Separation and divorce for Georgia couples, like anywhere else in the U.S., can be an emotionally painful process, especially when a marriage has been long-term. For an ex-governor and first lady, the process is also public.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, movie actor and former governor, and his wife Maria Shriver, a journalist and author, have legally gone their separate ways. The couple is moving into separation after a 25-year marriage. They have of four children. Although the official statement made did not indicate the couple was planning to divorce, it did say Schwarzenegger and Shriver were living apart and planned to share child custody.

Schwarzenegger is famous for his movie roles of the 1980s and, more recently, his stint as a two-term Republican governor. Shriver, the niece of President John F. Kennedy, is a staunch Democrat. Despite the political differences, the couple had a decades-long marriage.

Following published accusations early in the relationship that the movie star was unfaithful, Shriver publicly defended her husband and her relationship on national television. When Schwarzenegger decided to run for governor in 2003, Shriver left her position as a national news correspondent to help guide her husband’s campaign.

Schwarzenegger began his career as a famous body builder, later parlaying his physical strength into big-screen action hero roles like The Terminator. After his marriage to Shriver in 1986, the Austria-native turned his attention to a successful political career.

The couple announced recently that their separation would allow them the chance to reevaluate their relationship. Schwarzenegger and Shriver are not expected to make the details of that separation or any impending divorce public knowledge. Both have asked that their new lives apart be kept private.

Source: ABC News, “Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver Separate: Ex-California Governor and Wife to Evaluate Relationship,” Leezel Tanglao, 10 May 2011