KANYE West and Irina Shayk 'hung out in NYC' before their romantic getaway to France.
The Russian model is said to be 'smitten' with the rapper who is in the middle of divorce proceedings with his ex Kim Kardashian.
The pair have sent the rumour mill into overdrive as they were spotted spending time together in a luxury hotel in Provence in the south of France to mark the Yeezy mogul's 44th birthday.
But sources have now confirmed Irina, 35, and the father-of-four were spending time together in New York City.
One told People: "They have known each other professionally for years. He started pursuing her a few weeks ago. Kanye is a persuasive guy.
"He hung out with her in NYC before they celebrated his birthday in France."
They added: "She seems smitten. He invited her to France and she happily accepted.
"They are not officially dating, but there is an interest from both sides."
Their trip away was reported by TMZ, who said the duo seemed comfortable in each other's presence as they strolled around the grounds of a boutique hotel.
According to the photos shared by DailyMail.com, the Victoria's Secret model was sporting a simple outfit made up of a white tee that showed off her toned stomach and white pants.
Kanye, on the other hand, smiled and laughed as he walked behind her in a dark outfit complimented with a gold chain.
Kanye and Irina reportedly chatted and laughed and "looked very much like a couple," as TMZ reported.
Despite spending most of their time on their own, the pair was joined by a group of Kanye's team as they took in the rural sights.
Even though the two are said to be romantically involved, they kept their hands to themselves during their stroll.
Kanye and Irina – who has a daughter with ex Bradley Cooper – were first romantically linked late last month by gossip site Deux Moi, who claimed they were "dating."
Sources exclusively told The Sun at the time that Kanye's ex Kim Kardashian was not "upset or bothered" by the rumors.
“She's not bothered at all about it, no one in her circle appears to care or believe it," an insider said.
The source added: "Even if it is true, I doubt she'll even be upset at this point."
Irina's connection to Kanye goes as far back as 2010, when she appeared in the music video for his song Power.
In the clip, the mother-of-one wears a revealing gold outfit as she kneels beside Kanye.
She also walked the runway for Kanye's Fall/Winter fashion collection at Paris Fashion Week in 2012.
More recently, Irina wore a $200 DMX tribute T-shirt that Kanye designed with fashion house Balenciaga in April.
She rocked the T-shirt while on a walk in New York with Lea – the four-year-old daughter she shares with ex Bradley.
Irina and A Star Is Born actor Bradley, 45, split in June 2019 after four years of dating and they share custody of Lea.
As for Kanye, Kim filed for divorce in February after months of speculation that their six-year marriage was over.
They have four children together – North, seven, Saint, five, Chicago, three, and Psalm, two.
Sources exclusively told The Sun this week that Kim hopes the rapper moves on first and starts dating someone before she does.
An insider tells us: "It's a tricky situation – I think Kim is hoping that Kanye dates first. She needs to know how he'll react to her dating."
Kim's divorce filing comes several months after Kanye – who has bipolar – went on a series of rants during a presidential rally and on Twitter about Kim and her family.
The Yeezy mogul claimed last summer that Kim considered aborting their child North, compared Kris Jenner to dictator Kim Jong-un and said he'd been trying to divorce Kim for almost two years.
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