“Bridgerton”'s Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton Are Not Dating — Despite Fan Theories

Apologies, dearest gentle reader, but the speculation about the new leading lady's love life is just that: speculation

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix</p> Luke Newton, Nicola Coughlan in

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Luke Newton, Nicola Coughlan in 'Bridgerton' season 3

The ‘ton is abuzz with speculation that Bridgerton’s newest leading lady is romantically involved with her costar, but things are just friendly between Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton.

Despite rumors circulating online about the nature of the actors’ relationship — spurred on particularly by their hand-holding at the Australian launch event for season 3 — PEOPLE has learned that Coughlan, 37, and Newton, 31, are “just friends."

The pair are “supportive co-stars for each other,” but “they are not dating,” says a source close to the actors.

Related: Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan Says She and Leading Man Were 'Peeing Ourselves with Laughter' in Kissing Scenes

While things are not romantic between the actors in real life, they have not held back when it comes to teasing excited fans who can't wait to see their chemistry play out onscreen.

Their intimate scenes have been the subject of much speculation in particular, as Coughlan has repeatedly shared that they broke a piece of furniture while filming a sex scene, and found the filming process "really funny."

“We would be like, in between scenes, and they were like, ‘Do you wanna get up and put your clothes on?’ We're like, ‘We'll just chill here.’ Like, in under the blankets,” she recalled during an interview on SiriusXM Hits 1 in April. “But then we have the advantage of knowing each other for years.”

<p>James Gourley/Getty</p> Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan attend the "Bridgerton" Season 3 launch

James Gourley/Getty

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan attend the "Bridgerton" Season 3 launch

“It felt like a really safe space,” Newton told 7News Australia of filming the scenes with his longtime costar, reiterating what she has said. “There were moments where we could explore the scene and try it different ways and that ended up in a piece of furniture getting broken.”

“We just laughed,” he said of the aftermath of the damage during the scene, before sharing that he’s hoping the candid footage might make it into the show. “And then, I think Nicola spoke, like in her Irish accent, and I thought, it would have been so special – I mean, maybe it will be in the final cut, us breaking into laughter — ‘cause I think that’s quite Colin and Pen as well. So it would be nice.”

Related: Nicola Coughlan Teases 'Romantic' Season 3 of 'Bridgerton' That 'Stays Very True to the Books' (Exclusive)

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix</p> Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in episode 302 of 'Bridgerton'

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in episode 302 of 'Bridgerton'

In season 3, Coughlan's Penelope Featherington and Newton's Colin Bridgerton find themselves at a crossroads, as Penelope has been hurt enough by Colin, who she's long pined for, and is now set on taking the marriage market seriously as she hunts for a husband.

Colin agrees to help her in her search, only to find himself with mixed feelings at the prospect of her marrying someone else, prompting him to ask, "Do you believe the best foundation for love is friendship?"

Related: Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan Jokes About a 'Significantly Shorter' Season 3 After Requesting 'a PG' Cut for Mom

In a sneak peek of the season, Penelope confronts her friend about the comments she overheard him make at the end of season 2 after he asks, “Something wrong, Pen? Between us, I mean? I wrote to you this summer, as I always do, and why you did not respond? Admittedly, very few did but if you are going to make me say it out loud, I miss you.”

“You miss me? You miss me, but you never court me, is that correct?” she retorts.  “I overheard you at my mama’s ball last season, telling everyone how you would've never, ever court Penelope Featherington.”

Colin then suggests they talk “somewhere more private,” and Penelope replies before walking away, “Because I embarrass you. Of course, you would never court me. I'm the laughingstock of the ton even when I change my entire wardrobe. It just never occurred to me that you of all people could be so cruel."

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The first part of Bridgerton season 3 premieres on May 16, and part 2 drops on June 13. Seasons 1 and 2 of Bridgerton — as well as its spinoff, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story — are now streaming on Netflix.

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