updated 11/10/2008 AT 6:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/10/2008 AT 8:00 AM ET
Gossip Web sites are abuzz with sightings of the newly single Evan Rachel Wood and Mickey Rourke, her much older costar in The Wrestler. But the actress – who split from rocker Marilyn Manson last month – wants the world to know that they’re just friends.
“Spread the word – I’m not dating Mickey Rourke,” Wood told PEOPLE at Sunday’s Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards presented by Hollywood Life. “Everybody thinks we’re dating and we’re not.”
That’s a sentiment the 21-year-old actress reiterated in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE: “Mickey and I bonded while shooting The Wrestler and we became friends, but nothing more. I guess, because of my recent break up, I will be linked to many people, but I am not interested in pursuing a relationship at this point in my life. Any such rumor should not be taken seriously.”
She continued, “We are proud of the film we made together and I hope people will focus on the film and not get distracted by any nonsense.”
Rourke, 52, also denied the so-called romance. When asked Saturday if they two had begun dating, he told PEOPLE, “No, no. I’m a big fan of hers and she’s a big fan of mine.” (Although the costars – along with the rest of The Wrestler cast – were in Las Vegas Saturday, Wood did not join Rourke at Tao’s three-year anniversary party.)
It’s been a tough few days of rumor control for Wood, who, on Friday, also refuted gossip surrounding her breakup.
“Manson and I both decided to take some time apart so we could concentrate on work,” the actress told PEOPLE at the time, addressing stories that they’d fought bitterly about her brother. “Someone used that opportunity to kick us while we were down and sell a completely false story.”
On Sunday, Wood insisted she’s coping well with the split.
“It’s not the nasty thing everybody thinks it is. I’m doing fine, as best as can be expected …,” she said. “Right now, I’m just enjoying being on my own.”
With reporting by Mark Gray, Elizabeth Leonard and Nicholas White