"I don't want to bore you, but really, we are just friends," Connolly told People in a Wednesday report. "We've gone out to dinner a few times, we've gone to a Halloween party, but I don't even know her."
The 33-year-old Entourage actor said he was "actively pursuing" Hough during an interview with Howard Stern last month. Connolly said the two met at the Los Angeles club Hyde and added he talked to Hough "practically" every day and even sat in the studio audience for a Dancing with the Stars fifth-season performance episode taping.
While Hough subsequently claimed she and Connolly were "just friends" -- that apparently didn't stop Connolly, who reportedly paid "several thousand dollars" on a diamond and 18-karat, white-gold ring for Hough. Her representative confirmed to People that Hough did receive the ring from Connolly, but once again "insisted" the two are "just friends" and "not dating."
"You meet people, you like them, you go out to dinner," Connolly told People, attempting to explain what happened. "People see you at dinner, they take pictures, and things get misconstrued."
Connolly's pursuit of Hough began while she was pursuing her second consecutive mirror ball trophy, which she subsequently captured with celebrity partner Helio Castroneves during Dancing with the Stars fifth-season finale broadcast last week.
"She deserves it," Connolly told People. "I say good for her."