Super-secretive couple Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx made a rare public appearance together this week, partying at Foxx's 50th birthday.

They are one of Hollywood's most publicity-shy couples, never confirming their relationship status — and going to great lengths to avoid being seen together.

But in candid photos from Foxx's birthday celebrations in Los Angeles, the pair can be seen smiling, laughing and warmly embracing each other.

After years of conducting their relationship behind closed doors, Foxx and Holmes have slowly started to step into the public eye of late — a decision that is believed to be related to Holmes' 2012 divorce to A-lister Tom Cruise.

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Rumours of a relationship between the stars began in 2013, but according to Radar Online, Holmes agreed not to publicly date another man for five years in exchange for US$5.8 million ($8.3m) in child support and US$6.2m for herself.

An insider claimed: "Katie signed a clause in her quickie divorce settlement that prevents her from embarrassing Tom in various ways, like talking about him or Scientology, or publicly dating another man for five years after the divorce.

"She's allowed to date, but she cannot do so in a public fashion, and she's not supposed to let any boyfriend near their daughter, Suri."

With a rumoured five-year ban up in August, the pair have been slightly more open about the relationship — even photographed holding hands in September. Earlier pictures of the pair were usually unguarded.