Shawn Mendes Calls Hailey Baldwin a ‘Friend’

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There’s nothing holding Shawn Mendes back from debunking relationship rumors.

The “In My Blood” singer stepped out at the 2018 Met Gala with Hailey Baldwin on his arm, leading fans to wonder if they were making their red carpet debut as a couple. But Mendes is putting those theories to rest.

“No, we were not making our big debut,” the singer, 19, tells PEOPLE. “We were both asked to walk by Tommy Hilfiger.”

Shawn Mendes and Hailey Baldwin attend The MET Gala wearing Tommy Hilfiger in New York on May 7, 2018.

Shawn Mendes and Hailey Baldwin attend The MET Gala wearing Tommy Hilfiger in New York on May 7, 2018.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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“Obviously Hailey and I are friends, and it was just really cool for me to be able to walk with her because she’s a vet and it was my first year, so it kind of took the pressure off a little bit,” he adds. “I was thrilled to be able to go with her.”

For more from Shawn Mendes on the inspiration behind his new self-titled album, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE when it hits newsstands on Friday.

For more from Shawn Mendes on the inspiration behind his new self-titled album, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE when it hits newsstands on Friday.

In April, fans and followers were thrown into a frenzy when they shared the first photos of each other on their respective social media pages.

Mendes took to Instagram to share a snap of himself posing with Baldwin, while the 21-year-old model shared portraits of Mendes on Tumblr from his upcoming appearance on her TBS show, Drop the Mic.

The rumor mill went into overdrive after the pair were first spotted holding hands at a Halloween party and later cuddling in his hometown of Toronto over the holidays.

RELATED: Red Carpet Official! See Which Stars Confirmed Their Relationships on the Met Gala Red Carpet

Baldwin spoke with PEOPLE about Mendes in March, ahead of hosting the iHeartRadio Music Awards. “He’s amazing, and I think that his music is also amazing,” she revealed 

But when it comes to dealing with speculation about who she’s dating, Baldwin’s approach is simple.

“I just laugh most of it off. It’s quite funny to me, to be honest. I try to keep that side of my life as private as possible. I don’t feel like I have to explain myself to people because it’s my life,” she said.

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