Arnold Schwarzenegger says his wife Maria Shriver was criticised by her mother for trying to persuade him against running for California governor in 2003 – a confrontation that ultimately opened the door to his successful candidacy.
Eunice Shriver told her daughter that her husband would be “angry for the rest of his life” if she stopped his ambitions, Schwarzenegger writes in his new autobiography 'Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story'.
The 'Terminator' and 'Total Recall' star said in the book that he had decided against running in a recall election to remove governor Gray Davis after his wife implored him not to for the sake of their family. Shriver announced his decision to their four children.
But he said that when Shriver told her mother about her efforts to thwart his political ambitions, Eunice told her daughter that women in their family “always support the men when they want to do something”.
Schwarzenegger said he did not know about the conversation at the time, but learned of it later.
Maria Shriver then softened her stance, paving the way for Schwarzenegger to announce his candidacy on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno, where he says he felt most comfortable.
The announcement came after a week of wavering. Schwarzenegger says before he headed for the TV studio his wife handed him two pieces of paper with talking points she had written: one in case he decided to run, another in case he decided not to.
'Total Recall' will officially be published next week. The Associated Press purchased an early copy.
The book is part of the former governor’s attempt to rebrand himself after leaving office with a mixed record and subsequent embarrassing revelations about a fling he had with the family’s housekeeper that produced a boy, Joseph, who is now about 14.
Schwarzenegger said he avoided telling his wife about the child for years, even when she asked him, partly because of his long-time penchant for secrecy and his fear that the news would become public and undermine his political career.
The former Republican governor also writes about a 2003 White House meeting with Karl Rove in which the top Republican strategist told him the recall election would not happen and instead introduced the actor to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice as his pick to run for California governor in 2006.
Schwarzenegger felt snubbed.
He asks: “How could Rove have been so wrong?”
Mr Rove’s office did not immediately respond to an emailed request seeking a response to Schwarzenegger’s account.
Ms Rice’s chief of staff at Stanford University, Georgia Godfrey, said Ms Rice could not recall “any conversation on this subject”.
“She has stated many times in the past that she has no desire to run for public office and those sentiments have still not changed,” Ms Godfrey said.