Maura Higgins addresses those pictures with Joey Essex
Maura Higgins has finally broken her silence after pictures emerged this week of her and Joey Essex at the Pride of Britain Awards getting very close.
After attending the award show on Monday night, the two seemed to share an intimate moment together as they appeared to be kissing before leaving together in a taxi.
After much speculation, the former Love Island star has taken it upon herself to address the rumours, writing on Instagram that that's just how she greets people.
The Longford native shared a friends clip to her Story on Tuesday where she could be seen licking her friend's face, which her friend had captioned: "She's a licker."
Reposting it to her own story, Maura said: "It's how I greet people".
Romance rumours have been swirling around Maura and the TOWIE star after the pair were spotted smooching at Monday night's Pride of Britain Awards.
At the event, which was held in the Grosvenor Hotel in London, the pair were seen getting close at the hotel's bar. Joey was subsequently spotted embracing Maura, and resting his head on her shoulder.
The two were also spotted kissing and getting very cosy as they made their way out of the event.
Last year, Maura split from her boyfriend, Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice after a number of months together.
At the time, Giovanni announced their split by sharing a written statement on Instagram and Twitter.
He wrote: "Firstly great relationships with great people can come to a natural end. This has been the case for me recently.
"There was absolutely no wrongdoing and this should be the end of any speculation.
"Whilst I respect and understand interest in my personal life, wouldn't it be fantastic to instead use this space to raise awareness of subject and issues which need the attention.
"My eyes have been opened to so many things during my career. But I am learning so much from this series of Strictly.
"The show has highlighted many important conversations for different communities and increased representation.
"These are the conversations which deserve the time, energy and recognition.
"We must concentrate on what's important and how we can all make a difference in life."