A reader e-mailed this morning claiming this was definitive proof that he’s a RINO, because if he was a conservative in good standing, the media would have sniffed out the story and destroyed him with it ages ago.

Can you feel awful for his wife and kids while still grimly enjoying zingers like InstaGlenn’s? I’m now able to confirm that the answer is yes.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after she learned he had fathered a child more than a decade ago — before his first run for office — with a longtime member of their household staff.

Shriver moved out of the family’s Brentwood mansion earlier this year, after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the paternity. The staff member worked for the family for 20 years, retiring in January.

“After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago,” Schwarzenegger said Monday night in a statement issued to The Times in response to questions. “I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry…

[The staff member] said she voluntarily left her position with the couple earlier this year after reaching a longstanding goal of working for them for two decades. “I wanted to achieve my 20 years, then I asked to retire,” she said, adding she received a severance payment and “left on good terms with them.”…

Schwarzenegger took financial responsibility for the child from the start and continued to provide support, according to a source who declined to be identified because of the former governor’s request for privacy.

She told the Times initially that her former husband was the child’s father; when they called her back and read her Arnold’s statement, she … declined to comment further. At first it seemed unlikely to me that Schwarzenegger’s wife could be kept in the dark for more than 10 years, especially when he was paying child support under the table, but the Daily Beast says that’s easily explained: He and Maria Shriver had apparently always kept their money separate. Oh, and another charming detail:

[A] source close to Shriver tells The Daily Beast exclusively that when Schwarzenegger came clean, he still didn’t exactly do the right thing. “She asked him to leave the house and he refused,” this person says.

Which is why Schwarzenegger stayed in their home and she moved into a hotel.

So to recap: This guy already had a love child that his wife didn’t know about before he decided to run for governor. Knowing full well that running for office would place him and his family under an even stronger media microscope than he faced as a movie star, he went ahead and ran anyway, risking an earth-shaking revelation of his secret while in office. Meanwhile, he actually kept the child’s mother on staff in his house for 10 more years, interacting with her daily right under the nose of poor Maria Shriver, and refusing to tell his family about the child until his term in office was safely over. And then, to top it off, when he finally told Maria the truth, he basically forced her to kick herself out of the house by refusing to leave. Does that sum it up? Darn that natural-born citizen clause in the Constitution. To think how close we came to a John Edwards presidential campaign meltdown of our very own.

Here’s the “View” crew stomping on him for a solid three minutes. A lingering question: Was the staffer’s former husband in the dark too?