Nichelle Nichols could see a romance between Uhura and Spock because the original series showed plenty of hints of something between the two characters.
Being young and new to Starfleet meant excitement and romance were part of the game, according to Nichols. “…she was a recruit and this was her first trip out. It was the five-mission where no man or woman had gone before. So J.J. [Abrams] had the right, as the director of the prequel, to show the characters as young people. NASA recruits train for a year, sometimes two, before they go out on their first mission. As young people, they’re excited and they’re new and they’re going to go on this mission, and there’s romance and so forth that’s going to go on.”