Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is admitting that he fathered a child with a longtime member of his household staff 10 years ago.

His wife, Maria Shriver apparently learned of the child earlier this year, prompting her to move out of the couple's home.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the staff member worked for the family for 20 years and retired in January.

Schwarzenegger, 63, and Shriver, 55, jointly announced last week that they were splitting up after 25 years of marriage. They have four children who range in age from 13 to 21.

The child was born before Schwarzenegger began his seven-year stint in public office.

In a statement first sent to the Los Angeles Times and then to other news outlets, Schwarzenegger acknowledged the hurt he'd caused.

"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago. I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry.

"I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time," the statement concluded. "While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not."

Though the former staffer has not been named, the L.A. Times interviewed her Monday before Schwarzenegger issued his statement. She told the paper her former husband was the father of the child. She said she received a severance payment and "left on good terms" with the family.

When the Times informed the woman of the governor's statement, she declined to comment further.

According to a Times source, Schwarzenegger took financial responsibility for the child from the start and continues to provide child support.

When the pair separated, Schwarzenegger, 63, suggested the couple was working toward reconciliation. In a joint statement issued on May 9, the couple said they mutually came to the decision to separate.

"This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us. After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together," Shriver and Schwarzenegger said in the statement.

But friends of Shriver told the L.A. Times the former governor's wife had been unhappy for years, but decided not to make a move until after her parents died and Schwarzenegger finished his term as governor.

Her father, Sargent Shriver, died Jan. 18, nearly a year and a half after the death of her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Shriver stood by her husband during his 2003 gubernatorial campaign after the Los Angeles Times reported accusations that he had a history of groping women. Schwarzenegger later said he "behaved badly sometimes."

Since Schwarzenegger left office in January, the two have effectively been leading separate lives.

Shriver, a longtime television journalist who gave up her job at NBC when Schwarzenegger took office, has guest-edited an issue of Oprah Winfrey's magazine and promoted causes such as Alzheimer's research.

With reports from the Associated Press