Maria Shriver Speaks Out: 'This Is a Painful and Heartbreaking Time'

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Breaking her silence on Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering a child with an employee, she says, "I ask for compassion."

Maria Shriver broke her silence Tuesday on her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission that he fathered a child with a longtime household employee 10 years ago.

"This is a painful and heartbreaking time," said Shriver. "As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal. I will have no further comment."

They have four children together: Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher, who range in age from 14 to 21.

Schwarzenegger released a statement Monday: "After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family."

"There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry," continued the former governor of California.

"I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time. While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not," he added.

Schwarzenegger and Shriver recently announced they were separating after 25 years of marriage, and that Shriver had moved out of their Brentwood home.

"This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us," the couple told the Los Angeles Times in a joint statement. "After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship."

Shriver had hinted at trouble on her Web site just a few months prior, saying she was going through a time of transition and asking for advice.

Last Friday, she told fans on Twitter that she was "humbled" by their support. She has not yet spoken out on Twitter after the news of her husband’s out-of-wedlock child broke.

Since leaving office, Schwarzenegger has signed on to star in the drama Cry Macho. His reps at CAA also are shopping a package for a new Terminator sequel. In addition, he has partnered with Stan Lee on a Governator comic and animated series, with plans for a movie as well.

In addition to running her women's empowerment Web site, she recently served as a guest editor on an issue of Oprah Winfrey's magazine, O.