LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A former Miss America says remarks attributed to her in an upcoming issue of Playboy magazine could be ''misinterpreted'' to suggest she had a past romance with Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

Elizabeth Ward, in a statement released this week by the Clinton campaign, said she never had a sexual relationship with the governor.

''In my upcoming Playboy interview I refused to confirm or deny the allegations of a past romantic relationship between myself and Gov. Clinton,'' the statement said. ''In no way should this be misconstrued as an admission that such a relationship existed. I was simply trying to make a point about a person's right to privacy.''

Playboy spokeswoman Elizabeth Norris said Friday she could not comment on the content of the May issue of Playboy other than to say that ''whatever we have in an upcoming issue is not harmful to Mr. Clinton.''

Ward was among several women whom a disgruntled former state employee claimed had had sexual relationships with Clinton. Larry Nichols made the allegations in connection with a lawsuit that he later dropped.

One of the women, Gennifer Flowers, later claimed she had a 12-year affair with Clinton.

Clinton has denied having a sexual relationship with any of the women.

Ward, in her statement, said the Playboy article was ''written in a manner that could be misinterpreted. I therefore feel it's necessary at this time to go on record that although I have met Bill Clinton and his family, at no time did any romantic relationship ever exist between the governor and myself.''

The Playboy edition that includes the Ward article goes on sale April 7, the same day as presidential primaries in New York, Kansas and Wisconsin.

Clinton spokesman Jeff Eller said Ms. Ward asked the campaign to issue her statement ''because they were unhappy with the way the story turned out. They wanted to make sure there was a clarification.''

Ward, an actress who now lives in California, was Miss America in 1982. Her publicist, Miles D. Levy, said Ward and the campaign both agreed she needed to clarify the issue by stating flatly that she had no romantic relationship with Clinton.