Arnie film comeback on hold amid love child scandal

Arnold Schwarzenegger put his movie comeback plans on hold Thursday to handle a crisis sparked by his admission he fathered a secret love child, torpedoing his 25-year marriage.

The former California governor told his agents that work on new projects including "The Terminator" franchise would stop "until further notice" as he grapples with a media storm four months after leaving political office.

"At the request of Arnold Schwarzenegger we asked Creative Artists Agency to inform all his motion picture projects currently underway or being negotiated to stop planning until further notice," said Arnie's lawyer Patrick Knapp.

"Governor Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines. This includes 'Cry Macho,' 'The Terminator' franchise and other projects under consideration."

In another sign of fallout from his confession - and amid speculation of more skeletons to come - an animated project dubbed the "Governator," Arnie's nickname as California governor, was also reportedly shelved.

"In light of recent events, A Squared Entertainment, POW, Stan Lee Comics, and Archie Comics, have chosen to not go forward with the Governator project," a spokesman told the TMZ website.

There was no immediate confirmation from the project's backers themselves.

Schwarzenegger, 63, announced his separation from wife Maria Shriver last week, and on Tuesday revealed that the split occured after he told her about a love child he fathered over a decade ago, and kept secret from her.

Shriver, a daughter of the Kennedy political dynasty, has hired a top divorce lawyer, Laura Wasser, according to People magazine, while quoting a source as saying: "Maria hasn't decided yet if she wants to end her marriage."

Media reports have identified the other woman as Mildred Patricia Baena, who was a housekeeper for the power couple for two decades until Schwarzenegger stood down as governor in January.

Pictures of Baena and her son with Schwarzenegger - who bears a striking resemblance to Arnie - have circulated online since the actor admitted to the love child, and apologized to his family.

She was tracked down to her home in Bakersfield, a city 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Los Angeles, where a media camp quickly developed outside her apparently empty single-story house.

Schwarzenegger has also been lying low since his admission.

In announcing their separation last week, Schwarzenegger and Shriver said they were taking time to "work on the future."

A few days later Schwarzenegger said they still loved each other, and were taking "one day at a time," hinting at possible reunion - but Shriver's reaction to the love child news suggested she wasn't focused on reconciliation.

"This is a painful and heartbreaking time. 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," said the 55-year-old.

It is not the first time the marriage has been strained by Schwarzenegger's relations with other women: it came under the spotlight notably during the 2003 election which he won, amid reports of his history of groping women.

The couple, who met in 1977 and married in 1986, have four children, aged between 14 and 21.

Since January Schwarzenegger had started to return to show business, unveiling the "Governator" comic book and animated TV show plans and reportedly conducting a bidding war for a new film in the "Terminator" series.

It is unclear how long those plans will be put on hold.

"We will resume discussions when Governor Schwarzenegger decides," said his entertainment lawyer Knapp Thursday.

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