Paula Abdul Steps Out with Her New Guy
At last Tuesday's opening of the Leona Edmiston boutique in West Hollywood, the 43-year-old American Idol judge turned heads when she emerged from a Jaguar with the handsome actor on her arm. Inside, the two sipped pomegranate martinis and held hands; at one point Schiena, 6'3", stood behind the 5'2" star and wrapped her in his arms, PEOPLE reports in its upcoming issue.
Sitting in the Idol audience the next night, he noted to a pal, "Hey, she looks good, huh?" Abdul and Schiena winked and waved to each other, and she even squeezed in a quick visit, prompting one Idol staffer to ask, "Who is that hottie with Paula?"
Who indeed? Schiena was named a black belt world champ by the World Traditional Karate Organization in 2001 before turning to acting. (His credits include CSI: NY and a small role in 2004's The Merchant of Venice.)
Abdul's rep insists the duo are "just friends," while Schiena's rep says her client's "friendship" with Abdul started a year ago, when they met socially.
As for all that affection, his rep says Schiena, who's from South Africa, is "very warm. Holding hands is as normal as giving a good friend a kiss on the cheek."
And whatever happened to Dr. Phil’s blind dates? Abdul tells PEOPLE, "Let's not talk about that."