Dominic Monaghan currently plays Charlie, the burned-out rocker stranded on an isle of the damned on ABC's Lost. But as the Dec. 14 release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Extended DVD Version approaches, we're bringing him back to his life and times as Frodo's fellow hobbit, Merry Brandybuck. Specifically, TV Guide Online wants the scoop on those gay rumors — both on-screen and off. Was there ever anything behind Frodo and Sam's legendary longing looks? And just how close were boon companions Merry and Pippin? Or were those hairy-footed hobbits — and their cute portrayers — just friends? Here, Monaghan dishes the dirt.

TV Guide Online: You've got a big female fan base. Are you still unattached?
Dominic Monaghan:
I am. I'm working so much. I still enjoy female company, but in terms of anything really serious, that's not really where my head's at.

TVGO: Your good pal Billy Boyd (Pippin) has a serious girlfriend, right?
Monaghan:
Yes, Billy's been seeing the same girl now for about three years, which is terribly heartbreaking to me. No more long winter nights together like we used to. No, that's not true.

TVGO: Um, since you brought it up...
Monaghan:
There's been scandalous gay rumors like that flying around me and Elijah [Wood], and me and Billy. I remember reading in the press that I had stayed at Elijah's house — and [that] we had made up some rumor that I was seeing Elijah's sister, so that Elijah and I could continue our lurid affair with each other. It cracks us both up.

TVGO: Wow!
Monaghan:
And then there's stuff about me and Billy being lovers because we're such good friends. It's an interesting thing, because you look at Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler, actresses who are tight [friends]. There's never any stuff like "Oooh, maybe they're gay." But with guys, it's like the media and the fans can't come to terms with the fact that guys can be so connected in that way. We can be overjoyed to be in each other's company.

TVGO: Playing hobbits probably helped the rumors. The joke goes like this: Why are hobbits like Englishmen?
Monaghan:
Why?

TVGO: They sure seem gay.
Monaghan:
(Laughs) That's a great joke! But sure, there's a connection. Hobbits are very openhearted. They're very genuine. They're very pure with their emotions. If they feel love, they show it. If they're sad, they cry. [Director] Pete [Jackson] cast four hobbits who were very open with their emotions. I do love Billy and Elijah and Sean [Astin]. They're my brothers. I'd do anything for them, and I really enjoy being in their space and I miss them when they're not around. If that for some reason is translated into being gay, then I think that's a real shame.

TVGO: Ah, but let's quiz you on some interesting hobbit lore: Where did Pippin and Merry die in the books?
Monaghan:
They leave the Shire and they go to Rohan to give their tribute to the kings there. And then, they go to Gondor and they see Faramir and Eowyn. I think they both die in Gondor and are buried next to each other, which is a really beautiful thing.

TVGO: Right you are, Dom. Right you are. Hmm...

For much more Lord of the Rings dish, read the current issue of TV Guide magazine — and keep an eye on TV Guide Online's Insider!