This showbiz paring has sent shockwaves through Essex…

She’s been on TOWIE for what feels like all of five minutes, but it looks like Kate Wright has already snapped up an A-list boyfriend. It’s been rumoured for a while that she and football legend Rio Ferdinand are an item – and some of 25-year-old Kate’s Essex co-stars are not impressed.

Kate and Dan Edgar ended their on/off relationship for good in November last year and, according James Locke, just a month later she was in Dubai being wooed by Rio.

Katie Wright

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‘Kate and Rio were a bit of a shock to the system,’ Lockie recently told The Sun. ‘My loyalties are with Dan; I’m on side with him. He has a lot of love for Kate and would have liked the idea of getting her back but then Kate met Rio in Dubai and now he’s been left in the lurch.’

Rio Ferdinand

Although they’ve yet to confirm or deny their romance, Kate and Rio, 38, were both in Dubai for New Year’s Eve and they’re said to have enjoyed a series of dates in the UK since then.

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Rio Ferdinand

Insiders have even claimed Kate has banned any mention of Rio in the upcoming series of The Only Way Is Essex but, if she gets her way, the show could be the last thing on her mind pretty soon…

‘Kate really hasn’t been happy for some time,’ a source told the Daily Star. ‘She had a row with one of the bosses and has a prickly relationship with some of the other girls in the cast.

‘She also thinks getting out of TOWIE could improve the chances of her relationship with Rio getting serious.’

Former Manchester United centre-back Rio – who has an estimated net worth of £60m – has been single since the death of his wife Rebecca in 2015.