Movie star Jamie Foxx and Desperate Housewives beauty Eva Longoria recently found themselves denying suggestions they are romantically involved, after reportedly being spotted hugging at a glitzy Golden Globes aftershow party, before leaving the bash together.

The Oscar-winning actor immediately quashed any dating rumours, insisting he and Eva, who is dating US basketball star Tony Parker, are just friends who met after she starred in his new music video.

"I told Tony I would look after her.

That's it," he insisted.

And last week, the actress, who plays cheating Gabrielle Solis in the hit Channel 4 show, joined in, saying: "I did Jamie's music video for him, so we're friends. He has Tony's blessing."

But whatever the truth of the story, with Valentine's Day just gone and the unmistakable buzz of romance still in the air, would you recognise the signs that you and one of your female pals could be more than "just friends"?

HIDDEN FEELINGS "The tell-tale signs you should look out for when considering whether a close friend of the opposite sex could be a lover are based on dependency and desire," explains Christine Northam, a Relate counsellor.

"Even the best friendships are notas intimate as a romantic relationship and, whenever we begin a new one, we want to feel secure so if you are suddenly finding yourself wanting to spend more and more time with your friend and feeling you would like them to be there for you in a different way,you may want to reconsider the status of your relationship."

Northam says people can be nothing but good friends for years and then still find their feelings towards each other become romantic, simply because most relationships and the complex interdependencies within them change as time passes.

"You may wake up one day and realise you have both been through a lot together.

You may suddenly start to feel jealous of your friend's partner or romantic conquests or it may be your mutual friends think you'd make a great couple and make no bones about telling you both," she says.

But the most obvious sign you are moving from a platonic relationship to a romantic one is that you find your friend sexually attractive in a way you have never done before, according to Northam.

"In general you will probably find yourself thinking far more about what they have said to you and vice versa, analysing their motives, wanting to see them as often as possible and, of course, desiring them sexually.

"But do be careful," she advises.

"Many people flirt outrageously as part of their everyday personality and so make sure you know what they are like with their other friends before you think about making any moves."

FROM FRIENDS TO LOVERS The transition from platonic friends to lovers can actually be much smoother than simply meeting someone and flinging yourself headlong into a relationship without knowing the other person very well, Northam says.

"Most of us meet our partners in a social or work context, so there is always an element of friendship in the relationship anyway.

"This is especially advantageous the longer you have been friends because there are not going to be any huge surprises in terms of their family and social life or their habits and how they conduct their personal lives.

"However, before you start, you should both sit down together and talk about how you are going to handle the situation if the romantic part doesn't work out for you as a couple," she warns.

"Talk as much as you possibly can before you decide to get together and assess the risks especially about how you will cope with issues such as mutual friends and each other's families, who you may have known for years."

PROS AND CONS "If it is a particularly close platonic friendship you have shared the good and bad times together, from job losses to heartbreaks and you are ready to take it further, the fear is that, if things don't work out, you will lose the friendship as well," says relationship counsellor Zelda West-Meads.

"Of course, it's not always easy to recapture that friendship if one or both of you falls out of love, so people are often afraid to jeopardise that.

"Another issue is that people are very ambivalent towards taking things further with their friend to begin with, in case they get rejected, after which things between them might become awkward.

"It is very difficult to gauge how the other person feels without telling them how you feel it would be convenient if people felt the same things at the same time but, sadly, life isn't always like that," she points out.

"Sometimes two people do gradually realise they have feelings for each other and then the merest touch or friendly kiss will suddenly feel different.

Some will say there isn't that same magical falling in love', which is all about getting to know the other person, trying new things and going on a voyage of discovery but that part often fades away anyway.

"At least this way you could end up being part of an enduring relationship which is loving as well as sexual."