"I don't feel right about dating yet." That's Jessica Simpson, explaining her empty postdivorce dance card to OK! magazine. But has the officially Nick Lachey-free starlet, 26, already changed her mind about diving back into the dating pool?
Despite repeatedly declaring they're merely pals, Simpson and her "Employee of the Month" co-star Dane Cook, 34, "are seeing each other," says Us Weekly, which claims the two recently "snuggled" at a Los Angeles hot spot.
"It's getting a lot more serious," says a Jessica insider, who adds that the funnyman may have ended his relationship with singer Raquel Houghton "in part" because of Simpson.
But Jessica, who reportedly rebuffed the recent advances of Zach Braff and last month dismissed reports linking her to Jared Leto, once again denies the Dane romance rumblings in the pages of OK!, although she's plenty effusive in her praise of the comic.
"Every time I'm frustrated, I'll e-mail him, and he'll e-mail back with a suggestion or an idea," she gushes. "He's a great support, a solid friend and a really good guy."
Cook, whose MySpace profile lists his status as "single," is equally enthusiastic about Simpson, so much so that he even salutes her keen intellect.
"She's a whip, this one," he raves to "Entertainment Tonight. "You can't put one by her, no way." (He's obviously never shared a can of Chicken of the Sea with her, but moving on ...)
Cook is also quick to quiet talk that they're anything more than chums, telling "ET," "No, I am not dating Jessica Simpson. But she is beautiful and lovely. Once I met her, I found that she was a very passionate person like myself about trying to be creative."
Meanwhile, the shiny toothed blonde celebrated her 26th birthday on July 10 by striking various poses in an itty-bitty bikini while vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with her ever-present parents and pals-cum-minions Ken Paves, her mane wrangler, and CaCee Cobb, her ex-assistant.
According to Us Weekly, the revelers jetted in on Saturday and holed up at a 6,500-square-foot home that rents for a relatively thrifty -- by celebrity standards anyway -- $1,760 a night. After getting their fill of sun, sangria, Mexican food and margaritas, the group flew home to Los Angeles on Tuesday.
The sojourn appears to have done Simpson a world of good, with an insider assuring People that she's "the [happiest] she has ever been."
She's also apparently the most philosophical she's ever been, in an "I Will Survive"-meets-"I Am Woman" sort of way.
"Every decision you make determines who you are. If you make a bad one, you fix it. It makes you stronger," Jess sagely tells OK! "The last year has been very intense for me. I've learned that being me is okay. I have no regrets."
Dane is too hot for this fake, plastic bitch.