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Katy Perry Says Niall Horan Is 'Always Trying' to Flirt with Her – but He Swears He Just Wants to Be Friends

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Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Katy Perry isn’t interested in Niall Horan‘s slow hands.

The star claimed this week that she’s had to rebuff the 23-year-old singer’s advances, telling Australian radio show Fitzy & Wippa, “He’s always trying to like, get my number, to like, maybe flirt with me but I’m like, ‘I could babysit you. I’m like your mom!’ ”

Perry, 32, did still gush about the star, however, noting, “Niall’s amazing, I love him, and I think we feel very connected in a way because, I, like, have helped him get through The X Factor to join his group [One Direction].”

Back in 2010, when Horan auditioned for the reality TV competition series, Perry – a judge – cast the deciding vote to allow the then-teen to advance.

Now that Horan’s a “big star” she jokes, ” ‘Cool, I guess that means I have taste?'”

Horan, however, is refuting Perry’s claims in his own appearance on an Australian outlet, The ProjectJoking, Horan pleaded this week, “Katy, please stop being mean to me.”

“She’s just finding any excuse now to just patronize me and go around spreading rumors about me. I just want to be your friend,” he teased, adding, “I mean, she is talking like she is about 55 years older than me. She is not that much older than me.”

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He also returned Perry’s praise, telling The Project, “She’s one of my favorite people that I know. I wish everyone could be friends with Katy Perry, she’s hilarious.”

The pair have been flirty in the past, even joking on social media in 2013 that they’d gotten engaged. A year prior, Horan revealed that he’d stolen a smooch from Perry at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2012, telling British Cosmopolitan, “It was amazing and very purple – she had purple lipstick on. I don’t think there will ever be anything cooler than kissing her … until I marry her, maybe.”