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Michael Phelps Plays It Coy About Girlfriend

First Posted: 10/01/08 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:40 PM ET

Phelps

Michael Phelps definitely isn't complaining about being considered an eligible bachelor.

"It feels pretty cool," Phelps, 23, told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview at Walt Disney World's America's Homecoming Parade in Orlando on Friday. "I don't feel any different. I'm just having fun with this."

But when it comes to recent rumors linking him to Nicole Johnson, a former Miss California USA runner up, he's remaining coy. "I never said I have a girlfriend, and I never said I don't have a girlfriend," said Phelps. "My public and private life are separate. I keep my private life to myself."

Johnson, who spoke to PEOPLE recently, wouldn't confirm a courtship but says, "we're good friends."

The 14-time Olympic gold medalist did open up about his strangest encounter with female fans. He described a girl in the crowd at the Disney parade who held up a neon green sign that said "Congratulations, Michael" on one side and "Call me" with her phone number on the other. "I started laughing," says Phelps.

Keep reading People's interview

PLUS:

Phelps previously denied dating Amanda Beard

Phelps was spotting making out with Stephanie Rice

AND:

Phelps will host Saturday Night Live

He will appear on Oprah

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Filed by Katherine Thomson  |