Russell Crowe and his Les Miserables co-star Samantha Barks have laughed off rumours of a blossoming romance, just days after the Gladiator actor fired back at reports linking him to singer Natalie Imbruglia.

The Oscar winner's private life has become the talk of the Australian tabloids since he was alleged to have split from his wife Danielle Spencer last October (12), and he has been using his blog to repeatedly slam false claims that suggest he has moved on.

On Thursday (28Feb13), he hit out at gossip alleging he had begun dating fellow Antipodean star Imbruglia, and now he has dismissed fresh speculation about his relationship with Barks.

The pair met while shooting the movie musical last year (12) and they have been spotted working out together.

Gossips went into overdrive over the weekend (02-03Mar13) when Crowe and Barks stopped for a leisurely lunch after a joint exercise session in Los Angeles.

But Crowe has brushed off romance tales - in a message to the British actress, he jokes, "@SamanthaBarks apparently we are an item according to Aussie magazines...sorry about that Sammi."

The romance report also prompted Barks to reach out to fans and, in a post on Monday (04Mar13), she writes, "Rumours are hilarious and not true! #funnyoldworld".

Barks and Imbruglia are the latest ladies to be linked to Crowe - he previously blasted reports alleging he was dating Billy Joel's ex-wife, Tv chef Katie Lee, and burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese.