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Arnold Schwarzenegger: Success and secrets

(CBS News) In his first interview since it was revealed that he had a secret child with his housekeeper, Arnold Schwarzenegger tells Lesley Stahl about the affair that cost him his marriage. Arnold also shares a wealth of new information about his life, as detailed in his autobiography, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."

The following is a script from "Arnold" which aired on Sept. 30, 2012. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer.

(CBS News) It's rare enough when someone gets to the very top of his profession. It's almost unheard of when someone gets there in three different professions, but that's what Arnold Schwarzenegger did. He was number-one in bodybuilding, number-one in Hollywood, and then governor of the biggest state. And, now, he's at the center of a king-sized scandal -- having fathered a child with the family housekeeper -- which he kept secret from his wife, Maria Shriver and everyone else.

Tonight, he speaks about it for the first time in connection with his new autobiography "Total Recall" which, published by the CBS company Simon & Schuster, comes out tomorrow. He confesses his infidelity that cost him his marriage in the chapter he calls "The Secret."

Lesley Stahl: What does Maria think about you writing a memoir and bringing this up?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I think that Maria is, you know, wishing me well with everything that I do.

Lesley Stahl: Has she read it?

Schwarzenegger: No. At this point, she hasn't read anything.

Stahl: But she knows you're discussing--

Schwarzenegger: She knows that it's about my whole life and that I would not write a book and kind of leave out that part and make people feel like, "Well, wait a minute. Are we just getting a book about his success stories and not talk about his failures?" And that's not the book I wanted to write. I wanted to write a book about me. Here's my life.

So what's his life been like since the scandal? Well, he's not hiding. He's out there on the red carpet, promoting one of the five movies he's signed up to make.

[Schwarzenegger: I'm back! (Applause)]

He's trying to go back in time to the days when he was Hollywood's biggest action-hero, though in some of his new movies, his 65th birthday is taken into account.

[Man in "The Last Stand": How are you, Sheriff?

Schwarzenegger: Old.]

At his peak he was making $30 million a movie.

Stahl: Isn't that why you've gone back to the movies?

Schwarzenegger: No.

Stahl: To make money?

Schwarzenegger: No. I don't need money. I have enough money.

Stahl: Well, you-- didn't you lose a lot of money when you became governor?

Schwarzenegger: Even with my divorce and with everything, I don't need money. I have plenty of money, unlike other Hollywood celebrities or athletes that have not invested well. When you read my book, you will see what a fanatic I am about the-- to turn one dollar into two.

One thing Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't is self-effacing. Everything has to be the biggest. His money, his muscles, his movies and his machines.

Stahl: This is not your new car!

Schwarzenegger: Yeah, this is my new car.

Stahl: No!

It's called an Unimog by Mercedes.

Stahl: You gonna take me for a ride?

Life with Arnold can be fun. But as we now know with the scandal, it's been a double life.

Stahl: You know, I've spent time with you and you are so much fun and you have enormous charm. And I have to keep reminding myself about this chapter of your life. I do, I have to keep saying, "Wow, he did something that speaks to character." Do you have to remind yourself? Or is it always there?

Schwarzenegger: It's always there.

Until now - as he describes in "Total Recall" - Arnold Schwarzenegger's has been the ultimate immigrant success story.

His life began in Austria, which he visits a couple of times a year. He was born in the small farming village of Thal, in a house that is now the Arnold Schwarzenegger museum, typically over-the-top with a giant replica of Arnold in his favorite pose.

Schwarzenegger: This was always the pose that closed the deal.

Stahl: There's exhibitionism in you.

Schwarzenegger: You know, so you show off what you have at any given time. So that's what I had then, and that's what I showed off, and I tell you, I showed off plenty of it.

He was born in 1947, two years after the end of World War II. His house had no electricity, no plumbing, no running water.

Stahl: This is what, the kitchen?

Schwarzenegger: This is actually the room where everything took place. Literally everything.

Including sponge baths.

Schwarzenegger: We just pulled this out. And here, this would be filled up with water.

Water from a well a quarter-mile away. Everyone took turns, using the same basin of water. Arnold, the youngest, always went last.

Stahl: Same water?

Schwarzenegger: Same water. By the time I got to wash myself, the water was black.

His mother was a traditional "hausfrau." His father, Gustav, who became the local police chief, had joined the Nazi storm troopers during the war -- something Arnold says he didn't learn until much later in life.

Schwarzenegger: There was never one single sentence said in the house about the war period. So the promise of Hitler, that Hitler gave them, that we're going to create the Third Reich, and we're going to build this fantastic place for you, and we will, you know, basically rule the world. All of that was gone and what was left was losers.

He says his father was bitter and he always had a troubled relationship with him.

Stahl: He was pretty tough on you.

Schwarzenegger: Well, he was very tough. I mean, he--

Stahl: I mean, hit you.

Schwarzenegger: My father, you know, ran after me with a belt. And beat me with a belt. Everything. Everything you can think of. They got very creative.

He says his father's harshness drove him and motivated him to find something he could be good at. He began spending five hours a day lifting weights, and he converted his bedroom into a shrine to men with freakishly large muscles.

Schwarzenegger: My mother looked at that and she was just so depressed.

So she called in the family doctor.

Schwarzenegger: "I don't know if there's something wrong with my son because-- you know, look at this."

Stahl: 'Cause he likes naked men?

Schwarzenegger: "Whole wall is full of naked men. Doctor, can you help me? Because all of Arnold's friends, they have pictures of girls above their bed. And Arnold has no girls, as you can see. No girls. And look at this picture over there with the naked-- with his thing sticking out." And then, the doctor--

Stahl: She thought you were gay.

Schwarzenegger: I don't know if she thought that I was gay, or if she just thought I was-- there was something off. And let's catch it early.

By the age of 15, he had mapped out a master plan: go to America and become a big movie star and a rich businessman.

He'd get there by winning one body-building contest after the next.

[Newsreel: Europe's Mr. Muscles of 1966!]

That got him to Los Angeles in 1968 where he continued to work harder than anyone else. He was like a man possessed, doing whatever it took to win, including taking steroids.

Schwarzenegger: We tried it out, we experimented with it.

Stahl: Shots?

Schwarzenegger: Tablets, shots. Whatever was available then. This was in the era before the growth hormones and all this other stuff came in.

He also worked on the rest of his master plan: going to school at night and, early on, he invested what little savings he had in buying rundown properties in Santa Monica.

Schwarzenegger: And so I started investing in buildings up and down Main Street including this building. So very quickly I became a millionaire in my 20s already.

Being a millionaire didn't dampen his ambition, nor did his star turn in the documentary "Pumping Iron" which he thought would propel him to the next stage of his master plan: Hollywood. But talent agents told him Hercules couldn't be a leading man.

Schwarzenegger: They said, "Arnold, trust me. Today, it's Dustin Hoffman. He's a little guy. Al Pacino. He's a little guy. Woody Allen. Those are the sex symbols. Don't you understand it? Don't you get it?"

Stahl: They thought, "This guy who can't speak English or had such a thick accent."

Schwarzenegger: That's right and with a name like Schwarzen-Schnitzel - what are you going to do with that name up there on the billboard? I heard all that, but I heard, of course: "Yes."

Stahl: In your own little head?

Schwarzenegger: When they said "No," I heard, "Yes, you can do it, Arnold. You can do it."

He likes defying the odds, which he does with steely discipline and drive. He worked hard to become an actor, finding out in his acting lessons that the self-control he'd mastered as a bodybuilder was getting in his way.

Schwarzenegger: The thing that can really make you lose is if you get emotionally unbalanced, and if I put everything that's happening emotionally on deep freeze. So I became an expert in living in denial.

Stahl: Someone said about you that one key to your success was your resolute, non-introspection. And you also say in the book, I think, that if you have had a failure in life, you just erase it. You don't think about it, and just keep going.

Schwarzenegger: I don't dwell on it. Dwelling on it, like some people do, you know, years later, say, "Oh, yeah, I lost this, and I will never forget that. I'm still suffering." No, that's not me. I don't suffer of anything that I've lost.

Stahl: You're able to just keep going?

Schwarzenegger: Oh, yeah.

His first leading role was in "Conan the Barbarian," for which he was paid $250,000. He set out to double his pay with each new movie.

Two years later with "The Terminator," he tripled it, getting $750,000. Arnold's character uttered just 74 words -- though three of them are among the most memorable in all of Hollywood history.

[Terminator: I'll be back.]

With that, Arnold Schwarzenegger - funny name and all - became a big movie star.

His master plan always included a family. A year after Terminator he proposed to Maria Shriver. They'd been dating and living together for eight years. That same year, 1985, he costarred in a movie called "Red Sonja." When Maria read the script, Arnold says she told him, "Don't do it. It's trash."

Stahl: You write in the book that you had an affair with the actress in that movie. You cheated on Maria. And you were in your relationship. And you don't even write that you felt bad about it. You just write it.

Schwarzenegger: Actually, you know, I did feel bad about it. But, I mean, all of my various different things, they were mistakes. And this is, you know, my failure. My screw-ups.

Stahl: Was that the only affair?

Schwarzenegger: No. I had others. But I mean, ah, but you know, it's something that's obviously between Maria and me.

Stahl: She knew?

Schwarzenegger: Yeah.

Stahl: So it's a recurring issue with you.

Schwarzenegger: I'm not perfect.

How Arnold told his wife about the biggest mistake of all when we come back.

Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger had a big wedding in Hyannisport in 1986. The birth of their first of four children came just as Arnold's movie career hit the stratosphere. Christmas 1990 "TIME" magazine put him on the cover as Hollywood's top star.

Despite Arnold's double life, he says that from the beginning of their relationship, Maria was always his partner: advising him on everything from body-building poses to movie scripts, to strategies for his political campaigns.

Arnold's third act, politics, began in 2003 when he says he was getting bored making action movies. Once again he had to beat the odds to become the Republican governor in the blue state of California.

[Inauguration: Congratulations, Gov. Schwarzenegger!]

Married to a Kennedy Democrat, his commitment to Republican ideology has often been questioned. As governor, he championed legislation to combat global warming. He promoted stem cell research. He performed gay marriages. And--

Stahl: You had a health care initiative. And here's what you write in your book: "My plan improved on Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan by strengthening the individual mandate."

Schwarzenegger: That's right.

Stahl: This was Obamacare before Obamacare.

Schwarzenegger: Forget Obamacare. This is a principle that goes back hundreds of years. People need to be insured so when you have an accident out there, or when something catastrophic happens to you, that you're covered and there's not someone else has to pay for you. That is as simple as that.

He and Maria made their bipartisan marriage work for 25 years, despite Arnold's politics and his penchant for keeping secrets - as when he had to have open heart surgery in 1997.

Stahl: When you told your doctor you weren't going to tell your wife, he - I mean, he couldn't believe it.

Schwarzenegger: And he says, "Your wife is pregnant. What are you talking about you're not going to tell her." I said, "Now here's the plan." I said, "I'm gonna have the heart surgery. You do it quietly. No one knows about it. We'll do it at six in the morning. And then four days later I'm outta here and I go down to Mexico. And I'll tell Maria, I'll tell Maria, I'll say, "Look I'm down here. Little busy. And I'm on vacation." And when I come back I will be tanned. No one will know. He said, "Arnold, are you outta your mind?" He said, "You're gonna have a big scar here on the chest. What do you mean your wife is not gonna see the scar?"

Stahl: But people are listening to you tell this story. And it's bizarre.

Schwarzenegger: Very.

Stahl: What is it with you? I'm s-- I'm serious.

Schwarzenegger: I don't know. That's the way I handle things. And it always has worked. But, I mean it does not-- it's not the best thing for people around me because I sometimes-- some information I just keep to myself.

What's astonishing is the enormity of what he kept to himself or tried to. Beyond open heart surgery? Well, what about running for governor?

Stahl: Once again, you don't tell your wife.

Schwarzenegger: That's right.

He says he waited to tell Maria until only a few days before his scheduled announcement. And when he did--

Schwarzenegger: She started shaking. And she had tears in her eyes. I realize that I was stepping into something that was much deeper than just me running and her being a supportive wife.

He says politics had brought Maria - a Shriver and a Kennedy -- too many disappointments and tragedies.

Stahl: You had no idea that this was something she would not want to get back into?

Schwarzenegger: No. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that she would say, "Wow, that is amazing, welcome to the club. We finally convinced you to be a public servant, just like my entire family." None of that. So all of a sudden it came to a grinding halt and I had to now deal with the drama.

He says the race was off until his mother-in-law, Eunice Shriver, stepped in and told Maria, "If you stop him, he'll be angry for the rest of his life." And, so, Maria gave up her career as a TV news journalist, and jumped in with both feet.

[Maria Shriver, campaign speech: As a Democrat, I'm totally comfortable supporting him.]

She went out on the campaign trail and even defended him when he was accused of groping more than a dozen women from earlier in his career.

[Maria Shriver, campaign speech: You can listen to all the negativity and you can listen to people who have never met Arnold, or who met him for five seconds 30 years ago. Or you can listen to me.]

But by this time Arnold had already had the affair with the family housekeeper, Mildred Baena. And would later learn there was a son, Joseph. He says there were strains in his marriage while he was governor. The day after he left office in 2011, Maria wanted to talk.

Stahl: Maria wants to have a meeting with your marriage counselor. Tell us about that meeting.

Schwarzenegger: That particular visit that you're talking about was the visit where she then said, "Hey, I think that Joseph is your kid. And, am I off here on this or-- or not?" And I said, "You're absolutely correct." And I had to face up to that, which I have been kind of hiding but no one knew about. And that I knew about at that point maybe for five, six years or so.

Stahl: You just said, "You're absolutely right"?

Schwarzenegger: I said, "You're absolutely right, and I am sorry." It was very painful for her. She was very disappointed.

Stahl: Maria asked you, "Why didn't you tell me?" And what did you say?

Schwarzenegger: That I did not know how to.

Stahl: You didn't know how to tell her?

Schwarzenegger: How to tell her without worrying about, you know, that it would get out or whatever.

Stahl: And that she'd leave you while you were still governor.

Schwarzenegger: I don't think that was as much of an issue as just how do I keep this under wraps.

Stahl: Well, tell us how it happened. This is a woman who worked in your house--

Schwarzenegger: Exactly. And I found out about it kind of-- seven years in or eight years in--

Stahl: Well, wait, wait, wait. You-- wait. You have this relationship. Nine months later she's-- has a baby. Didn't you say, "Oh my God, it's my baby?"

Schwarzenegger: No.

Stahl: You - it never crossed your mind?

Schwarzenegger: No, because she was with a man and she-- so no.

Stahl: So you have this relationship. And she keeps working in the house?

Schwarzenegger: Uh-huh. (affirm)

Stahl: Do you keep having the relationship?

Schwarzenegger: No. But, look, I have caused enough pain to everyone as it is, if it is my wife or my kids. So I don't want to reawaken and kind of talk about it because it's not going to help them. And I just want to protect them as much as I can.

Stahl: Well, I understand that. But you wrote it.

Schwarzenegger: No, no, the things that I wrote about I don't mind telling you.

Joseph was born almost the same time as Maria and Arnold's fourth child. A smiling Maria celebrated Joseph's christening, clearly unaware.

Stahl: Was he around the house?

Schwarzenegger: I've seen him many times, yes.

Stahl: You said he played with your kids when he was little.

Schwarzenegger: That's right, yeah.

Stahl: So now he's seven or eight and you take a look? Well, tell us--

Schwarzenegger: No, no. I was-- It just appeared to me there was something off, that he started looking like me. So that's when I kind of got it, that-- it was never discussed. But, I mean, I put the things together here.

Stahl: Did you ask her? Ask-- her name is Mildred. Did you ask Mildred?

Schwarzenegger: No, I didn't. But I felt like that I should take on the responsibility of taking care of him and her. And so I started taking care of Joseph financially and--

Stahl: Well, all of a sudden she starts getting money? No, you must have said, "I know, I want to take care of him." You never--

Schwarzenegger: No.

Stahl: Well, how does money start showing up?

Schwarzenegger: I gave it to her and she knew what it was about.

Stahl: Did you think that if you gave her money, that she wouldn't talk, like hush money?

Schwarzenegger: I don't think that Mildred was at all into talking. Mildred is a good person. She was not out to get me or to take advantage.

Stahl: You write, "I wanted Mildred to continue working in our home because I thought I could control the situation better that way." And I read that to mean that if she was in the house, you could make sure she wouldn't tell anybody.

Schwarzenegger: No. It was more that-- it will be the wrong thing to do, to let them go. And, not make her feel like she's being punished when I find out that this is my child.

Stahl: But she remained your housekeeper?

Schwarzenegger: That's right.

Stahl: Even after you realized it?

Schwarzenegger: Uh-huh (affirm).

Stahl: Was that-- was that strange?

Schwarzenegger: Very difficult, strange, I mean, bizarre, I mean, everything else. Whatever you want to call it. But it's the best way I could handle it. And it was one of those things we talked about, you know, denial. I kind of put it away and just said to myself, "Okay, I'm gonna put this away. I'm gonna fulfill my responsibilities."

Stahl: How can you put it away? You have a child.

Schwarzenegger: I know, but that's just the way I operate.

Stahl: When you ran for governor, there were charges, all kinds of charges of groping and grabbing women. And Maria went up and down the state and vouched for you. Do you think back on that time and say, "Wow--

Schwarzenegger: Well, I think that--

Stahl: --I got her to do that for me and then I did this to her?"

Schwarzenegger: No, I -- well, two different things. The charges of the groping and, you know, that whole vicious attack had nothing to do with Mildred and had nothing to do with anything else.

Stahl: But she kept saying you were a good man. She vouched for your character.

Schwarzenegger: No, she vouched-- she says, "Look. I know Arnold. He doesn't do those things that you have read. And I am his wife, I know him better than that." You know, end of story.

Stahl: You write that Maria did ask you before the confrontation with the marriage counselor. "Is that your child?" Before then. So you lied to her.

Schwarzenegger: You can say that.

Stahl: She gave up her television career for you. I mean, wow. Was this just the most unbelievable act of betrayal to Maria?

Schwarzenegger: I think it was the stupidest thing I've done in the whole relationship. It was terrible. I inflicted tremendous pain on Maria and unbelievable pain on the kids.

Stahl: Your children.

Schwarzenegger: And-- yeah, exactly. Because I had to tell them each about the-- what has happened and how I have screwed up and--

Stahl: How did that go?

Schwarzenegger: --asked them for forgiveness. Well, it-- they cried. I mean, it - it's like - it takes, you know, it tears your heart out, I mean when you just, you know, have to tell them that.

Stahl: Are you now Joseph's father? In other words, do you see him? Do you do father things with him?

Schwarzenegger: I don't want to go and get into that. But the important thing you should know is, that everyone should know is, that I take care of him and I take care of her. And I fulfill my responsibility and I'm glad to do that.

Maria moved out of the house three months after that counseling session, and has filed for divorce.

Stahl: We've talked a lot about how you put your failures behind you by not looking back too much, by not being that introspective. Are you just moving forward again now? Just plow ahead?

Schwarzenegger: If you would have asked me 10 years ago, five years ago, two years ago, what is the most important thing in my life, I would tell you over and over, it's my marriage, it's my family. So the thing that really meant the most to me kinda fell apart because of my doing. That is something that I will always look back and say, "How could you have done that?"

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