"I'm thrilled," she says, responding to reports she's been seeing 20-year-old pipeline worker

By Sara Hammel
January 24, 2011 04:15 PM
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Bristol Palin is managing to be both excited and coy about reports she’s dating a new guy.

When asked on KWHL’s The Bob & Mark Show Friday if she and a 20-year-old Alaska pipeline worker are an item as rumored, she replied, “Are you guys getting personal with me, really?”

But the hosts on the Anchorage-based show pushed her to just admit she has a new boyfriend, helpfully suggesting that she say, “Yeah, you know what, I’m seeing a guy and he’s really great and Tripp loves him and we’re having a really good time and we’re really good friends.”

Palin, 20, responded with a chuckle, “Yeah, we can go with that. I’m thrilled. I love the town that I live in. I love my house. Tripp’s happy; he’s healthy.”

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The house is a five-bedroom abode in Maricopa, Ariz., she recently purchased for $172,000 and for which she “wrote a check,” she says.

“It was cool. It made Dancing with the Stars worth it, for sure,” added the season 11 runner-up of her purchase.

Palin, who ended her relationship with Levi Johnston, the father of her son Tripp, in August, also acknowledged she has long wanted to change Tripp’s name from Johnston to Palin, but said she hasn’t broached it with Johnston in two years.

“Yeah, I’ve asked Levi to do it many different times, just get it out of the way, just sign over his parental rights, but I don’t know if he will or if he wants to right now,” she said.

She says she’s willing to live without his child-support contributions if he’ll sign over parental rights. “Yeah, of course, I’ve asked him to do that many times – just say, ‘Hey, look, let’s just avoid this custody case that’s been ongoing since Tripp was born just get it over with just sign over your rights.’ ”

“‘He’s always going to be your son, you can see him whenever you want to,’ but he just doesn’t want to sign him over because it looks bad on paper,” she added.

Asked how often Johnston sees Tripp, she said, “Since Dancing With the Stars he’s seen him, at the most, three times.” And not for whole weekends, she claims. “It’s like four hours I think. It’s unfortunate for Tripp.”