Ryan Giggs, 43, had found himself at the centre of speculation he is dating this year’s Strictly star Gemma Atkinson, after she posted a picture of him enjoying a cosy dinner with her and her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec in October.
But the former footballer has finally broken his silence on their close bond and mocked claims they are romantically linked when he appeared alongside Gemma, 32, on the Key 103 breakfast show on Friday.
‘Me and Gemma have been friends for a long time.’ The former Manchester United star said of the actress, before teasing his pal and adding in jest: ‘And you know, as if!’
Of their friendship, Gemma added: ‘Anyone I hang about with of the opposite sex people say I’m going out with. Whenever we all go out together as friends people say we’re in a relationship.’
In recent weeks, the hunk has even stopped by at rehearsals to watch the actress show off her best moves in preparation for the Saturday night Strictly live shows.
Back in February, The Sun reported they enjoyed dinner together in Manchester with Ryan ‘sneaking glances at her’ throughout the evening.
A source told the publication: ‘They gave each other their undivided attention, and kept leaning across the table to get closer.’
MailOnline approached their respective representatives at the time.
Meanwhile, rumours are swirling that Gemma is embarking on a whirlwind romance with professional dancer Gorka Marquez.
Their rumoured romance had led to claims surfacing, suggesting Gorka had been feuding with his celebrity partner Alexandra Burke as a result.