Arnold Schwarzenegger married same-sex couples as the Republican governor of California, he said during a “60 Minutes” conversation with Lesley Stahl that will air Sunday night on CBS. He also admitted he cheated on Maria Shriver with Brigitte Nielsen and opened up about conversations with Karl Rove before his election, according to transcripts of the interview on 60Minutes.com.
“I always said that I have nothing against people doing what they want to do,” Schwarzenegger told Stahl. “If a couple wants to get married, they should get married. I personally always said that a marriage is between a man and woman, but I would never enforce my will on people. I always want people to make that decision. If they want to get married, let them get married.”
When pressed about referring to his former chief of staff Susan Kennedy in the past as a “cigar-smoking lesbian,” Schwarzenegger said he not only attended her wedding, but performed it in his office.
“I don’t have to be for gay marriage,” the former governor said. “I’m for that she gets the kind of wedding and the kind of ceremony that I had when I got married with Maria. That she happens to love a woman, and I am – a guy that loves a woman, that is two different things. It doesn’t make any difference. She should still have her ceremony.”
Schwarzenegger sat down with “60 Minutes” to promote his new memoir “Total Recall,” which is being published Monday. In the book, he admits that he had a “hot affair” with “Red Sonja” co-star Brigitte Nielsen after Shriver moved in with him. The Associated Press reported that Schwarzenegger said the fling only made him realize how badly he wanted to be with Shriver. Nielsen claimed that at the time of their affair she had no knowledge Arnold was in a relationship.
Sunday’s “60 Minutes” discussion with Lesley Stahl will be the former “Terminator” actor’s first interview since the revelation that he fathered a child with his family’s housekeeper, Mildred Baena. Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced their divorce earlier this year, when Shriver found out that Baena had been raising Schwarzenegger’s son for 14 years.
Schwarzenegger told Stalh how much difficulty his family has had since the news came out.
“It was terrible,” he said in the interview, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I inflicted tremendous pain on Maria and unbelievable pain on the kids.”
He also called the liaison Baena “the stupidest thing I’ve done in this whole relationship.”
Schwarzenegger also touched his life in politics during the Sunday night interview, revealing some details about his meeting with Republican strategist Karl Rove, who doubted it would be possible for him to even run for governor because he didn’t think the state would recall unpopular Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
“Karl Rove, I always admired because I mean he is the guy that was really the brain behind Bush's election and then re-election,” Schwarzenegger said. “So when we had this after-school program summit in Washington, which we did together with the White House -- I felt like since I'm going already to the White House and have a meeting, I should also meet Karl Rove and chat a little bit to him about the idea that there might be a recall coming up in California, what do you think about that idea? And he was dismissive about it. He said California, first, was crazy. People are crazy. They don't know what they want.”
Schwarzenegger also said he had never considered leaving the Republican Party, although he said he had not yet decided whether to vote for President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in the presidential election.