Maisie Smith and Max George found love one year after starring in Strictly Come Dancing together. And this week, they couple have opened up about their romance in their first joint interview as a couple.
Speaking with HELLO!, 21-year-old Maisie and Max, 34, were quick to defend their 13-year age gap, and described themselves as "like-minded people".
WATCH: Max George and Maisie Smith tell all about their relationship
"It doesn't even come into my head. People ask me: 'Do you notice it?' and I never have," explained the former EastEnders star. "We're so like-minded. I've got friends in their 30s and 40s. You connect with who you connect with."
In agreement, The Wanted's Max added: "It never enters my mind. Mais has already done so many things that I'm in awe of – I look up to her. I was still kicking about [sleeping] on sofas at 21."
Having starred in EastEnders as Bianca Butcher's daughter Tiffany from the age of six until 20, it is surely Maisie's life experience that helps her deal with the constant scrutiny that comes with having a relationship in the limelight.
"I've spent the majority of my life in the public eye and if I listened to every negative comment, I wouldn't leave the house," she stated. "I'm the happiest I've ever been. Only the opinions of the people close to me are important. "My parents couldn't be happier - they know that Max absolutely adores me and that's the most important thing to them."
The pair first met on the set of Strictly in 2020, but it wasn't until the show's live arena tour in January this year that a close friendship started to form.
The couple were close friends before starting a relationship
"When I'd speak to my mum, I'd always bring Max up; he was one of my closest friends, but there was never anything more," said Maisie, who is currently starring as Fran in Strictly Ballroom: The Musical.
Their friendship went from strength to strength thanks to a second Strictly tour, which kicked off in June, and romantic sparks finally began to fly when a group of cast and crew went on a post-tour holiday to Portugal's Algarve.
"Towards the end of the holiday, I could feel I was looking at her differently. I thought: 'What's happening here?' I was pretty nervous to see if it was reciprocated," said Max.
Of their first kiss, Max said: "The moment I first kissed Mais, that was mental," and Maisie agreed: "Fireworks!"
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