In a far-reaching interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Arnold Schwarzenegger offered viewers a tour of his childhood home in Austria, which has since been re-christened "The Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum," complete with a life-sized statue of the former California governor flexing his muscles. That rather hubristic moment, and the interview itself, are part of a promotional blitz for the actor's new memoir, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. (Watch the video below.) So, what was Arnold like as a young man? How did he break into Hollywood? How did he begin having affairs? Here, six revelations from Schwarzenegger's 60 Minutes interview:
1. His family was unnerved by his bodybuilding obsession
Schwarzenegger's mother was so uncomfortable with her young son's fitness fanaticism that she consulted a doctor. "I don't know if there's something wrong with my son, because this whole wall is full of naked men," Arnold recalls his mother saying. "Doctor, can you help me? Because all of his friends, they have pictures of girls above the bed, and Arnold has no girls over the bed. No girls."
2. Hollywood originally frowned on his muscles
Schwarzenegger explains the initial reactions he got from Hollywood producers when he tried to put himself up for leading roles: "Dustin Hoffman — he's a little guy! Al Pacino — he's a little guy! Woody Allen. These are the sex symbols." Austrian bodybuilders, apparently, were not.
3. He had an affair with Brigitte Nielsen
Ex-wife Maria Shriver advised Arnold not to star in Red Sonja because the script was "trash." He decided to do it anyway, and had an affair with costar Brigitte Nielsen, to boot. "I did feel bad about it," he says, adding that he's "not perfect."
4. He told Maria about his love child during therapy
When Shriver confessed to her husband during couples therapy that she suspected that longtime housekeeper Mildred Baena's son Joseph had actually been fathered by Arnold, Schwarzenegger says he replied, "You're absolutely right, and I'm sorry." Before learning Joseph's true parentage, Shriver had celebrated the boy's birth, and Joseph often played with the Schwarzenegger children. Finding out "was very painful for her," Schwarzenegger says.
5. He believes Shriver still supports him
Though Shriver has not yet read his autobiography, Schwarzenegger says, perhaps too optimistically, " I think Maria is wishing me well with everything I do." Numerous reports suggest that Schwarzenegger is mistaken.
6. He hasn't really learned anything from his divorce
After confronting Schwarzenegger about his decision to keep secrets from his wife, his children, and the rest of the world, an incredulous Lesley Stahl finally just asks, "What is it with you?" "I don't know," replies Schwarzenegger. "That's the way I handle things, and it has always worked." Except, of course, for all the times it hasn't.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week