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October 22, 2018

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Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest’s romance blossoms in Italian Riviera

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Denise Truscello/WireImage

Julianne Hough at Yellowtail in the Bellagio on April 17, 2010.

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Regis Philbin, Joy Philbin, Ryan Seacrest and Victor Drai at XS in the Encore.

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Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough at the Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 5, 2009.

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Peter Wentz, his wife, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and her sister, Jessica Simpson, celebrate Simpson-Wentz' 25th birthday at the MGM Grand's Wet Republic, Oct., 3, 2009.

It began as an unconfirmed rumor, then the whispers started, and Vegas DeLuxe reported that our hometown darling Julianne Hough had started quietly dating American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. Over the weekend after a month of speculation, the twosome went public with their romance. Ryan was already onboard a yacht in Italy when Julianne flew there to join him.

Julianne, who stars with Cher and Christina Aguilera in the upcoming film Burlesque, and Ryan were spotted arm in arm hugging and kissing while visiting Portofino in Italy. Eyewitnesses even reported them kissing openly on the deck with Julianne’s legs wrapped around Ryan’s waist.

They are aboard a private luxury yacht on the Italian Riviera en route to Europe’s golden playgrounds of Sardinia and Monte Carlo. They strolled along the harbor-front boutiques of the picturesque Italian town that’s played host to love-locked VIPs and celebrities for decades.

Producer, deejay and TV host Ryan, a 35-year-old bachelor regarded as one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors, held hands with Julianne as he pointed out the sightseeing highlights. Ryan, who was here in Las Vegas recently for the Dick Clark tribute during the Daytime Emmys at the Las Vegas Hilton, is being tipped to take over Larry King’s CNN anchor seat.

Julianne was previously involved with fellow country singer Chuck Wicks, and they were partnered on Dancing With the Stars. They broke up in November after dating for 15 months. She once dated her younger brother Derek Hough’s best friend and bandmate Mark Ballas. Julianne won the ABC show twice, with Olympic speedskating champion Apolo Anton Ohno and racecar driver Helio Castroneves. She’s talked about returning to the show, but there has been no announcement.

Hollywood insiders are saying that her role in Burlesque will give her movie stardom to add to her hit recording career. After being photographed in long passionate embraces while onboard Ryan’s yacht, she commented: “I am so excited. This is my first vacation in five years. I’ve never had 10 consecutive days off!”

There are early morning reports from TMZ that the couple were at the Billionaire’s Club in Sardinia, where Ryan picked up a $41,000 dinner check and left a $10,000 tip for several people in the group and friends at nearby tables.

Incidentally, also vacationing in Italy and going public with their 3-month old romance is Jessica Simpson, celebrating her 30th birthday on a shopping spree in Rome, with Eric Johnson, formerly of the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers. (She previously dated Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for two years).

Jessica and Eric were photographed onboard a yacht from Capri to Pompeii near Naples, with her legs also wrapped tightly around his waist. Don’t quite know who is following whom in this new love, tied up pose. Maybe she’ll demonstrate it on her Season 2 of The Price of Beauty on VH1?

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.