California's First Lady Dishes About the Governator

ByABC News via logo
December 6, 2006, 9:35 AM

Dec. 6, 2006 — -- Maria Shriver grew up part of the Kennedy legacy.

As the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, she is now part of a new kind of American dream.

Shriver recently dished about her past in journalism and her first-lady status with "Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo.

Despite her pedigree as a Kennedy cousin, Shriver avoided the political morass, choosing the career of a reporter until her husband went from actor to activist and ran for office.

While Shriver misses the grind of news reporting, which she did for 25 years, she's embracing her latest assignment.

Her new beat is as spouse of the governor, highlighting women's accomplishments.

"One of the things when I first got into this role was to encourage women to stop saying that they're just a mother," she said. "Every woman has to fight, no matter what her profession is."

Her latest task: to let the world know that California has more to offer than Hollywood.

To that end, she's supporting the state's newest tourist attraction, the California Hall of Fame.

The Sacramento museum showcases Californians who have made an impact on the world -- President Reagan, tennis star Billie Jean King, and activist Cesar Chavez, among them.

"People are ignorant about California as a whole," Shriver said. "They like to think of it as just the capital of the entertainment world."

Like every wife, Shriver doesn't always agree with her husband.

Asked whether she had political conflicts with Schwarzenegger, Shriver laughed and said, "Doesn't everybody have some political conflict with their husband? Or their wife?"

Shriver said that even if she and Schwarzenegger disagreed, they were able to see both sides of an argument.

"I think the good thing about Arnold is he listens to my opinions, and I listen to his," she said.

Her independence is clear.

Maria is still Shriver, not Schwarzenegger, but her own sense of self has not made the role of first lady any easier.

When she married her husband, she never dreamed she'd end up next to one of the most well-known politicians in the country.