The woman at the centre of Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest scandal fears the California Governor's aides are out to kill her after she claimed she was once his mistress.

GIGI GOYETTE briefly dated the unmarried California Governor in the 1970s and was horrified by an inaccurate US tabloid story in 2001, which alleged she had an affair with the TERMINATOR star behind his wife Maria Shriver's back.

New Yorker Goyette was paid $25,000 (GBP13,890) by US tabloid the National Enquirer for the kiss-and-tell story, but insists corrections she made to an early draft were ignored.

She claims that efforts to get a correction printed fell on deaf ears and she simply wrote off the experience as a lesson learned - until Enquirer editors approached her again in 2003 when Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy for California Governor, and attempted to silence her from telling anyone else about their relationship.

Goyette fears Schwarzenegger's aides are behind the effort to keep her quiet - but has no idea why they're going to such great lengths.

Speaking exclusively to chat show host Donny Deutsch on his BIG IDEA show on Tuesday (20SEP05), she said, "I wouldn't call it a romantic relationship... We dated a little bit, but 30 years ago.

"(Now) he feels that some of the things that went on between us at that time would damage his reputation. I really think it stems from them thinking of those headlines and that story in 2001 that damaged him running at that point.

"They said that he didn't run (then) as a result of that story. They used me as a scapegoat. I don't know what everybody is afraid about because there is nothing damaging."

But Goyette still fears repercussions and has taken to keeping a loaded gun at her home in Malibu, California - because Schwarzenegger is such a powerful person.

She adds, "He's a huge American idol to a lot of people... I've always been fearful that perhaps there would be some retaliation by somebody in his immediate group to come after me or hurt me or my family and for that reason alone I stay very protected and I keep a loaded gun at my house."