Joseph Baena is competing on season 31 on “Dancing With the Stars.” He is the son of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mildred Patricia Baena.
“So excited to be on Season 31 of @dancingwiththestars and event more excited to be partnered with the current champion, @daniellakaragach !!!” Joseph, 24, captioned an Instagram post on September 8, 2022, after being officially announced as part of the cast.
Joseph was born in October 1997 but no one knew that Schwarzenegger was his biological father until several years later. According to People magazine, the “Terminator” actor kept his son a secret from his family. The information came out during a therapy session between Schwarzenegger and his then-wife Maria Shriver. The actor admitted to having an affair with Mildred, who served as the then-couple’s housekeeper.
Joseph was in eighth grade when the news broke.
“I remember the day very vividly,” he told Men’s Health in February 2022. “I was in the eighth grade. Fifth or sixth period. And I get called out of class to leave. And my mom’s there, and she’s like, ‘We gotta go— everyone is finding out about you and who your father is,'” he recalled.
“She was really the only person I had, and I was really the only person that she had,” Joseph said in . “No one knew, and everyone wanted the details. We had each other’s backs.”
After the media storm surrounding Joseph and his mother died down, they both went back to living their normal lives. Of course, as Joseph heads to the ballroom, he’ll have the full support of both of his parents, and his mom, whom he’s very close to, will more than likely be in the ballroom to watch her son live.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mildred Worked for the Schwarzenegger Household for a Decade
Mildred worked for Schwarzenegger and Shriver for about 10 years. She was previously married to a man named Rogelio Baena, but the two divorced in 2008. These days, she stays completely out of the spotlight. She is a mom of two kids, Joseph and a daughter named Jackie Rozo.
Joseph shares quite a few pictures of him and his mom on social media as the two have a very close relationship.
“With a packed schedule, it’s always such a special and meaningful time taking my mom out for a night on the town! Had a blast surprising her with tickets to one of our favorite bands, The Gypsy Kings,” Joseph captioned a picture with his mom on August 20, 2022.
On his mom’s birthday in March 2022, Joseph penned a sweet tribute to her on Instagram.
“Happy birthday to the most beautiful and important woman in my life! Mom, you in inspire, motivate and push me every day to be successful and chase my dreams. Love you always and forever,” he wrote.
Joseph Chose to Keep His Mother’s Last Name
Despite Joseph being able to have a relationship with his dad, he chose not to take Schwarzenegger’s last name.
“When I go to auditions, they don’t know who I am, because we don’t have the same last name. I know it’s all me,” he told Men’s Health. “My dad is old-school; he doesn’t believe in handouts. He believes hard work pays off, and so do I,” he added.
Joseph has shared several photos of him and his father on Instagram and the two appear to have built a solid relationship over the past several years.
READ NEXT: DWTS Cast Member Enters Wellness Facility