Maria Shriver was sleeping with husband/California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger ’s campaign strategist, Matthew Dowd, way before Schwarzenegger’s affair with their housekeeper was exposed.

Shriver recently went public with her longtime lover, Matthew Dowd, acting as if he were a new fling.

Shriver stepped out with Dowd, now an ABC analyst, for the first time publicly last month at cousin Bobby Kennedy’s wedding.

According to a source, “Maria likes to make it appear that she’s the victim, but she’s not. The [idea] that they started dating recently is ridiculous.’’

In May 2011, Schwarzenegger publicly admitted bedding family housekeeper Mildred Beana years earlier and fathering her son, now 16.

Shriver didn’t separate from Schwarzenegger until news of his affair broke. Turns out she began fooling around with Dowd in 2006. At the time, the twice-divorced Dowd was working on her hubby’s gubernatorial re-election campaign in California.

When Schwarzenegger was away, Shriver and Dowd would flaunt their affair in front of staffers, taking long walks together and spending alone time after meetings.

“There was a lot of flirtation. They frequently spent time alone, and Arnold was rarely, if ever, around when they were together. She had a unique banter with [Dowd] and lit up when he was around. He was comfortable poking fun at her, and she would slap him teasingly.”

When Schwarzenegger caught on to the affair, Dowd was pushed out of his inner circle.

But the fights continued on the campaign trail.


Sources tell the NY Post, “They were having blowouts in public over Matthew. Yelling and crying. Total chaos. I was like, ‘How are we going to keep this from getting out?’ ”

Staffers had to choose — Team Maria or Team Arnold.

Dowd denies he and Shriver had been involved at the time.

“There was no affair,’’ he said. “We were good friends.”

But Schwarzenegger’s staffers were told Dowd was the enemy and he was not allowed at the inaguration.

In public, Schwarzenegger and Shriver remained a couple — but she continued seeing Dowd in her husband’s second term.

While Schwarzenegger was in Sacramento, Shriver went on getaways with Dowd.

“She referred to him as one of her closest friends. The governor knew about it the whole time".

And Dowd bragged about bedding a Kennedy.

After too many drinks at a wedding in 2011, Dowd announced he was staying with Shriver at the Montage Hotel, where she lived during her separation with Schwarzenegger.

When stories began circulating  about Schwarzenegger’s love child, ex-staffers were told by a top aide to the governor to stay mum on Shriver’s affair.

“He did not want the dirty laundry out there".

Despite filing their papers nearly three years ago, the two have yet to finalize a divorce. A source said it’s being settled “amicably.”