Former California Gov. and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out Tuesday night for the first time since announcing his split with wife Maria Shriver.
Schwarzenegger, 63, acknowledged his marital troubles as he accepted an award at the Skirball Cultural Center in honor of the 63rd Israeli Independence Day celebration in Los Angeles, People magazine reported.
"I want to take a moment and thank our many friends and family for the tremendous amount of support and love that you have given us in the last 24 hours," he said before accepting the award for enhancing the economic ties between California and Israel.
"I just spoke to Maria an hour ago before I came here. We both were saying the same thing -- we're extremely blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people, by so many wonderful friends."
The actor and his wife announced in a joint statement Monday they were separating after 25 years of marriage.
"We both love each other very much," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday.
"We're very fortunate to have four extraordinary children. And we're taking it one day at a time. The bottom line is we want to thank all the people for their great, great support."
While the news of the separation came as a shock for many, the New York Post reported Shriver had been hinting about a split long before the Hollywood power couple confirmed the end of their relationship.
In a video posted earlier this year, Shriver said, "Like a lot of you, I'm in transition" and she later asked, "After you transitioned, what would you have wished you would have known?"
On Mother's Day, Shriver posted another video, talking about personal independence.
"It got me thinking a lot of Lady Gaga and her mom and how her mom encouraged her, or must have encouraged her, to just be herself."
Sources told the newspaper that Shriver and Schwarzenegger had been living "separate lives" for years, but postponed announcing the split because her father Sargent Shriver died in January and her mother Eunice Shriver died in August 2009.
"It has been a difficult few years," the source added.
Another source close to the couple told People the couple has struggled following the deaths of her parents, and her uncle Ted Kennedy over the past two years and their difficult transition back to private life when Schwarzenegger finished his term as governor in January and returned to action movies at the age of 63.
The source added they believed Schwarzenegger's role as governor took a toll on their relationship as Shriver put her TV news career on hold to support her husband.
"Everything she knows has been moving out from under her," the source told the entertainment website.
"She has been keeping this very quiet. I don't know what she is going to do next; everything at the moment is on hold."
The source also slammed some media reports that Schwarzenegger had cheated on his wife, saying they were both too busy to have an affair.
"I don't think there was anything calculated about the timing," the source said.
"For seven years, they both took their jobs very seriously -- he as governor and she as First Lady --and they were very, very busy."
Shriver, 55, moved out of the couple's mansion in Brentwood, Calif., a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The couple met when NBC journalist and former newsreader Tom Brokaw introduced Shriver to Schwarzenegger -- then an Austrian bodybuilder -- at a charity tennis tournament in 1977.
The pair married in 1986, with their 25th wedding anniversary passing without fanfare on April 26 this year.
They have four children -- Katherine, 21, Christina, 19, Patrick, 17, and 13-year-old Christopher.
Patrick Schwarzenegger took to Twitter early Tuesday to say that he was "OK" with the news of his parents' split because his family "owns Hummers."
"Appreciate all your messages. Small speed bump I'n life, luckily we own hummers, we will cruise right over it. All will be okay. #peace," he said cheekily in reference to the prestigious brand of trucks and SUVs.
His father shot to fame as an action movie star, with lead roles in such films as "Conan the Barbarian," "The Terminator," "Commando" and "Predator," before his role as a politician. Shriver is a journalist and author of six best-selling books.
Shriver and Schwarzenegger proved to be an odd couple in their public lives, finding themselves at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Republican Schwarzenegger served two terms as governor of California -- during which time he was referred to as "The Governator." His second term ended in January this year.
Shriver, meanwhile, belongs to the Kennedy family, a Democratic dynasty in US politics. Shriver's mother was the sister of former US President John F. Kennedy.
She publicly backed Democrat Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign, while Schwarzenegger supported his Republican opponent John McCain.