Maria Shriver said on Tuesday that she was about to return to work in TV news earlier this year but changed her mind after seeing the widespread tabloid-style coverage of the death of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith.
The wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shriver has not hidden the fact that she was reluctant to give up her career at NBC News when he was first elected in 2003.
After giving up her job at the network in 2004 to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, Shriver said she had worked out a deal to return following the inauguration of her husband to a second term in January of this year.
“Actually I went back to them this year and I said, ‘OK, now this is ridiculous, I should be able to come back,”’ Shriver told an audience of workers at Internet firm Google. “You know I’ve never had a conflict before and I’ve always been in a quote, political family.”
Shriver’s mother is the sister of slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and her father, Sargent Shriver, was the Democratic candidate for U.S. vice president in 1972.
In a frank discussion on her life, motherhood and work, Shriver said she had a change of heart after serious news outlets provided sensational coverage about the February death of Smith.
“I kind of made up my mind I did not want to go back into the news division after watching the Anna Nicole Smith frenzy,” Shriver said. “I was just flabbergasted by that. How it was across the board, all encompassing ,and I just thought to myself, this is not where I want to work.
“I actually quit and I said, you know what, this ship has sailed, it’s not for me.”
Shriver was once weekend anchor for “NBC Nightly News” and worked for many years for the news magazine program “Dateline NBC.”
A mother of four, Shriver remains active with a number of volunteer organizations but said he looked forward to slowing down somewhat after living frenetically throughout her life.