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As Maria Shriver pleads ignorance of Arnold’s flings, pals scoff

CaliforniGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger wife MariShriver arrive for black-tie dinner White House February 22 2009. | Getty

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver arrive for a black-tie dinner at the White House on February 22, 2009. | Getty

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Updated: November 6, 2012 6:22AM

As reported here Tuesday, Maria Shriver has told a number of friends that she would never have stayed with Arnold Schwarzenegger — and definitely wouldn’t have publicly dissed rumors of his cheating — if she had known about her husband’s extramarital dalliances.

However, in recent days I have heard from a number of longtime Hollywood friends and professional associates of the couple who insist Shriver had to have known about the ex-Governator’s huge sexual appetite and proclivity for constantly making passes at women on film sets, at the gym or at Hollywood parties.

“I find it impossible to believe that Maria didn’t know. I think she simply elected to look the other way. … It was only after learning about the son Arnold conceived with Maria’s own housekeeper that she finally reached her breaking point,” said one of those Shriver-Schwarzenegger friends.

‘IDOL’ DIVAS: The feuding between “American Idol” judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj moved to a new — and potentially more scary — level Thursday when Barbara Walters revealed to her “The View” audience that Carey told her Minaj had indirectly threated to shoot her.

According to Walters, Carey said numerous “Idol” staffers overheard Minaj saying, “If I had a gun, I would shoot the b----,” after the women sparred angrily during “Idol” auditions in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this week.

As for Minaj, she denies making the threat, taking to Twitter to dis the story as part of the “lies” and negative press reports about her “Idol” behavior. Minaj also blasted Walters for not reaching out to her team to get her side of the story.

BOOK BEAT: Ringo Starr is said to be very upset by what he hears will be in the upcoming unauthorized biography being written by Michael Starr (no relation).

The former Beatle has posted the following disclaimer on his Facebook page: “There is an unauthorized biography being written by Michael Starr and I want my friends and fans to know it has nothing to do with me. I’m not participating at all.”

Previous celebrity biographies penned by Michael Starr covered Art Carney and Peter Sellers.

BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. may be MIA these days, but his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, will be the star attraction at a big celebration at Rainbow PUSH Coalition on Saturday morning — toasting Jackson’s 71st birthday. Emceed by veteran broadcaster Art Norman, the event will feature Marlon and Shawn Wayans, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, jazz stylist Joan Collaso, Judge Greg Mathis and video tributes from Stevie Wonder and other stars.

FASHION FLASH: A number of people who attended the Joffrey Ballet’s “Couture & Cocktails” fund-raiser at the new McGrath Acura dealership thought that the sparkly Pamella Roland jumpsuit event co-chair Kristina McGrath wore looked better on her than it did on Lindsay Lohan — who had worn it to the MTV Music Awards in 2010. LiLo chose it for the wide-leg design that hid her court-mandated alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet.

McGrath recently bought the outfit on eBay.

FUTURE BUILDING: Dr. Timothy Johnson and his wife, Nancy, will be in Chicago Oct. 26 for the groundbreaking of the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life at North Park University. The veteran ABC News medical correspondent and his wife are longtime North Park supporters — as well as alumni.

The new building is expected to be completed in late 2014.

UNHAPPY LIBERALS: Among the many Hollywood supporters of President Obama disappointed by his performance at the first debate with Mitt Romney on Wednesday night, some of the more amusing Twitter comments came from controversial filmmaker Michael Moore.

“This is what happens when you pick John Kerry as your debate coach,” was one of Moore’s tweets, as was this one: “Is Bill Clinton coming in to sub next quarter? O! Wake up! Attack! That is not John McCain over on that podium!”

FILM FLAM: Keeping with its recent trend of producing TV movies about controversial celebrities, Lifetime is moving ahead with a film about the late Anna Nicole Smith — with Agnes Bruckner (“Private Practice”) on board to play the title role.

† The latest actress to sign on to the film Tracy Letts has written — based on his Pulitizer Prize- and Tony-winning play “August: Osage County” — is Julianne Nicholson (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”). Nicholson will portray middle daughter Ivy Weston in Steppenwolf mainstay Letts’ film, directed by John Wells and starring Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale and Abigail Breslin.

Chicago’s own Steve Traxler, president of JAM Theatricals, is on board as a producer — along with a guy you may have heard of: George Clooney.

TALL ORDER: Chicago architectural photographer Mark Ballogg has shot many exciting skyline views of Our Town over the years from atop Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. Now an exhibition of those dramatic photos opens Monday in the Willis lobby. The free show, “Willis Tower: Look Up, Look Down, Look Around,” runs through Nov. 16.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Jennifer Hudson and fiance David Otunga were seen dining at David Burke’s Primehouse, including splurging on a 72-day-aged ribeye. … While in town the other day, White House Historical Society director Maria Downs was overheard at O’Donovan’s on Irving Park Road talking about the society’s 50th anniversary celebration attended by former first daughters Caroline Kennedy and Tricia Nixon Cox. … Speaking of anniversaries, WCIU-Channel 26’s Art “Chat Daddy” Sims was spied at Deuces + the Diamond Club celebrating his third year as part of the station’s morning show team.

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