Maria Shriver sought advice at a convent following her 2011 split from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The journalist spoke to Hoda Kotb on Monday about an interaction with the cloistered convent’s reverend mother that left her “sobbing.”
Shriver, 67, recalled on the “Making Space” podcast, “[She said], ‘You can’t come live here … but you do have permission to go out and become Maria.’”
The former first lady of California admitted that before the conversation, she had “never given myself permission to feel, to be vulnerable, to be weak, to be brought to my knees.”
Instead, she said, “the world did” that to her.
Shriver remembered thinking, “‘OK, God, let’s go’” as she left the convent. She said she subsequently gave herself “permission to start learning.”
Shriver’s separation from Schwarzenegger made headlines after the actor, now 75, admitted to cheating with their housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena more than a decade prior.
Schwarzenegger and Baena conceived a baby boy named Joseph, now 25, amid the affair, but the politician’s paternity flew under the radar until their son was a teenager.
After Schwarzenegger’s betrayal came to light, Shriver filed for divorce in July 2011 — but it was not finalized until December 2021.
In July of the following year, a jury ruled that the former “Dateline” correspondent was entitled to half of the money her ex had earned throughout their marriage.
Shriver and the “Terminator” star welcomed four kids of their own before their breakup: Katherine, 33, Christina, 31, Patrick, 29, and Christopher, 25.
Although Shriver kept quiet about her former spouse’s infidelity after asking for “respect and privacy,” Schwarzenegger addressed it in his “Total Recall” memoir in 2013.
Two years later, he told Howard Stern that the “situation” was “tough” on his kids.
“It has happened, and now we have to figure it out, right?” the former governor of California, who also admitted to having an affair with Brigitte Nielsen, said at the time.
As for the exes’ children, Katherine and Patrick both tweeted about the adultery in 2011.
“Small speed bump I’n [sic] life, luckily we own hummers, we will cruise right over it,” the “Midnight Sun” star wrote at the time. “All will be okay.”
His older sister added, “This is definitely not easy but I appreciate your love and support as i begin to heal and move forward in life. I will always love my family!”
Shriver explained in Monday’s podcast episode that she re-evaluated “every aspect of” her life after the scandal.
“[I asked myself], ‘What was my role? What could I do better? What had I done that put me in that place?’” she shared. “I did everything that was available that I could find to myself.”