WHAT on earth has happened to Maria Shriver?

That’s what peo­ple are asking after shocking photographs surfaced that show her in­credibly wrinkled, badly weathered skin and frighten­ingly care-worn features.

“Poor Maria,” said one observer. “She looks like a Halloween witch!”

The astonishing pix were snapped April 27 when Maria, 57, accompanied her 19-year-old son Patrick Schwarzenegger to a gym.

“I only recognized her because she was with her son, that’s how different she looked,” said the observer. “She is certainly not aging well.”

MARIA’S FRIENDS and even some family members are re­portedly telling the veteran newswoman and soon-to-be ex-wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger that cosmetic surgery would give her a big psychological boost – and help improve her love life.

“She’s been through so much that it’s really taken a toll on her,” said a close source.

For years, Maria has worked tirelessly as a political wife, author, mother of four and crusader for women’s rights.

“Maria’s developed terrible wrinkles and bags under her eyes from all the stress, not to mention sleepless nights,” said the source.

Earlier this year, Maria, a staunch Catholic, tried to find peace of mind by taking a Buddhism class suggested by her close pal, actor Rob Lowe, ac­cording to

Now friends are suggesting that she have plastic surgery to change her life – and land a new man.

“It would be just the thing so she could jump back into the dating pool,” said the source.

“Maria knows her skin is terribly sun-damaged and developing horrible wrinkles. The problem is she’s not a fan of plastic surgery. It’s a real nightmare for her.”

Top plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn told The ENQUIRER Maria’s appear­ance can be greatly enhanced for just over $20,000.

“It certainly looks like the years and the damaging California sun have tak­en their toll,” said the Michigan-based expert, who has not treated Shriver.

“Maria would benefit greatly from Botox, which would smooth her fore­head wrinkles.

“I would also recommend a face-lift to tighten the skin of her lower face and neck. Laser resurfacing would also help to smooth her skin, and in­jections such as Restylane can fill in some of the deeper smile lines.”

According to Dr. Youn, the face-lift would cost $15,000, the laser treatments $4,000, the Restylane in­jections $1,500 and the Botox $1,000.

Concluded Dr. Youn: “She looks like she’d be a great candidate for plastic surgery.”