Arnold Schwarzenegger was in the midst of making a big-screen comeback and was set to reprise some of his most famous action hero roles. But now that he's split from his wife, Maria Shriver, and admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock who he kept secret for more than a decade, he's putting that comeback on hold.
Just last month, Schwarzenegger was in Cannes promoting his new animated TV show: "The Governator." Schwarzenegger was also set to star in three big-budget films, including two new "Terminator" installments.
But now, CBS News National Correspondent Ben Tracy reports, that's all on hold.
In a statement Thursday, Schwarzenegger's entertainment lawyer, Patrick Knapp said, "Governor Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines. We will resume discussions when Governor Schwarzenegger decides."
On "The Early Show" Friday, Tracy noted those personal matters are now very public. This week, Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child 13 years ago with his long-time housekeeper and keeping it secret. Shriver, his wife of 25 years, left him and hired a high-powered divorce lawyer.
Mike Fleeman, West Coast editor of People magazine, told CBS News, "A week ago, I would have said it was a near certainty that he was going to be 'The Terminator' again. But now, his action hero career is in serious jeopardy."
Yet others say Schwarzenegger, whose movies have grossed $1.6 billion in the U.S. alone, is too big a draw to stay away for long.
Ted Johnson, deputy editor of Variety magazine, said, "I don't doubt that Schwarzenegger will try a comeback. This is a very determined figure."
Hollywood publicist Michael Levine seemed to agree with that stance on "The Early Show," telling co-anchor Chris Wragge, "History has not been kind to people who have written off Arnold Schwarzenegger in the past. I think his political career is largely over. But I wouldn't write him off."
Levine said Schwarzenegger's move to put his entertainment career on hold is a step in the right direction.
"If I were advising him I would have given exactly the same advice," he said. "It reminds me a little bit of what Tiger Woods did, of course, when he stopped playing golf. I think it creates a context in which it is perceived as very serious by the governor. And it shapes a new story that he is really serious about getting this part of his life behind him."
He continued, "He did exactly the right thing by pulling out of his current movie projects. I think it's very important to create a feeling that this is not just run-of-the-mill problem but, in fact, he takes it exceedingly seriously. And I think that was a very good first step. This is going to be a long walk up a steep hill."
Levine said it's likely many people were involved in making the decision for the star to take a break from his entertainment projects.
"I've represented 58 Academy Award winners and I can tell you that, when you're at that level of success, nobody makes decisions alone," Levine said. "You have a great deal of help."
In terms of audience for his future projects, Levine said Schwarzenegger's bottom line may be affected by the scandal.
"The last time I went to a movie theater there were a whole bunch of people sitting in there, and about half of them were women. And I'm not sure this is a big crowd-pleaser with that audience. You know, when I think back to Woody Allen's episode of 1992, I'm sure that, though he, Woody Allen, has a very successful career, I'm sure he's lost some part of his audience base over time."
Levine was referring to the episode in which Woody Allen divorced Mia Farrow and married her adopted daughter (his stepdaughter), Soon-Yi Previn. The affair was revealed when Farrow discovered nude photos of her daughter in Allen's apartment.
This scandal, Levine said, is unique in comparison to other recent headline-making stories, such as Mel Gibson's relationship fireworks.
"It's almost Shakespearean in the depth of the tragedy, politics and movie stars. All kinds of dynamics to it. So, you know, it's kind of John Edwards meets Hollywood. There's so many aspects to it. That it makes prophesy dubious business."
So when will Schwarzenegger come back in the public eye and be seen on the big screen again?
Levine said, "Well, that depends whether or not there's more, I mean, additional stories that come out."