NEW YORK: New York-based Nepalese designer Prabal Gurung has denied rumours about having a "romantic relationship" with Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar.
A photograph of the two, now deleted by the designer, took social media in a tizzy on Sunday.
Gurung has now released a statement on Twitter clarifying that Karan is just his "dearest friend".
He wrote: "Can we have some humour and levity please. I feel very saddened and disappointed to need to say this, but to officially set the record straight: I am not in a romantic relationship with Karan Johar," he wrote in the post.
No, I am not dating @karanjohar He is my dearest friend, mentor, buddy and a big brother. Pls. Kindly read the attachement with my statement and hopefully we can lay it all to rest. Wish you all nothing but the best and love XPG pic.twitter.com/I5UQkIt2fx— Prabal Gurung (@prabalgurung) May 26, 2019
The designer said his Instgram post of Karan and him was done with "humour and my absolute love of Bollywood, it's melodramatic flair and the one and only Madhubala".
"It has subsequently been misconstrued as Karan an me being in a relationship. Karan is one of my dearest friends."
He added that he turns to Karan, whom he described as his mentor, guru, confidante and a big brother, at the time of need.
"We've seen each other through our respective highs and lows. Karan is someone I deeply admire and respect . Not only has he been there for me, he's been there for my family as well. I admire his wit, compassion, and his empathy for this world," he added.
Gurung wrote that he loves Karan but only as a friend.
"These reasons and many, many more is why I love Karan. But as a friend, as a big brother , as someone who I can always count on. To misconstrue my deep love for Karan as a romantic relationship is immature, unfounded and frankly very damaging in the 21st century - In this time of incredible divisiveness and othering that is happening all over the world."
The designer clarified that he was in a romantic relationship but not with Karan.
"I have been in a happy romantic relationship for over five years - with someone else -- not Karan. There is not just one kind of love, one definition of love."
Gurung said that as a "global society, we need to expand the horizon and definition of love. I feel that each and every one of us need to love whoever we want, however we want to love them -- unabashedly, openly and proudly."