Maria Shriver surprised and impressed us when she showed up at friend Oprah Winfrey's farewell celebration just days after news of husband Arnold Schwarzenegger's infidelity scandal broke. But Shriver's friends say we should get used to it -- because Maria is not about to go into hiding over mistakes her husband made.
"She's done nothing wrong, but even so I'm surprised she has had enough courage to go out in public," a friend tells Popeater. "When this happens, most women want the world to swallow them up," the pal points out. "They want to stay home behind closed doors, but not Maria."
The friend says that Maria, 55, is broken-hearted by 63-year-old Schwarzenegger's affair (which produced an out-of-wedlock son) with longtime family housekeeper Mildred Baena. But Shriver is strong enough to to "pick up the pieces and move on with her life" -- like "so many Kennedy women in the past."
The comparison to other Kennedy women (Maria's mother was Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, sister to John, Robert and Ted Kennedy) is inevitable, but it doesn't really do Shriver justice. While the Kennedy family has produced many famous philanderers -- among them, Shriver's uncles JFK and Ted Kennedy -- these women mostly remained stalwart by their powerful husband's side while the affairs happened under their noses. Since then, we've seen so many political wives standing silently beside their cheating husbands at press conferences (Silda Spitzer, Elizabeth Edwards, Dina McGreevey) that it's practically a cliché.
And that is emphatically not what Maria Shriver has done. Maybe she'd had her suspicions in the past, but when she finally learned the truth about her husband, she walked right out the door -- and has refused to be shamed by his behavior. Since the story hit the papers, Shriver has been seen enjoying lunch with her children and strolling on the beach with friends. Even as other mistresses threaten to come out of the woodwork, Shriver is holding her ground and refusing to let her husband ruin her life any further. With her friends, family and high-powered attorney beside her, Shriver is coming out of this nasty affair with dignity and strength. That's why she's our Woman of the Week -- and why we suspect that her best days are still ahead of her.