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LA Times Tries to Build on Schwarzenegger-Shriver Scoop

It’s a big deal in LA media circles that the LA Times was the outlet to break the news of Maria Shriver ‘s separation from husband Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than a gossipy stand-by like TMZ, Radar Online, or perhaps US Weekly.

Today, the reporter responsible for the Monday evening website dispatch, Mark Z. Barabak, teams with Robin Abcarian for a follow-up feature look at what might have gone wrong. Underscoring the Rolodex power of Schwarzenegger and Shriver, neither one of the sources tapped by these reporters for the “two distinctly different narratives emerging” about the 25-year marriage was willing to be named:

“Everyone who’s shocked by this is reacting to the fairy-tale picture that was promoted,” said a friend who has been a frequent visitor to the couple’s Brentwood mansion and did not want to be identified as breaching the couple’s confidence. The death in August 2009 of Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, said this friend, marked a turning point. Her father, Sargent Shriver, the Peace Corps founder, died in January.

“There was such a void,” said the friend, “and when she looked around, she realized her husband could never even think of filling it.”

If true, this sounds like only a small part of the story. As FishbowLA once reported, Shriver insisted in 2007 that she was so turned off by the way Anna Nicole Smith‘s final months and death were covered in the media that it made her never want to return to the TV news business. Who knows whether that outlook will hold, especially if her split with Arnold becomes permanent.

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