After 20 years in the news business, Maria lost her job—and her identity—when Arnold was elected governor. "They felt, I think probably rightfully so, that it was a conflict or a perception of a conflict of interest," she says. "As a journalist, you're supposed to be objective and not be married to a governor. So they asked me to leave."
All of a sudden, Maria says she became known as the first lady, the Kennedy married to the governor or, simply, Arnold's wife. "I lost myself in the process, and I realized how much I had identified myself with Maria Shriver, newswoman," she says. "When that was gone, I had to really sit back and go, 'Well, actually, who am I today?' … That sent me off on a process of really, for the first time in my whole life, looking deep within myself and asking myself, 'Who did I want to be?'"
Without a job to report to every day, Maria was forced to slow down and re-evaluate her life. She says the frenetic pace she'd kept up her entire life was exhausting her and those around her.
Looking back, she says being let go from NBC News was a blessing in disguise. "Had I stayed at NBC and kept going in that kind of manic behavior that I had, I never would have stopped," she says. "I never would have been free."