In steamy photos released this week, Murphy was photographed kissing married Hollywood director Antoine Fuqua poolside at a hotel in Ischia, Italy. Fuqua, who is married to actress Lela Rochon, was shirtless with a towel around his waist while Murphy wore a floral-print bikini.
Murphy, who has previously been linked to Michael Strahan and Eddie Murphy, insists any rumors of an affair are simply a big misunderstanding and that their kiss was completely innocent.
In a statement to B.Scott, the 51-year-old revealed, “Antoine and I are just family friends. I ran into him in Italy and we exchanged a friendly hello and that was it.”
Sharpe fans, who are well aware of his love for the mother of five, took to social media, assuming he may be heartbroken over the pictures.
Someone please check on @ShannonSharpe cuz Nicole Murphy just broke his heart 🤦🏾♂️— NOLA (@SuperNola1) July 23, 2019
Unc Shannon Sharpe basically went 1st verse Jodeci “Fienin” for Nicole Murphy, and she rather mess with married men. The game ain’t fair. Worry bout yourselves Kings. pic.twitter.com/SYlSGUk3kT— Deion Sandals on my toes (@kendohu) July 23, 2019
Shannon sharpe yelling to his best friend about Nicole Murphy pic.twitter.com/rslTauNfxo— bluffcityuniforms.com (@SpaceAgePimping) July 23, 2019
Nicole Murphy kissing on married men but still hasn't given Uncle @ShannonSharpe a shot! 😒— #TashaTaughtYou (@VoGueViXenTASH) July 23, 2019
However, the former football star seemed to brush off the rumors, optimistically replying to a fans tweet on Twitter. "They're just friends," he responded. "That's still my girl and I love her."
They’re just friends. That’s still my girl and I love her. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/ByBIM8jl7I— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) July 23, 2019
The FS1 host first made his crush on Murphy public on Twitter in 2017.
I want Nicole Murphy. He nor I will get what we want 😂😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/qbHGE8CcYk— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) August 30, 2017
He has also mentioned her on his “Undisputed” show numerous times- so much, in fact, that a fan created a montage of him name-dropping Murphy, which she then responded to on Twitter.
Wow!!!! This has me crying laughing 🤣🤣 https://t.co/EgTXBOfg2D— Nicole Murphy (@Nicole_Murphy) October 16, 2017
He even posted a picture of them together at the gym:
Neither the “Training Day” director or Rochon, 55, have publicly commented on the photos.
Rochon has since deactivated her Twitter and Instagram accounts after the pictures went viral.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic