27 APRIL 2009

The intimate pictures of them sharing a romantic lunch date in Israel gave the game away. Slumdog Millionaire stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto are much closer than they've previously admitted.

And the actor's mum Anita has confirmed their movie romance has spilled over into real life, saying: "Life can't get any better for him."

"Freida is really beautiful and I am really happy for them," she told the Mirror. "Yes, we knew he was flying to Israel to see her."

The 18-year-old Brit jetted to Jerusalem where his sweetheart is filming her latest project Miral. During their rendezvous 24-year-old Freida rested her head on Dev's shoulder, to gaze up at him with eyes filled with affection.

While earlier this year their co-star Anil Kapoor revealed the couple had "magical chemistry" on the set until now they've always kept a discreet distance from each other.

Last month the Indian beauty said: "I won't talk about my relationship with Dev." For his part the attractive British star was keeping equally mum, saying: "She is very beautiful but there's no romance."

Photo: Getty Images
At this year's Oscars ceremony the on-screen couple looked like love was blossoming away from the set too - a state of affairs that was confirmed by his mother this week. "I am really happy for them," said Anita Patel after the couple were pictured on an intimate lunch date in Israel