"I mean, I love him. We have always connected; we have the best time together," Cabello said of Mendes.
In an interview with Elle for their October cover story, the "Havana" singer expressed why she won't confirm a romance -- despite being pictured locking lips with the pop star on multiple occasions.
When asked if she believes the secrecy created more buzz, Cabello replied, "I don't know; people can say whatever they want. They can speculate, but at the same time, we are going to live our own lives, enjoy it, and fall for each other like nobody is watching. That is how I want to live."
"I never want to open the door for people to feel like they are involved," she continued. "Like I said, I want it to be mine and [his]. That's why I’m so tight-lipped about it: because I want to protect it."
However, Cabello was much more open when it came to speaking about her professional relationship with Mendes and their chart-topping duet, "Señorita," which the pair performed at the MTV VMAs last month.
"I mean, I love him. We have always connected; we have the best time together," she said. "Shawn texted me the idea for the chorus for 'Señorita.' He was like, 'Hey, what if we work on this and do it together?' I was on the Taylor Swift tour and hadn't been in the studio for a while."
"I didn't want to do it, and then a few months later, I couldn't get the song out of my head," Cabello continued. "I [finally] told him, 'I think we should do this.' He was like, 'I don't want to do it anymore.' It went back and forth for, like, eight months. Then we finally went into the studio and reworked it so we both felt good about it, without any pressure. I love working with him so much."
While speaking about her second album, which she's currently working on, the former Fifth Harmony member expressed that she didn't really fall in love until recently.
"Honestly, this past year and a half was the first time I really experienced falling in love with another person," Cabello said. "I think there is so much more depth to love when you know you are in it with another person. You have so much more to say -- I think that's what makes me emotional."
She added, "I've loved people from afar, but falling in love with someone and having feelings for someone but they don't know.... It's different."
Although Cabello is open with her personal life, she expressed that she's cautious to a "maddening degree" when it comes to her romantic relationships.
"Love is the most sacred, precious thing to me," she said. "I want to always feel like my love is between me and that person, and never belonging to anyone else. As much as I love my fans, and as much as I love people, I like to live my life as normally as possible."
"In a relationship, it makes me feel uncomfortable to invite everyone in on that," she added.
Cabello and Mendes, who first collaborated back in 2015 for the pop hit "I Know What You Did Last Summer," were first romantically linked back in June when they released their sexy video for "Señorita." The music video premiered only a few days before it was revealed Cabello had split from dating coach Matthew Hussey, who she dated for over a year.
Over the summer, Cabello and Mendes were spotted kissing in public on multiple occasions.
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