STRICTLY co-stars Maisie Smith and Max George kissed and cuddled on a packed jet taking them on a romantic holiday.
Max has told friends that he is seriously smitten with Maisie.
The pair were seen “all over each other” on a packed Jet2 budget holiday flight to Crete.
Their secret romance emerged after the couple grew increasingly close on the Strictly live tours. It also comes after Max split for a second time from Ryan Giggs’ ex-wife Stacey, which we revealed last week.
A source said of the loved-up couple, who we understand have also recently been on holiday to Portugal together: “This isn’t a flash in the pan.
“Max has told people that he is falling in love with Maisie.”
The couple are apparently trying to keep their love under wraps but eagle-eyed holidaymakers saw them “snogging” as they jetted off to the Greek island of Crete last Sunday.
One passenger said: “They looked like a very loved-up couple — they were all over each other for the entire four-hour flight.
“Snogging and giggling like any new couple.”
Most read in The Sun
Max, 33, wore a hat to hide his trademark shaved head while Maisie, 21, sported dark sunglasses as they attempted to go unrecognised on the Jet2 budget flight from Manchester Airport.
As they settled into their front-row seats, the disguised celebrities were seen cuddling soon after take-off just before 3pm.
The passenger said: “We recognised Maisie at first. They were both wearing sunglasses even on the plane and Max was also wearing a red bucket hat, so it looked like they were trying to be a bit incognito.
“They are definitely an item. My wife said it was a bit over the top at one stage.
“They were smooching, holding hands and kissing.”
Max and Maisie, who has played Tiffany Butcher in Albert Square since she was six, broke off from their romantic clinches at one stage to tuck into a bag of Haribo.
They also donned neck supports while drinking coffee.
As the plane came in to land, it appeared that their efforts to keep a low profile had worked.
The passenger who did spot them said: “It paid off because I don’t think anyone but my wife and I recognised them.” After touching down at Heraklion just after 9pm local time, Max carried both their bags as the couple made their way through arrivals.
Their cloak-and-dagger break came after we revealed on Saturday that Max and his girlfriend Stacey Giggs, 43, had broken up for a second time.
'FEARFUL OF THE STRICTLY CURSE'
The couple, who got together in 2018, briefly split in March but got back together. Stacey also supported Max at the funeral of his tragic Wanted bandmate Tom Parker the following month.
But pals told last weekend how the pair parted for good in June.
A source said: “This will be a bitter pill for Stacey to swallow.
“Max and Stacey were together for years and to see him move on so quickly with another woman will break her heart. She was always fearful of the Strictly curse and now it’s struck – it’s like everything she feared has come true.
“Maisie and Max say they started dating only after he and Stacey broke up in June. They have told their friends, ‘It’s love.’”
Max, whose hits with The Wanted include All Time Low, was kicked off 2020’s Strictly after losing to Maisie in a dance-off. She went on to finish as runner-up.
But they became close on the Strictly Live tour which started in January this year. Maisie was a last-minute replacement for TV presenter AJ Odudu, 34, who had injured her ankle.
They then went on to appear together in a 35-date live tour — Strictly Presents: Keeeep Dancing — during June and July
A source said: “Maisie and Max knew each other on Strictly back in 2020 but they were both so busy on the show they never got to know one another properly.
“But on the Strictly live tour at the start of the year they became good friends.
'IT GOT SERIOUS PRETTY QUICKLY'
“They spent a lot of their time together and would always be seen joking around in the dressing rooms and after the shows.
“Max was sent home from Strictly following a dance-off with Maisie on the proper show so that also became a running joke between them.
“Their close friendship then grew stronger on the second Strictly tour this summer.”
Before their Crete getaway this week, The Sun understands that she and Max had also been soaking up the Portuguese sun with some Strictly pals.
Maisie posed on her hotel balcony in a black thong while on the Algarve and shared the results with her followers on Instagram.
The source added: “Maisie and Max said that they got together when his relationship with Stacey was over.
“It got serious pretty quickly. Max joined Maisie on a holiday in Portugal with two of their friends from the live tours.
“Maisie and Max both shared pictures but didn’t show publicly they were there together.
“They planned a new trip to Crete where they flew to from Manchester.”
The source went on: “Maisie and Max are acting like love-struck teenagers. Their close friends and family have known they are together for a while and are pleased for them.”
Tony: I’m Gunner be a star on Strictly
By Fay Leyfield
FOOTBALL legend Tony Adams is the latest name confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing.
The former Arsenal skipper, 55, will be swapping balls for the ballroom as he battles it out for another trophy.
He said: “To say I’m excited is an understatement. I’m absolutely thrilled to be giving it my all on this year’s 20th series of Strictly.
“I can’t wait to meet my partner — God help her — and start dancing.”
England star Tony spent his 19-year playing career with Arsenal.
He was known for his no-nonsense approach to defending — but not for his elegance.
Tony famously hoisted up team-mate Steve Morrow to celebrate his winning goal in the 1993 League Cup final, then dropped him — badly breaking his arm.
Tony went on to be a successful manager for clubs including Wycombe and Portsmouth.
The dad of five, who overcame a battle with the booze, is married to his second wife, Poppy Teacher.
Joining Tony on this year’s show is CBBC star Molly Rainford, 21.
She found fame aged 11 when she was the youngest ever finalist of Britain’s Got Talent.
Molly said: “I’m so excited. I’ve watched the show for years and can’t wait to meet the pros and the others taking part. I can’t wait to learn the moves!”
Other Glitterball hopefuls include Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, Bros star Matt Goss, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and Corrie actors Will Mellor and Kym Marsh.