Arnold Schwarzenegger poses during an interview at the opening of...

 Arnold Schwarzenegger poses during an interview at the opening of the body building Arnold Classic Europe in Barcelona on Sept. 29, 2018. Credit: EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock/ENRIC FONTCUBERTA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed regret over some of his past treatment of women.

"Looking back, I stepped over the line several times, and I was the first one to say sorry," the bodybuilding legend, 71, reflected in the new issue of Men's Health magazine, referring primarily to alleged incidents from 1970 to 2000 that surfaced during his first gubernatorial race in 2003.

"I feel bad about it, and I apologize," he continued. "When I became governor, I wanted to make sure that no one, including me, ever makes this mistake. That's why we took sexual harassment courses, to have a clear understanding, from a legal point of view and also from a regular-behavior point of view, of what is accepted and what is not."

Schwarzenegger at the time had said of the allegations, "Most of it is not true . . . And then other things may be true, and in case it is, that's why I said I want to apologize if I offended anyone, because that was not my intention."

He insisted this was not a change of view about masculinity. "I'm a guy. I would not change my view of who I am. The woman I was originally most in love with was my mother. I respected her, and she was a fantastic woman. I always had respect for women."

He also expressed regret about calling Democrats "girlie men," as he did in least two speeches — in New Hampshire in 1992 on behalf of President George H.W. Bush's reelection campaign and in Ontario, Calif., while governor in 2004, referring then to state legislators. "At the time it felt like the right thing to do. It was in my gut. I improvised it. I called them girlie men because they weren't willing to take risks. They were afraid of everything. Politicians in general want to do little things so there's no risk involved.

"But it was shortsighted," he went on. "In the long term, it's better to not say that, because you want to work with them. . . . When you can reach out across the aisle and work together, you can get much more accomplished, rather than 'girlie men' or '[expletive] you' or 'it's my way or the highway.' "

Schwarzenegger is in Budapest shooting the sixth Terminator movie.

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