He’s the talk of the Town, she’s the talk of TOWIE.
Payne, 21, was a £500,000 summer signing from Southend United by Town boss David Wagner.
And, of course, Southend is only 20 miles from Brentwood, where The Only Way Is Essex is filmed.
However 20-year-old Courtney’s agent Lauren Bowden told the Examiner: “They are childhood friends and have known each other since they were 10.”
The Twitter picture was taken at the weekend, when Town were without a game because of the international break.
Payne, who has helped Wagner’s side hit the top of the Championship , is preparing for Sunday’s home showdown with Sheffield Wednesday.
Courtney took a prominent place in ITVBe ’s opening episode of TOWIE’s new and 19th series, which was screened last Sunday and featured the gang on tour to Marbella in Spain.
She clashed with Chloe Sims over comments made about fellow TOWIE stars Danielle Armstrong and James ‘Lockie’ Lock’s split.
TOWIE is screened twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays.
It first aired in 2010 and has made stars of the likes of Mark Wright, Gemma Collins and Ferne McCann with Courtney and pal Chloe Meadows joined TOWIE in February.