Emmerdale star Kurtis Stacey insists his character’s steamy affair with older woman Moira Barton is not about age.

Widow Moira, played by 37-year-old Natalie J Robb, has been branded a ‘cougar’ after having a fling with young farm worker Alex Moss, played by 21-year-old Kurtis.

But Kurtis said: “I don’t believe it’s a cougar situation. I believe they actually like each other.

“Alex isn’t looking at her age, he’s not even thinking about that. He’s just thinking ‘I like this woman. Oh, she likes me!’

“And then when they get it on age wasn’t even a factor. It was just something that was there. It was just pure attraction. It’s not about age, it’s not a fantasy for Alex.”

The soap star added that when he and Moira were filming the scenes they tried to make them as serious as possible, not just raunchy, because Kurtis hopes this relationship could be a lasting one in Emmerdale.

He said: “It’s really passionate. We’ve made it a lot more serious, as much as possible, so people will see these people like each other.

“It’s not just a one-off. It’s something that I’d like them to always look at and remember. It won’t just blow over.”