Melanie Sykes and Olly Murs have been enjoying a secret romance for the past year despite claims that they are "just friends", The Sun reports.

According to a source, the pair went on a string of dates after being allegedly introduced by a friend and bonding over their shared passion for fitness.

At 47, Sykes is 15 years older than the pop star, who is now a coach on The Voice.

"Mel loves a younger man and really fell for Olly when he got into shape late last year," a source told the publication.

"They were initially introduced through a mutual friend. They started texting for ages and some of the messages ended up getting quite saucy.

"They were bonding over her fitness programme. He was a fan of her gym selfies and thought that she had an amazing body.

"Olly was getting in shape at the time and Mel really loved his new fit bod."

Skyes dropped the first hint that the pair may have taken their friendship to the next level when she praised his singing voice on Instagram back in April. Days later she shared a snap of them backstage the O2 with the caption: "Not much can get me out on a Saturday night but this guy has! @ollymurs #gig @o2uk #ollymurs"

The former Boddingtons pitchwoman presenter shares two children with Tudors actor Daniel Caltagrione, who she divorced in 2009. In 2013 she married roofing contractor Jack Cockings – who is 15 years her junior. It wasn't meant to be and they went their separate ways after just seven months of marriage.

"The divorce was the easy bit. The hard bit was being married to the wrong person," she told Fabulous magazine in 2016.

"It's always difficult to break up with somebody, but it's been for the best and I knew it at the time and that's why we're not together."