A livid MARIA SHRIVER, who lawyered up yesterday after ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER’s lovechild bombshell, is the latest in three generations of Kennedy women who’ve been branded by the “Scarlet Letter” of adultery.

Shriver, 55, had given up her successful career as a TV journo when Arnold was elected California governor.

Those who think Maria may have been blindsided forget she’s a Kennedy and their women have long suffered at the hands of their cheating men – drowning their secret sorrows in booze and silence.

Maria is the granddaughter of Joseph Kennedy, the bootlegger patriarch of the Irish-American political clan, who himself was known for his cheating including an affair with silent movie star Gloria Swanson.

AND Maria is the niece of President John F. Kennedy, whose reputed bedroom carousing included dalliances with both Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner, the mistress of mob boss Sam Giancana.

Psychiatrist Stanton Peele told ABC News, “The wives were silent as long the infidelities didn't arrive on their doorsteps. Those people keep their secrets… (Maria) learned that message from her family. Joe Kennedy could (have sex with) Gloria Swanson, but he couldn't bring it home or insult or defile Rose Kennedy," Peele explained.

"You might say Arnold Schwarzenegger learned the cultural thing to do perfectly. Men do whatever they want until it's discovered in the home.

“Then 'boom,' it's over."

Ted Kennedy's wife, Joan, was perhaps the most traumatized Kennedy wife, drowning herself in booze after the Chappaquiddick scandal in 1969.  Ted had admitted responsibility for the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne, 27, in a deadly car crash after a night of wild partying. Pregnant, Joan stoically faced the press by his side. She later miscarried and their marriage disintegrated.

Shriver’s male cousins, the third generation of Kennedys, were no strangers to cheating scandals either.

The son of assassinated Presidential candidate and former Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, Michael Kennedy, was married with three children when he allegedly had an affair with their 14-year-old babysitter. The girl later refused to press charges. Kennedy was killed in a skiing accident in 1998.

William Smith, son of Jean Kennedy Smith, was charged with rape in 1991 but later acquitted. He had been staying at "Uncle Ted's" when the alleged incident occured.

Despite all the Kennedy angst, Maria's  mother, Eunice, and father, Sargent Shriver, enjoyed a seeming stable, 56-year marriage.

At her father’s funeral in January, around the time that Maria first learned of Arnold’s love child by housekeeper Mildred Baena, Maria eulogized her father, who founded the Peace Corps, as a man whose greatest accomplishment was "how to treat a wife."