Russell Crowe linked to Billy Joel's ex

Officially, they’re just friends, but that has not stopped speculation that newly single Russell Crowe has a new girlfriend.

Reports out of New York this afternoon claim Crowe has struck up a relationship with Billy Joel’s ex-wife,  described in the US as "foxy foodie" Katie Lee.

According to the New York Post the pair were ‘‘cuddling in front of a romantic fireplace’’ at the Greenwich Hotel at 3am on Sunday morning.

The report has also been picked up by the British tabloids, however Crowe himself has remained silent on the matter.

A US spokesman for Crowe told reporters the pair were just "friends".

Crowe is due in Sydney on December 21 for the Les Miserable premiere at the State Theatre and friends say he intends to spend Christmas with his sons, Charles and Tennyson, at his farm at Nana Glen, near Coffs Harbour, before returning to New York.

But back in the Big Apple, the Post claimed Crowe was "in an intense flirtatious conversation" with Lee, 31, who split with Joel after five years of marriage in 2009.

She was among the crowd at New York’s Joe’s Pub on Saturday to watch Crowe, 48, perform with an all-star crowd and engage in a singing battle with his Les Miserables co-star Hugh Jackman.

In October Fairfax Media revealed that Crowe and Danielle Spencer had separated after nine years of marriage.

Crowe, currently in New York filming Winter's Tale, has since publicly stated he needed to ‘‘spend more time’’ with his family.

This story Russell Crowe linked to Billy Joel's ex first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.