Milo Ventimiglia: Hayden and I Are 'Close Friends'

11/15/2007 at 08:15 AM EST

Milo Ventimiglia: Hayden and I Are 'Close Friends'
Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia
John Shearer/WireImage
Since cozying up at an Emmys party in September, Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere have dodged rumors that they are dating.

Two months later, the duo some call "Halo" are still close, hanging together at Wednesday's Lamborghini Calabasas Opening Race to benefit the Fight Against Epilepsy. But could these Heroes be a couple?

When asked about the reports of romance, Ventimiglia, 30, chuckled then paused. After a few seconds, he answered, "She and I are close friends. It's only natural that people are going to couple us together."

The actor and Panettiere, 18, hung together outside the bash while awaiting their fellow Heroes costars. And although they spoke closely in a shadowy corner, they remained strictly hands-off. (Once inside, the two were ushered into a private VIP room.)

In September, Heroes costar James Kyson Lee, who plays Ando on the NBC series, told PEOPLE of the prospective pairing, "The rumor is not true. Let's just end it there."

Panettiere and Ventimiglia attended Wednesday's party to support costar Greg Grunberg, whose son Jake suffers from epilepsy.

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