As debate raged over allegations that West Coast socialite Nicole Murphy vacationed with another woman’s husband, the mom-of-5 vigorously denied the rumors, insisting she and director Antoine Fuqua are “just friends.”

The curvy 51-year-old socialite was photographed vacationing with Antoine in Italy over the weekend. One photo in particular showed the two friends appearing to lock lips.
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On Monday, the former model addressed the photos in an exclusive statement to lifestyle blogger B. Scott.

“Antoine and I are just family friends. I ran into him in Italy and we exchanged a friendly hello and that was it,” she told Scott.

The paparazzi photos back her up. There are no sparks or chemistry between them, and they appear to be posing for the camera.

On closer inspection of one photo, Nicole and Antoine appear to be putting on for the paparazzi. Their lips are not touching and Nicole even laughs as she is tickled by his mustache.

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Nicole is the ex-wife of comedian Eddie Murphy. She bore him 5 children.

Antoine has been married to Waiting To Exhale actress Lela Rochon for 20 years. They share two children. There are reports that their marriage has been on the rocks for years and they have an open marriage. Lela deleted her social media pages after her followers kept ‘@’ing her to comment on the brewing scandal.

Antoine, 53, is best known for directing the critically acclaimed 2001 film Training Day, starring Denzel Washington. He also directed music videos for singer Toni Braxton and the late musician Prince.

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Photos by NEWSPRESS / BACKGRID | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic | Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic