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Formation of bonding and antibonding states of two coupled photonic crystal heterostructure islands implemented with arrays of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers is studied theoretically and experimentally. Coupling of the photonic envelope wave functions confined to each island is brought about by tunneling across the heterobarrier separating the islands. Numerical simulations predict the bonding state to have the lowest modal losses. The experimental observations of lasing supermodes confirm this prediction, showing the island coupling in the bonding state of the coupled envelope functions.