Does Hilary Duff have a new boyfriend? Rumors began flying this weekend that Duff has a new leading man in her life after she spotted arm-in-arm with a mystery male at the Miley Cyrus Bangerz concert in Los Angeles on Saturday, less than two months after announcing her divorce from her husband, Mike Comrie.
Radar Online was the first to report Sunday that Duff, 26, had “found love” with a “mystery man” following her separation from Comrie, a 33-year-old retired NHL player, earlier this year. “Has Hilary Duff found new love after her recent split?” questioned the gossip site, later adding comments on how cozy the alleged duo looked after they were photographed “holding hands” following the show. “It looks like Duff is moving on!” the site later added.
While the “So Yesterday” singer and former “Lizzie McGuire” actress was spotted looking close with the mystery male, who has since been identified as hairstylist Marcus Francis, the former Disney star is claiming her new rumored romance is nothing more than a friendship. “’twas a fun night!! Hey @MarcusRFrancis we are now dating according to the press,” Duff posted on her official Twitter Sunday night. Duff’s rumored new beau responded, calling the rumors “pure comedy” and posting the quip, “Well why wouldn’t we be?! You’re hot enough to turn any gay boy straight.”
So just who is Marcus Francis? According to a report from Gossip Cop, the brunette hunk is Duff’s longtime hairstylist and friend. While Francis is known as Duff’s go to man when it comes to looking red carpet ready, Francis's portfolio also includes styling other celebrities such as “Scandal“ star Kerry Washington, Oscar-nominated actor Hugh Jackman and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. While not as well-known as his “girlfriend” Duff, Francis’s official site claims his styling work has graced high-profile magazines such as Vogue, Interview, W and Seventeen.
Duff announced in January that she was splitting from Comrie after four years of marriage. “[They] have mutually decided [upon] an amicable separation,” Duff’s rep told People magazine, adding that the pair will continue to remain friends for the sake of their 23-month-old son, Luca Cruz. “They remain best friends and will continue to be in each other’s lives,” added the rep. The couple was last spotted together spending a shared vacation at an undisclosed tropical location on Valentine’s Day.