Scores of reporters and photographers swarmed on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in the middle of California farm country today in search of a former domestic employee of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The revelation that Schwarzenegger has an out-of-wedlock child to the woman turned the normally quiet neighbourhood into the scene of a tabloid frenzy.
The woman was not at the Bakersfield home when the media showed up today, its satellite TV trucks filling her quiet suburban street and spilling onto another one.
The media descended after the woman’s name surfaced in several internet reports.
Adam Mendelsohn, a Schwarzenegger spokesman, declined to confirm or deny if the Bakersfield woman was indeed the mother of the child Schwarzenegger has acknowledged fathering.
Residents of the street of fashionable, relatively new homes sporting red-tile roofs and two- and three-car garages said they didn’t know if the woman’s son was fathered by Schwarzenegger.
But a next-door neighbour, Marilyn Steelman, told The Associated Press that after moving into the neighbourhood about a year ago, the family told her the woman worked for Schwarzenegger and was planning on retiring soon.
Steelman said the real estate agent who sold the family the house told her Schwarzenegger was actually the buyer.
“She said the house was sold and Arnold was buying it for one of his staff that was retiring,” Steelman recalled.
Real estate records at the county assessor’s office make no mention of Schwarzenegger’s name.
The Los Angeles Times, which first reported Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with a longtime family employee, has not named the woman but has said she retired in January after working for the former governor and his family for 20 years.
Schwarzenegger, who recently separated with his wife, Kennedy family heiress and former network journalist Maria Shriver, acknowledged on Monday that he fathered a child with a former employee more than a decade ago.
He and his aides have declined to release her name or any details beyond a statement in which he apologised to his wife and four children and asked for privacy for his family.
One person familiar with the situation said the former governor has been humbled and embarrassed by the ordeal.
“It’s been very, very hard for him,” said the individual, who requested anonymity out of respect for the family’s privacy. “He’s embarrassed. He’s not focused on what steps he needs to take for himself, but the steps he needs to take for his family.”
The incident returned to the public’s attention numerous allegations made over the years that Schwarzenegger was a notorious womaniser.
Shortly before he was elected governor in 2003 the Times reported allegations from more than a dozen women who said he had groped them or made unwanted advances. He apologised at the time for having behaved badly in his younger years, and went on to win the election in a landslide victory.
Since leaving the governor’s office earlier this year, Schwarzenegger has indicated some interest in being a spokesman for environmental issues, including green energy development, one of the issues he worked hardest for as governor.
He has also announced plans to play himself in an animated TV show called The Governator and has said he would also like to resume his career as an action star, perhaps making new sequels to his popular Terminator films.