Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere by John Shearer/WireImage.com Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere by John Shearer/WireImage.com

Date the cheerleader, answer to the world. That's how Milo Ventimiglia must be feeling ever since rumors surfaced (only to be denied) that he and Heroes "niece" Hayden Panettiere are romantically involved. People has crowned the couple "an item," with a source telling the tab that when the Heroes are together, "They're very affectionate.... He really takes care of her, even down to the little things like giving her a back massage." All my uncle ever gives me is a $15 check at birthday time.

Similarly, an "eyewitness" tells the U.K.'s Sun that at a pre-Christmas party at the Water Grill in L.A., "[Milo] called [Hayden] his girlfriend and said that he loved her."

Hayden's rep tells People, "We do not respond to inquiries from the media regarding Ms. Panettiere's personal life."