The Justin Timberlake and Alisha Wainwright New Orleans hand-holding controversy has captured the attention of body language experts. Fans have been on a frenzy since photos surfaced of the singer and the Raising Dion star getting cozy, laughing and holding hands under a table during a cast outing in the Big Easy while on a filming break for their upcoming film Palmer. While a rep for Wainwright spoke out, as well as many sources, saying that the duo are just friends, many fans fear there might be more to the story. The controversy has also shone a light on Timberlake's marriage to Jessica Biel.
In a new clip from E!'s Daily Pop, the outlet talked to body language expert Blanca Cobb to get a closer look at what the photos tell us of the co-stars' awkward moment.
"She's really comfortable with him," she said on the show. "When you're working with somebody really closely, it's natural to feel comfortable."
One of the co-stars sympathized with the misunderstanding, saying he would also display his love for his co-hosts and if they were captured at a certain time, they could be misconstrued.
Another host asked Cobb about the photo featuring Wainwright and Timberlake's "intertwined" fingers as they held hands at The Absinthe House.
"She's reaching out. He's grabbing her hand. That's another level there," Cobb said in the clip. "When you're out, and you're comfortable with someone, you can get a little flirty... if it goes beyond that, we don't know. However, this really shows that there's some kind of connection between the two of them."
"You just don't grab somebody's hand that you don't have a connection to... That would be weird," she added.
Another co-host asked Cobb to put herself in Biel's shoes and how she would feel seeing the photos online.
"You don't want your partner to show affection for anyone else, even platonic affection. That'd be a little bit of a head scratcher and there'd have to be a conversation," she said. "When it comes to somebody that's in the limelight, you know it's going to take off. And then people are going to speculate... either way you don't hold somebody's hand, intertwine fingers, have your hand on the lower thigh... if you really think about it the leg, and the thigh, that's really getting to an intimate area."
A source told the outlet Timberlake and Biel are hoping to "laugh" off the controversy, though the photos are a clear uncomfortable situation that would make any spouse uncomfortable.
Wainwright's rep released a statement a day after the photos surfaced, saying: "There is no validity to this speculation. They are currently working on a project together. Members of the cast and crew were all together."