By Kat Giantis
Three weeks ago, Kate Upton brushed off long-simmering rumors that she was hot and heavy with erstwhile "Dancing With the Stars" pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. "We're just friends," insisted the Sports Illustrated swimsuit blonde. But they appeared to be a bit more than that when they were spotted holding hands in New York on Thursday.
Paparazzi snapped the smiling, Ray Ban-clad twosome as they strolled in the West Village, with Kate, 21, decked out in workout clothes, and Maks, 33, sporting a pink button down, black jeans and Dapper Dan-slicked hair.
The top-heavy model was first linked to the Ukrainian hoofer in June, when they reportedly celebrated her milestone birthday together. PDA-inclusive sightings followed in Manhattan and the Hamptons, where she was shooting "The Other Woman" with Cameron Diaz.
According to the New York Daily News, Upton is currently apartment hunting in Manhattan, in part to spend more time with Chmerkovskiy, who has a place in New Jersey.
"They're getting closer," says a source, "but there's been no talk of marriage."
And even though Maks apparently took the model to a family gathering on Long Island back in August, she's made it clear that her career comes first right now.
“I really have never had a serious relationship in the industry. I'm just having fun," Upton told the September issue of Elle. "Obviously I have a very busy schedule at this time in my life, and I don't put relationships as a priority."
Kate has previously been linked to the likes of baseball player Justin Verlander and basketball player Blake Griffin (anyone else sensing she prefers athletic guys?). Maks ended an engagement with fellow "DWTS" rug-cutter Karina Smirnoff in 2009, and he called it quits a few months back with dance pro Peta Murgatroyd.
Click on for more plenty more pics of Kate ...
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