When it comes to celebrity coupling, hush-hush is the word — sometimes to the extreme.
There's the supposed "secret wedding" April 4 between Beyoncé and Jay-Z, which remains unconfirmed — and undenied — by publicists for both camps.
The tease is endless: Jay-Z's concert co-headliner, Mary J. Blige, gave a very public congratulatory shout-out at a performance in North Carolina on April 5 without saying "marriage"; Beyoncé wore leather gloves covering her ring fingers as she jetted out of New York last week; and Beyoncé's sister, Solange, talked to "People" about what a wonderful mother big sis would be.
They may be the quietest current couple, but they have plenty of company. Another classic: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, who took months to confirm they were married in 2004. And more recently, even as her belly bump expanded, neither would confirm her pregnancy with twins.
"In a way, when these couples act very coy to the press and the public, it keeps the fire of interest burning even brighter," says OK! magazine editor Sarah Ivens. "There are lots of photos to suggest otherwise. By denying it, they keep interest going. If I was a savvy person with an album to promote, I'd do it as well."
But, she says, shutting fans out of a big moment can be a let-down.
"I thought it was a shame that Madonna didn't release (wedding) photos, even one. It's a shame for the fans."
Among the other secretive celeb couples:
YOUNG COUPLES: PAIRED OR PLAYING?
Hayden Panettiere, 18, and Milo Ventimiglia, 30 Early signs: The two were first spotted enjoying each other's company at an Emmy party in September. By December, People reported that they were an item.
The scoop: It's a veritable "Where's Waldo?" for the Heroes stars, who keep a pretty low profile in Hollywood. In a March GQ interview, Ventimiglia was directly asked if the two were dating. Why not just say so? "When you're in the public eye, you try to keep whatever you can private," Ventimiglia responded. "People can speculate and talk. But what can you do — stop living your life?"Handholding: Yes Talking to media: Minimal Vacation together: Yes? He hung out with her family in New York in December.
Rihanna, 20, and Chris Brown, 18
Early signs: In early February, Brown sang Happy Birthday at Rihanna's 20th birthday celebration. On Feb. 24, they were photographed getting playful in a pool.The scoop: Their favorite word is "friend," but 2008 has shown the chart-toppers (who both have trails of stars tattooed on their necks) photographed in each other's arms at VIP Club in Paris last month. "People aren't feeling the need to comment," says OK! editor Sarah Ivens. "Photos give you away." Handholding: Yes Talking to media: Only to issue denials and emphasize they're "friends" Vacation together: Yes. The February pool scene was in Jamaica.
ESTABLISHED, BUT STILL PRIVATE
Reese Witherspoon, 32, and Jake Gyllenhaal, 27 Early signs: The pair were first spotted getting cozy in March 2007. By June, any signs of romance had cooled, but by fall all indications pointed back to a union as the two were photographed strolling together on the streets of Italy. Just weeks later, People reported they checked in at Carneros Inn in the Napa Valley. The scoop: While the two still have not confirmed they're dating, Ryan Phillippe, Witherspoon's ex-husband, told "USA TODAY" that he avoids magazines featuring photos of the two. "It's bizarre," Phillippe said. "There's plenty of times when I say, 'What a strange situation I've found myself in.' But at a certain point you know it's going to happen, so you are prepared in some fashion." Handholding: No Talking to media: No Vacation together: Yes
Justin Timberlake, 27, and Jessica Biel, 26
Early signs: In January 2007, the two were spotted getting close at Prince's Golden Globes party. By the end of the month, they were glimpsed snowboarding together in Park City, Utah. In May, she visited him while he had concert dates in Britain; in June, she joined him at tour stops in Amsterdam and Stockholm.The scoop: They're often seen holding hands, and recently attended Hollywood stylist Estee Stanley's wedding together. But both have remained mum about their relationship. "Justin is getting more and more private with every girlfriend," says Ivens. "With Britney (Spears), they were America's young teen dream. With Cameron (Diaz), she was a bubbly actress and, coming straight off Britney, it was a big draw." With Biel, "he quite sensibly has pulled away." Handholding: Yes Talking to media: No Vacation together: Yes
MASTERS OF 'ARE THEY OR AREN'T THEY?'
Beyoncé, 26, and Jay-Z, 38
The signs: After their first official musical collaboration, '03 "Bonnie & Clyde," in October 2002, rumors heated up about romance. The couple remained mum during an MTV TRL appearance a month later. In 2003, they put on a sizzling performance at August's MTV Video Music Awards. A month later, they were photographed together at the U.S. Open and Fashion Week in New York.The scoop: No word yet from either camp. "Sometimes couples don't want to play ball and sell photos and talk about their relationship," Ivens says. "I'm not sure if Beyoncé will release (wedding) photos." Joint red carpets: Sometimes Talking to media: No Marriage license: Yes, "People" reports
Janet Jackson, 41, and Jermaine Dupri, 35 The signs: They had worked together several times on songs for her albums by the time Jackson said that she was in love in March 2004. She and the record company exec/producer had been serious for nearly two years by then. "He's so good for me," she told "USA TODAY." He was her love interest in the I Want You video. The scoop: Both have railed against rumors they are married. They're not, she says. And that's OK with her. "So many people were putting pressure on (Dupri), then they started pressuring me," Jackson told TV's "The Insider" in February. "I like where we are, and I'm happy where I am. I've done it twice before. I'm afraid I might be a jinx. I might be allergic to marriage." Joint red carpets: Sometimes Talking to media: Sometimes