Michelle Keegan's Instagram followers were shocked last night when the soap star appeared to post an X-rated topless photo of herself onto the site.
The image showed a naked girl - with chest on full display - soaking in the bath.
More news about Michelle KeeganThe Wanted's Max admits girlfriend was jealous of J.Lo kiss
- Coronation Street’s Michelle Keegan laughs off drugs scandal
- Coronation Street forced to stop filming due to rain
- Max George caught kissing girl who isn't Michelle Keegan
- Michelle Keegan laughs off Max George fan kiss
- All the news about Michelle Keegan
At the same time, Michelle tweeted a photo of herself in the bath, with only her toes on display.
She wrote: "Now... I'm happy ☺ #chilltime #metime #abouttime."
The raunchy photo was deleted seconds after it was uploaded onto Instagram - but not before many of her fans were able to re-post it.
It quickly emerged that a friend of Michelle's had played a joke on her and signed into her Instagram account.
Michelle, 25, tweeted: "Phahahahahahahahaha @hmonners I'm gonna absolutely KILL u!!!! I'm CHANGING MY PASSWORD!! #touché u gave as good a u got! ."
Michelle's admirers were quick to air their disappointment at the news the photo was a fake.
One wrote: "Everyone,you can calm down now its not @michkeegan 's chest. #SickJoke i was gonna frame that pic like…."
Another said: "Worst news ive had in a long time finding out they didnt belong to you #gutted".
Michelle - whose won the title of Sexiest Soap Star numerous times - took it all in good spirit and passed it off as a bit of "banter".
And the actress' agent Laura Graham confirmed: "Her friend got her passwords."
Michelle's friend Hayley Moynihan seemed pretty happy with her prank.
She tweeted: "@michkeegan hahahaha I told you don't mess with the best cause the best don't mess!!! #evenstevens xx."