“The timing was right,” Claire explains. “It’s risen its head on a few occasions over the years, but this time it just seemed right. Now, I get to come home every night as I’ve still retained the same house in Yorkshire that I had when I was in it in the 90s.”
Claire first left the soap in 1999 following a 10-year stint and went on to star in Bad Girls and Coronation Street. Over the years, Claire – who lives in the Yorkshire Dales with her partner of 14 years, who likes to keep out of the spotlight – has done her fair share of reality TV too. Although the star admits that the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis she received in her twenties meant her 2006 stint on Strictly was too painful to be enjoyable.
She’s been a mainstay of the British telly scene for more than three decades, and as she marks her milestone birthday, Claire sits down with OK! for a chat about everything from ageing to marriage, and why she substituted having children for dogs, horses and holidays…
Hi, Claire. Happy birthday! How do you feel about turning 60?
It’s not great, is it? But there’s not a lot you can do about it! You’ve just got to roll with the punches, embrace it, learn to love yourself and just be grateful that you’re still here, because not everyone gets the privilege of turning this number. But I do fully intend to grow old disgracefully! At the end of the day, age is just a number, so you have to accept it and think, I’ve got all this wisdom and knowledge. I still do my yoga and I’m still quite flexible, even with my joints, so I just take each day as it comes and see what’s thrown at me.
I’m not one for having lots of surgery or Botox, but I don’t judge others who do – unless they lie about it! My face is my face, I’ve earned these lines, it’s characterful. And these days, when everyone is so obsessed with appearing ageless, it’s made me go the opposite way and say, this is me and if you don’t like it then tough! That’s why I’m not on social media, because it’s full of people you don’t know making horrible comments about your appearance due to the fact you don’t look exactly as you did when they first saw you on telly three decades ago – it’s ridiculous! I only care about what the people in my real life think, and as long as they love me, that’s all I need. When you take that attitude, it’s the best way to be.
Did you enjoy getting glammed up for your shoot with OK!?
It was great. It’s such a fabulous team. I love the strong tuxedo, especially – it’s something I like on a woman. The whole thing was powerful and really fun.
Back to your milestone birthday! Tell us, how did you celebrate on 10 January?
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