Screen beauty Sadie Frost has a new man in her life - a movie director who has been a friend of hers and estranged hubby Jude Law's for over a decade.

SIMON ABOUD, who is currently directing the SHOPPING actress in the romantic comedy COME WHAT MAY, has provided Sadie with a shoulder to cry on since her marriage fell apart.

And friends claim the couple's closeness has blossomed into a budding romance, which they had hoped to keep a secret.

But Simon denies the couple's relationship is anything but purely platonic.

He says, "It's complete rubbish, absolutely untrue. We are just friends."

A spokeswoman for Sadie says, "Simon and Sadie have known each other for years and are very good friends. At the moment they are working intensively on a new film.

"Simon is in and out of Sadie's house all the time because they live around the corner from each other, but there is nothing going on between them. They are just friends, that's all.

"It is true that Simon has been a shoulder for Sadie to cry on but to suggest there is anything more to it than that is just not true."

The claims of romance come after persistent stories that hubby Jude has been seeing OSCAR-winning actress Nicole Kidman.

15/06/2003 14:01