Milo Ventimiglia says Hayden Panettiere is just a close friend is reporting that Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere were together last Wednesday's Race in the Fight Against Epilepsy fundraiser, in Calabasas, Calif.

When asked about the reports of romance, Ventimiglia, 30, chuckled then paused. After a few seconds, he answered, "She and I are close friends. It's only natural that people are going to couple us together."

The actor and Panettiere, 18, hung together outside the bash while awaiting their fellow Heroes costars. And although they spoke closely in a shadowy corner, they remained strictly hands-off. (Once inside, the two were ushered into a private VIP room.)

I am actually for this couple now...they are both amazing people...I hope that they are!!