The illusionist says he's only helping Spears on a possible awards show performance

By Jed Dreben and Mike Fleeman
Updated August 17, 2007 04:30 PM

Criss Angel is helping prepare Britney Spears for a possible MTV Video Music Awards performance, and their relationship is purely professional, the illusionist tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“It’s amazing what people think,” Angel said Friday. “We’re not together. Her manager is my manager, and I’m helping with one of her shows. I’m helping with her appearance on MTV.”

Rumors flew after the Las Vegas-based Angel, 39, was spotted with Spears, 25, in Los Angeles in recent days, meeting with her and her friends at a restaurant and going with her into a hotel.

Acknowledging the Wednesday night dinner he and Spears shared at Cravings in West Hollywood, Angel said, “Yes, I’m here working on some stuff, and we went to that restaurant with 10 people.”

Says Angel: “We were talking about how she wants to do something more with the [awards] show, and about me helping out and hoping to work with her on doing something to make her MTV appearance more innovative.”

Spears has been in talks to perform at the Sept. 9 show at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Neither MTV nor Spears’s reps have confirmed whether she’ll appear.

“It’s amazing how you can’t do anything now without people making up stuff,” adds Angel.