One Direction's Harry Styles said he is just "close friends" with Caroline Flack but refused to rule out a future romance, adding: "We'll see what happens."
The 17-year-old failed to put an end to speculation about his relationship with the 32-year-old Xtra Factor presenter during a visit to Whiteleys Shopping Centre in Bayswater.
He was in West London to promote the band's debut album Up All Night.
Caroline was pictured with the teenage star on a night out in the capital last week.
After the rumoured romance sparked criticism, she later tweeted to say they were just good friends and did not deserve the death threats which had been posted.
Asked about the threats, Harry said: "A lot of people write things on the internet and a lot of the time they don't think about what they are writing or how it's going to affect people.
"It's a shame people say that."
He added: "We are friends. We hang out sometimes but that's about it for now. We'll see what happens."
One Direction were more than an hour late for their shopping centre appearance but the wait did not put off the crowd of hundreds of screaming girls.
photo:& Copy; Rex