Maura Higgins and Joey Essex ‘smitten’ after secret dates before public snog

Joey Essex and Maura Higgins sent reality TV fans into a spin last week after sharing THAT steamy kiss at the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards – then heading home together in a taxi.

And now, a source close to the glamorous pair has exclusively revealed that their night of passion was no one-off.

They claim Love Island star Maura, 31, and TOWIE legend Joey, 32, had been growing close for weeks before they set tongues wagging with their awards PDA. “Joey thinks Maura is the one for him,” said our source.

“He’s smitten with her – and she’s smitten with him. They were secretly seeing each other before the awards and feel they’ve met their soulmates. They couldn’t take their eyes off each other that night and couldn’t hide their feelings.

"They are head over heels!"

Our source also revealed that Joey – who has previously enjoyed romances with TOWIE co-star Sam Faiers, Made In Chelsea’s Stephanie Pratt and Love Island star Ellie Brown – thinks Maura is his “ideal” woman.

And they added that Joey and Maura had been flirting on social media ahead of last week’s star-studded bash at London’s Grosvenor House.

“They’ve been keeping it quiet until now because it’s early days,” our source said. “They’re still getting to know each other but they make each other happy.

“Joey has wanted a girlfriend for a long time. He’s very flirty but he’s never been able to find the right girl. Maura, meanwhile, has always gone for the wrong guy – and Joey has come along at just the right time.”

The revelation comes just weeks after Joey told new he was tired of casual dating and set on finding “The One”.

“I’ve been there and done that with having minor flings,” he said. “If I’m going to have a proper, serious girlfriend in the spotlight, and she’s going to be welcomed into my family and my life, she’s got to be The One.”

Joey, who’s currently in training for ITV reality contest Dancing On Ice, even said he expected his next girlfriend to be the person he’s “going to have kids with”.

Meanwhile, there was allegedly a little more to the Pride Of Britain drama. Maura’s most recent ex, Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice, 32, reportedly “stormed off” after catching wind of her smooch with Joey.

Although his rep denied this, an onlooker claimed that Giovanni “walked right past [Maura and Joey] in a huff”.

What a night!


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