Meet Joseph Baena, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 22-Year-Old Guatemalan Son

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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Joseph Baena made headlines in 2011 after the discovery that the-then teenager was the love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his former Guatemalan housekeeper, but now the 22-year-old is entering the limelight on his own, largely because of a hereditary skill and affinity: body-building.

With more than 130,000 followers on Instagram, Baena has gone viral for his frequent workout posts and photos of his ripped arms and legs. The Guatemalan-Austrian-American gym rat isn’t just taking after his Terminator father’s footsteps, he also hits the rec center with him, sometimes sharing images of the pair building muscle mass at the Gold’s Gym in Los Angeles that they frequent together.

Back in November, Beana was nominated for the social media #classicchallange, where people mimic Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding poses. He nailed his dad’s iconic look from the 1975 Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest — where he won for the sixth time in a row — receiving comments like “Arnold 2.0 no doubt” and “Starting to look like your father.”

And they’re not just hyping the muscle man up. According to Men’s Health, Beana has caught the attention of Martins Licis, the World’s Strongest Man 2019, who sent him an invitation via Instagram to lift weights together. Even more, Page Six reported that Schwarzenegger also wants to bring his youngest son into The Arnold Classic Worldwide, the actor-bodybuilder-politician’s international sports festival that includes competitions for bodybuilding, combat and more.

In addition to his athleticism, Baena is also an aspiring actor and has a degree in business from Pepperdine University, which Schwarzenegger financially supported.

While the father and son have a charming relationship, with Schwarzenegger regularly sharing photos of Baena and bragging about his accomplishments, the connection among the young Latino and his half-siblings aren’t as endearing.

The 71-year-old entertainer has four kids with wife Maria Shriver, an NBC News correspondent and the niece of the late President John F. Kennedy. The pair married in 1986 and separated in 2011, after Shriver learned that Schwarzenegger was the father of their then-maid Mildred Baena’s son. The Guatemalan housekeeper had claimed Rogelio Baena, her now ex-husband, was Baena’s father for 15 years, but Shriver grew wary when the teen began sharing a stunning resemblance to Schwarzenegger. She confronted Mildred about her suspicions, and the Guatemalan mom of six allegedly broke down and confessed. 

The news tore the family apart. Shriver and Schwarzenegger, who are still legally married, separated and Baena hasn’t had a close relationship with his brothers and sisters.

“It’s a very tough situation for him. It’s a very tough situation for my kids. Very tough situation for my family. It was tough for everybody,” Schwarzenegger told Howard Stern in 2015. “But it has happened and now we have to figure it out, right?”

While Baena’s siblings don’t follow him on social media and he wasn’t invited to his half-sister Katherine and actor Chris Pratt’s wedding in 2019, a source told Page Six that “everyone is feeling their way out of a nightmare” and the siblings “are trying to navigate a private relationship before it’s a public one.”

During an interview in November with HollywoodLife, Baena told the celebrity news site that he couldn’t talk about his brothers and sisters but noted that his relationship with his father, while complicated and relatively new, is “great.” 

“It’s great. I love my dad,” he said. “We hang out all the time. He is a great father. That’s really all I have to say about him. We train together, we eat together. We do many things together.”

Baena also introduced his lookalike and former governor of California to his girlfriend, model Nicky Dodaj, and said that Schwarzenegger is a wisecracker who also has sound advice, including telling him to give everything he attempts all that he has.

“I have nothing bad to say about my father,” he continued. “I love him. He is a jokester.”

Despite the loving relationship between Schwarzenegger and Baena, it’s clear that Beana is making a name for himself outside of the former Mr. Universe, becoming an exciting athlete on the rise and a social media heartthrob with a growing fanbase.