2020. In May of 2021 the pair welcomed their second baby “Eloise,” and once again Schwarzenegger gets to play the role of being a grandpa even further.
Pratt has even opened up about the name that his kids call the off-screen, and that’s Opa. "Isn't that so nice? Arnold. Opa," said Pratt in an interview with ET. Like his other roles, we are sure that Schwarzenegger will be great in a grandpa's position too!
His Strong Jaw
Another notable physical feature about Schwarzenegger (other than his muscles) is his strong jaw. But in his younger years, he needed a genioplasty, a surgery that realigned his jaw, which had been jutting out. It has been argued by some that bodybuilders do potentially get a more chiseled jaw look than the average Joe, and perhaps this is the place where Arnie got his chin from.
Over the years, there has also been much fixation around Arnold’s chin. There is something tenacious about it, giving off the impression that he is a man who will stick to something he believes in.
A Conscientious Celeb
It may be the last thing anyone would consider when examining his illustrious image or career, but Schwarzenegger is over and beyond his Hollywood iconic status he is also a very passionate environmentalist. During his time as governor of California, he made an effort to be a part of the United States' first emission cap on greenhouse gas (part of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006).
He has also chastised politicians in the past for not taking environmental issues more seriously and has attempted to drive more eco-friendly cars. The world needs more good-hearted fellows like Arnie who use their power in the world to advocate for the environment.
Getting a Good Heart
Schwarzenegger may look completely invincible and untouchable with all of his impressive muscles, but he has also experienced a past health scare regarding his most important one. In 2018, the former bodybuilder underwent an open heart surgery to replace a pulmonary valve.
He had also previously had heart surgery in 1997 to fix a congenital heart valve condition. Thankfully for Schwarzenegger, all appears to be well now, and at the age he's at, he still works out about three times a day! Perhaps he does not go as hard as he used to but he makes a point of it to stay active for life, in order to stay healthy for life.
A Lot on His Plate
With so many energy-demanding roles and to maintain such a physique at such a ripe age, we all wonder, what does Schwarzenegger even eat on a normal day? While he admitted to eating nearly anything and everything in his competition days, he has decided to almost cut out animal protein entirely (with an occasional steak, just for fun) because of his recent health scares.
Seems Arnie has adopted a reducetarian diet. The term describes those who are aware of the environmental and health costs associated with eating meat but still want to enjoy the occasional meat dish once every blue moon. These days he focuses on whole foods, that being primarily fruits and vegetables, and plant-based protein.
Despite that, it's been decades since the release of films like "Pumping Iron" and "Stay Hungry," Schwarzenegger's diet and workout plan has remained intact. As expected, he goes all out on protein, and by that, we mean ALL OUT. Needless to say, if you weigh 250 pounds as he did, you are gonna need a boatload of protein.
Besides the protein, he did not shy away from grains, veggies, or fats either. His daily calorific intake reached almost 4000 calories which came in the form of six meals and protein shakes and was all burned through at the gym. His training routine was largely focused on building muscles. As the man himself once said, no pain, no gain.
Schwarzenegger's Workout Routine
It is unquestionable that Schwarzenegger's workout plan is all-encompassing and ferociously intense. Back in the 80s, the star would train twice a day, with workouts that lasted for hours. He would mostly do heavy weight lifting with an evidently infinite amount of sets and reps.
It was the embodiment of high-volume training, a style of exercise that would be critiqued by most training specialists today for the lack of adequate time for muscle recovery. This is all possible when you're young, but as he got older, he slowed down a bit, and nowadays, he is more focused on more efficient exercises than lifting the weightiest weights.
Following His Father's Footsteps
In the summer of 2023, news rang that Schwarzenegger's son Joseph would follow in his father's footsteps in the acting part of the world. Joseph was set to star in the film "Called to Duty," in which he would pay homage to his dad. The young man was set to portray a navy pilot in the action flick.
The movie is about America under threat by missile attacks from a secret island nation, which the USA strikes back with their best pilots, Joseph being one of these pilots. We are pretty sure that Schwarzenegger is proud of his son for getting so much inspiration from his dad's successful career.
Schwarzenegger's Most Loathed Role
Schwarzenegger has probed into a myriad of things in his life, but it was his blockbuster roles that got the star the celebrity status that he carries today. Back in 1985, the star was the leading protagonist in the film "Red Sonja." To his dissatisfaction, the film was a total disaster and only grossed about $7 million at the box office, which, let's face it, did not even meet the budget.
Schwarzenegger's opinion about the film being the worst ever made was mirrored by critics too. The film got a measly 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and one of the actresses even received an award for "Worst New Star" for her role in this film. Yikes!
Schwarzenegger's Years of Living Dangerously
In 2015 Schwarzenegger was involved in producing a documentary called "Years of Living Dangerously." The illuminating series focused on climate change and flared over two seasons. The different episodes explored related topics like droughts and flooding, rising sea levels, water scarcity, deforestation, and increasing species extinction.
Schwarzenegger reminisced how the series explores climate change in such a way that it resonates with the public: "I think the environmental movement only can be successful if we are simple and clear and make it a human story. We will tell human stories in this project. The scientists would never get the kind of attention that someone in show business gets." The documentary proceeded to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary.
Arnold's Current Love Life
Schwarzenegger and his current girlfriend have been going strong for more than ten years now. Following the star's separation from his wife, Maria Shriver, in 2011, he reportedly started dating Heather Milligan in 2013. Besides the pair attending public events together, Schwarzenegger has also raved about Milligan in interviews, and the two have been spotted together on holiday several times.
Milligan is a physical therapist who's been practicing for over 20 years. Despite the 28-year age gap between the two, and the fact that Schwarzenegger and Shriver only filed for divorce in 2021, the pair are still going strong today.
Arnold's Past Substance Use
Schwarzenegger has been highly regarded as a bodybuilding champ for the greater part of his career. He was also smart about being honest and open about the role that performance-enhancing substances played on his sculpted body over the years. In recent times, Arnie has admitted that he was taking testosterone and Dbol (a steroid popular among heavy-weight trainers) during his glory days.
Despite his honesty, he had also made it clear that he took them under a doctor's supervision and at a time when steroids were still legal. He has also pointed out that nowadays, bodybuilders are taking steroids a lot differently and encourages everyone who wants to go down this path to first consider all the risks involved.
Inner City Games Foundation
It is no secret that Schwarzenegger has been involved in a number of philanthropic drives. In 1995 he founded a foundation, Inner City Games Foundation, to try and enrich the lives of youngsters. This institution provides year-round after-school and weekend enrichment programs for youth and includes cultural, sports, and educational activities.
This foundation has created an alternative to other pastime activities that may end in poor upbringings, like crime, substance usage, and such, and fills the time of disadvantaged youth with more meaningful activities so they can build better lives. The foundation began in Los Angeles, and due to all of Schwarzenegger's advocacy for the foundation, it's now active in 15 cities around the States and has served more than a quarter of a million children.
Arnie Charged $150k for Training Sessions (for Good Cause)
As a heroic bodybuilder and A-list star, Arnie built his success through his dedication to fitness, nutrition, strength, and dedication. It's that same level of dedication that the superstar used to raise funds for good causes. In October 2022, Schwarzenegger boasted that his charity raised more than $5 million over the weekend of 7-9 October.
Most proceeds came from personal training sessions that he led by himself. He charged the individuals wanting personal training sessions from him a whopping $150,000 per workout. That's a hefty amount of money for a few minutes of training with a star, but if it's for a good cause, then why not?
Schwarzenegger Donated 25 Homes
The festive season is a great time for most, but it can be difficult for veterans with no place to go. Schwarzenegger thought it would be helpful to get involved in making the lives of less fortunate veterans a bit easier. On 23 December 2021, the star celebrated Christmas early by donating 25 homes to homeless veterans in California.
This charity move is nothing new for the star, who has dipped his toes in a bunch of other philanthropic drives over the years. The star reportedly enjoyed spending an early Christmas with America's heroes and was pleased to welcome them to their new homes.
Schwarzenegger's First Book
Since Arnie has been the king of bodybuilding for a significant portion of his life, he deemed it necessary to write a book on the topic. Who wouldn't? In 1985, the star published his very own book, "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding."
The book was a hit and still is today, as it showcased and chronicled Schwarzenegger's discoveries in the latest advances in both bodybuilding and weight lifting. The book also deals with diet and nutrition, sports psychology, and injury prevention and treatment. It's safe to say that a seven-time winner of Mr. Olympia knows a thing or two about this topic of bodybuilding!
Arnie's Financial Tactics Started Early
Schwarzenegger came from humble beginnings, and the wealth that he has today certainly did not happen overnight. In the early 1970s, he turned to real estate, and thanks to this move, he made his first million before he even started expanding his career.
Arnie funneled the money that he earned from his bodybuilding career to manage a downpayment on a property. The first was an apartment building that was purchased at $500k but soared to $800k in just a year. Real estate investments were only a side hustle for the man, but the impressive returns and growths got him to be financially savvy for the rest of his life.
Why'd He Stop Bodybuilding?
At the young age of 14, Schwarzenegger took up weightlifting by starting with chin-ups in a park. He eventually became the bodybuilding world's trailblazer by dominating the international stage of this sport. In 2020 the star announced that he was at an end with heavy leg exercises.
Arnie revealed that his knees were not what they used to be back in the day and that he wanted to protect them so he could continue skiing. The star has since found comfort in cycling and mild cardiovascular exercises. Despite this change, the celeb has not fully distanced himself from the fitness world and continues to popularize the art and science of bodybuilding today.
Arnie's Newfound Sport
Since Schwarzenegger left the world of bodybuilding behind, he has found other ways to fill his time while simultaneously using his body's strength. Reportedly the star found a new love for cycling and has even claimed that he wants to cycle all over the world.
Furthermore, he emphasized the win-win situation that cycling brings. According to him, the sport being a great exercise for the legs and other muscles, bicycling around a new area gives you the opportunity to see new places in a completely different light. He also forgot to mention that cycling is a lot easier on the joints than heavy weight lifting!
Thanks to all of Arnie's contributions to the Hollywood industry, the star earned himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He got the prestigious star in 1987, which was just a few years after the movie "The Terminator" was released.
In 2002 Forum Stadtpark, a local Austrian cultural association proposed to pay tribute to the star by making plans to erect an 80-foot-tall Terminator statue in a park in central Graz. Reportedly, Schwarzenegger was utterly flattered and flabbergasted but turned down the idea. He thought that the money could be better spent on good causes and other social projects. This just shows the pure heart of the star!
In the growing industry of celebrity documentaries, the former governor partnered with Netflix in 2023 to create a biographical documentary that chronicles the life of Schwarzenegger. The series runs through his early days of weightlifting to his immense success in Hollywood and his time when he served as the governor of California.
The show was received pretty well, as it earned itself a rating of 8/10 on IMDb. The series is split into three parts, one for each major chapter in Schwarzenegger's life. On the show, he gives personal details and interviews to give everyone a glimpse of the life lived by this star.
Arnie's Biography Book
Besides having his own Netflix docuseries that follows the star's life adventures, Schwarzenegger also has a biographical book that chronicles his life's stories. Titled "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story," the book reveals his illustrious, unique, and sometimes controversial life.
Of course, there would be a ton of things to write about this guy's interesting life. He came from such humble beginnings in Austria and got a major claim to fame and, eventually, the multi-millionaire status that he carries today. As the docuseries was well received by audiences, so too was this book well received by readers. The book currently has a 4.2/5 rating on Goodreads.
Schwarzenegger's second daughter Christina Maria Aurelia Schwarzenegger was born in Los Angeles in 1991. She partially followed her mother's footsteps by attaining a bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University. She later went on to study interior architecture at the Parson's Design School.
Shortly after that, she became an editor at Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand, and stayed on for three years, during which she covered all topics related to health and wellness. Christina is also a founding partner of the Special Olympics Founder's Council. In 2018 she co-produced a Netflix documentary, "Take Your Pills," whereby she explores Adderall addiction and how pressures from society contribute to this controlled substance abuse.
Patrick Arnold Shriver Schwarzenegger is Arnie's oldest son, who was born in the fall of 1993. He is a USC Marshall Business School graduate and has been paired with model Abby Champion, whom he linked with following his break up with Miley Cyrus in 2015. Currently, the actor is courting a career in Hollywood.
The fella made his blockbuster debut in 2006 with a brief cameo in the comedy "Benchwarmers." Since then, he has added productions like Netflix's "Moxie" in 2021 and HBO's "The Staircase" in 2022 to his list of accolades. Patrick is also a co-founder of the hip clothing enterprise #Project360, which donates a cut of its proceeds to charities.
Arnold's youngest son from Shriver was born in 1997 in Los Angeles. He is named Christopher Sargent Shriver Schwarzenegger and has, for the most part, remained out of the spotlight. We guess that makes Arnold and Christopher polar opposites since Arnold has loved the spotlight since day 1.
It also seems like Arnie's other children have embraced the spotlight more than Christopher. We also know that he graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020, but sadly due to the pandemic, he graduated online. In 2021 the star underwent some weight changes as he revealed his trim physique following a significant weight loss transformation.
Strained Relationships With the Siblings
For most of Shriver and Schwarzenegger's marriage, everything seemed ay okay and like they were living the American dream. That was up until around 2011, around the time that Shriver found out about Schwarzenegger's extramarital son Joseph Baena. Schwarzenegger admitted the affair to Shriver in a therapy session, and from there, their marriage fell apart.
Due to the major upheaval in the Schwarzenegger family, Arnie and his children from Maria developed a somewhat strained relationship. Luckily this was many moons ago, and today the relationship between the father and his kids is much stronger. However, it is unclear how the relationship is faring between John Baena and his half-Schwarzenegger siblings as they have rarely, if ever, been photographed together.
Schwarzenegger has proclaimed that in his childhood family life, love was like money — always in short supply. After a beating from Arnie's dad one time, his mother had concern for her boy, but not for the reasons you would think.
Allegedly his mother was not worried about the beatings he received from his dad, but she was genuinely worried that her son was admiring muscly men a bit too much, referring to his wall that was covered in posters of ripped men. His mom even went on to ask a doctor for professional help as she couldn't understand her son's choice of wall decorations.
Schwarzenegger and Stallone
Arnold and Sylvester Stallone have starred in a bunch of movies together, but things weren't always hunky-dory between the two men. The two were true archenemies during the 1980s during the peak of their Hollywood careers. Since then, the two have become great friends, and both parties have claimed that the raging competition between them was a great motivator for both of them to push harder and further into their careers.
Perhaps a good dose of fierce competition is all a star really needs to reach the pinnacle of fame as these two did. The two have gone on to repair the divide by sharing the screen in multiple productions like "Escape Plan" as well as all three "Expendables" flicks.
Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu
Arnie and Franco Columbu shared a lot of differences, but despite that, the two had a great friendship. Columbu is also a bodybuilding prodigy, but unlike Schwarzenegger, he hails from Italy. The one thing that bound them together was, of course, their endearing passion for bodybuilding.
The two met in Germany in the mid-60s at none other than a bodybuilding competition, and from there, their relationship was solid, just like their biceps at the time. The two made a big move together and moved to California from Europe in the late 60s. Sadly Columbu passed away in 2019 while drowning in his native Sardinia and is still missed by his old pal Arnie to this day.
Schwarzenegger had a bit of a thing for armored vehicles like tanks. This fascination began in the aftermath of World War II when his Austrian hometown was paraded with British troops. According to Schwarzenegger, the occupiers were nice to him and the other kids on the street in that they allowed them to climb onto the tanks.
Arnie joined the Austrian military at 18 years old and thereafter passed his tank exams. Not long after this, Arnie had a bit of an accident in which he drove a tank straight through a wall. Sounds like something out of Hollywood, but this really happened while he was in the military, and boy, oh boy, did he get into trouble for it!
How'd Chris Pratt Win Him Over?
Asking for a daughter's hand in marriage can be a nerve-wracking task. This is especially true if you have to ask Arnold Schwarzenegger! Somehow Chris Pratt moved past this and managed to win him over. But how did he do that?
Allegedly the father and son-in-law were still on the fence about one another (mostly coming from Schwarzenegger's side), but that all changed after the two had a workout session together. Reportedly Schwarzenegger changed his mind about Pratt after seeing him do an incline press. Perhaps all one needs to win a potential father-in-law over is just a good gym sesh together. Sounds simple enough.
Schwarzenegger and Trump
It comes as no surprise that there is a bit of competition and loathing between two prominent figures like Schwarzenegger and Trump. Both men have dipped their toes in the business world, and both of them are pretty famous and well-known around the world, and besides that, they have also both been heavily involved in politics.
It seems that Trump got a bit jealous of Arnie when he replaced him in "The Apprentice" following his presidential term. Allegedly Trump hammered on about how the ratings had dropped after Schwarzenegger joined the show. Arnold reportedly told Men's Health that he thinks that the feud with Trump is all due to the fact that Trump is actually plainly in love with him.
Arnie Used to Play Soccer
Is there something that Arnold didn't even do? Although Arnie was athletic from a very young age, he wasn't instantly drawn to bodybuilding and weightlifting. Like most people growing up, Arnold started out with team sports. To try and impress his overbearing father, Schwarzenegger started out with soccer.
According to the star, he was pretty skinny but still in good shape. During one soccer training session at the age of 14 or 15, Arnold's soccer coach took the whole team to the gym to do some weightlifting. It was this moment that changed it all for Arnold, and from then on, he was hooked. He stopped playing soccer altogether and began pursuing his career as a professional bodybuilder.
Competitive Bodybuilding Started at 17
As we all know, Schwarzenegger has been heavily involved with weightlifting from a rather young age. From the age of 15, he became obsessed with training and carving a body for himself that would let everyone know that he was a bodybuilder. He was gripped by working out and made sure to have at least one training session a day.
Even the local gym that closed over weekends did not stop him from working his body out daily. Allegedly, the star would break into the gym just so he could get his Saturday and Sunday training sessions in. Now that's commitment. At the young age of 17, he started entering the world of competitive bodybuilding, and the rest was history.
He Wasn't the First Choice for The Terminator
It seems tough to wrap your head around it now, but apparently, Schwarzenegger was not the first choice for the leading role in "The Terminator." The director of the film James Cameron initially wanted an average Joe to play the part. Someone average-looking is definitely not what Schwarzenegger's appearance bears.
You could spot him from a mile away. Originally Cameron had his eyes on Lance Henrikson for the role. Before meeting with Schwarzenegger, he already thought that his big figure would dwarf all the other actors and would, therefore, not be a great fit for the role. All that changed when the two met, and Cameron realized that Arnie would actually be the perfect killer robot.