In the Schwarzenegger case, my guess is that the "love child" designation could not be farther from the truth. Maria and Arnold's children clearly own that title as they were conceived in the tender love, hopes and dreams that brought Maria and Arnold to the altar on their wedding day. That, in my mind anyhow, is a love child.
The term was coined in 1805 for a child born out of wedlock. It was a huge step forward for the innocent child previously called "love brat" or "bastard." Even as I write those words my gut churns for the child bearing such a label.
However, "love child" softens the blow for the adulterers and my guess is it leaves the legitimate kids wondering where they fit in the scheme of things. Aren't they love children too?
Fact is, the majority of affairs have little to do with romantic love and more to do with raw sex, escapism, immaturity and entitlement. The press' constant use of "love child" conjures up the opposite and takes the sting off what Arnold did to his family. It presents an image of unrequited love and guys patting Arnie on the back secretly envying his Sperminator capabilities.
At this point, the legitimate Schwarzenegger kids are probably feeling as betrayed as their mom. Trust me, I know from watching my daughters ride the storm of a "love child" their Dad conceived with an employee who'd been a guest in our home many times. It destroyed our family.
The boy was a year old before I learned of his existence, thanks to the mistress deciding it was time. To this day, 15 years later, our youngest daughter still feels betrayed by the child's birth, especially since that's where her dad's time and money has gone. She feels her dad chose "love child" over her. And, as children often do, years later she still blames herself for our family's break up as evidenced by a letter she wrote her father asking "Dad, if I'd been born a boy dad would you have stayed with Mom?"
Arnold's son is innocent, yes. So are Maria and the children they have together. Baena? We don't know enough yet, but I'd like to know what she and Arnold were thinking having her continue to work in Maria's household. That is cruelty.
The big question is, how do you balance the extramarital child's needs with Maria and her kids needs? I still don't know how Elizabeth Edwards so unselfishly put aside her pain and, publicly at least, graciously accepted the child into her family.
Hollywood makes affairs seem glamorous, and we cry for the crushed "lovers" when the adulterer chooses family responsibility over pleasure. Rarely, is the pain and heartbreak of the spouse and children the subject of a movie. It's just too raw and ugly.