Stella Mouzi and Mel Gibson
06/23/2011 at 06:45 PM EDT
When Stella Mouzi met Mel Gibson this spring through mutual friends, the pair hit it off. But not, Mouzi insists, in a romantic way.
Eager to set the record straight after tabloid reports declared her Gibson's new, young girlfriend when they were photographed together, Mouzi tells PEOPLE exclusively: "I came to the U.S. from Greece a few months ago and was charmed by the American hospitality. I made many new friends including Mel Gibson, with whom I share merely a friendly acquaintance."
Described unflatteringly in some reports as everything from a "Greek Gothic chick" to a fetish model, Mouzi clarifies: "I am a dancer, performance artist and a photographer – that is the extent of my professional life. It has been difficult to be the subject of false rumors, which have also been hurtful to my friends and family."
As for Gibson, 55, (who's stayed out of the salacious headlines himself, since the battery case
involving his ex-girlfriend) he's not dating anyone, says a close friend, who corroborates Mouzi's account.
Says the source: "They're 100 percent just friends."