Here's the Truth About Arnold Schwarzenegger's Tragic Childhood

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a big shot, he had a pretty traumatic childhood. Read for the truth about Arnold's parents and late brother.

Pretty Honore - Author

Jun. 5 2023, Published 5:48 p.m. ET

Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mom, Aurelia Schwarzenegger smile
Source: Instagram/@schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mom, Aurelia Schwarzenegger

There are few actors who are as accomplished as Arnold Schwarzenegger. From fitness and entertainment to politics and philanthropy, the former California governor has dominated the center stage for decades, and there’s no end in sight.

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Although the Terminator star is a big shot now, his success didn’t come without its challenges. He previously opened up about having a strained relationship with his father — but what about the rest of his family?

Read on for deets on Arnold's parents. Plus, the tragic truth about his brother, Meinhard Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger attends an event marking the completion of a 4-acre solar rooftop constructed atop AltaSea's research and development facility at the Port of Los Angeles.
Source: Getty Images
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Arnold Schwartzenegger had a strained relationship with his father — here’s what we know about his parents.

Arnold was born to parents Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger in Thal, Austria.

Arnold maintained a close relationship with his mother until she died in 1998. His father, on the other hand, was a different story. A police chief by trade, Gustav served under Adolf Hitler during World War II.

According to Arnold, his father was a cruel man who frequently abused him and his brother, Meinhard. However, he did credit Gustav for his success.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Arnold said his childhood inspired him to be a better man than his father. “And the good thing is it made me hate my home so much that I left when I was 18 to start my own life that’s different,” Arnold added.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a thumbs up at the Bits & Pretzels 2022 at ICM Munich.
Source: Getty Images

“I don’t need to do the same things my dad did. I don’t need to be prejudiced. I don’t need to be an alcoholic. I don’t need to beat my kids. I can make a break,” the FUBAR actor said, adding:

“That’s why I started bodybuilding and came over here. I wanted to make clear that the other way loses all the time and creates misery; love and inclusion brings happiness.”

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While Arnold managed to rise above his circumstances, his brother became addicted to alcohol died tragically. So, what happened to Meinhard? Here’s what we know.

Meinhard Schwarzenegger, mother Aurelia Schwarzenegger and father Gustav Schwarzenegger slightly smile
Source: Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger's brother Meinhard Schwarzenegger, mother Aurelia Schwarzenegger, and father Gustav Schwarzenegger

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What happened to Arnold Schwartzenegger’s brother, Meinhard? He died in a drunk driving accident.

Meinhard was only 25 when he got into a drunk driving accident that cost him his life. Arnold made a rare mention of his late brother during his chat with THR, describing Meinhard as the “more fragile” sibling in the Schwarzenegger household.

“Well, look at my brother [Meinhard]. We were opposites,” Arnold told the outlet. “He got the same treatment and became an alcoholic and died drunk driving. What tore him down built me up.”

Before his death, Meinhard was a married father of one. Today, his son, Patrick M. Knapp Schwarzenegger, is an attorney and businessman.

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