Nayantara was romantically linked with the film's director and co-actor Silambarasan while shooting for her Tamil film Vallavan, however she denied the statement. During the making and after the release of her film Villu, she was in a relationship with the movie director Prabhu Deva. She had tattooed his name on her wrist and began appearing with him in public, while neither keeping silence and refusing to comment about the issue, denying nor confirming the relationship.
In September 2010, Prabhu Deva openly confessed his love for Nayantara and further stated that he would marry her soon. The issue soon gained media attention and turned into a controversy, since Prabhu Deva was already married and not divorced yet, with his wife Ramalath, and she does not agree for a divorce. She even filed a petition at the family court, seeking directions against her husband and Nayantara from marrying, attending functions together and receiving awards as husband and wife and requesting a reunion with him. Furthermore, Ramalath threatened to go on hunger strike, if Prabhu Deva married Nayantara, while some women's organizations also conducted protests against Nayantara for "bringing disrepute to Tamil culture", burning an effigy of her.