Arnold Schwarzenegger shared a touching birthday message for his son, Joseph Baena on Saturday on Instagram. Baena turned 24 years old this week, and his 74-year-old father could not have been more proud of him. Schwarzenegger revealed that he and Baena have some passions in common - including physical fitness.
"Happy birthday @projoe2!" Schwarzenegger wrote alongside a slideshow of three photos. Each one showed him and Baena together - in the first, sitting in a fancy restaurant holding healthy-looking drinks, in the second riding bicycles side by side down a city street and in the third posing in front of a street mural modeled after Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding days. The former Mr. Olympia winner continued: "I am so proud of you and I love you! You are crushing it in the gym, in your real estate career, and in acting."
"I know this will be another fantastic year," Schwarzenegger concluded. The post picked up over 750,000 likes from fans, but the top comment came from Baena himself. It read: "Thank you dad! I love you too!"
Fans were touched by the unguarded emotion in the post and the follow-up comment, especially coming from a father and son duo best-known for intense weight training. For many fans, Schwarzenegger will always be best remembered for his bodybuilding days before he became an action star - particularly the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron, where he established an ambitious, competitive and hyper-masculine persona.
To see Schwarzenegger maintain that reputation while showing outward affection to his son meant a lot to many commenters. One wrote: "Simply admire how you remain so expressive with your children. Inspiring and hope to inculcate it for my 5-year-old," while another added: "Awww, Happy Birthday Joseph. He has such kind energy."
Baena made another post where he and Schwarzenegger stood with his relative Roger Baena. He captioned it: "So thankful for all the birthday wishes yesterday!!! 23 was amazing! It was filled with new friends new experiences and most importantly, a lot of goals met. Feeling extra grateful and excited to see what happens in year 24!"
Baena was at the center of the largest scandal in Schwarzenegger's career in 2011, when it was revealed that he was Schwarzenegger's son publicly for the first time. His mother, Patty Baena worked as a housekeeper for Schwarzenegger and his then-wife Maria Schriver for 20 years, and had an affair with Schwarzenegger at the time. As explained in an extensive report by CBS News at the time, Schwarzenegger supported Baena for years without his wife's knowledge. For many fans, that makes it all the more heartwarming to see them with a happy relationship online.