Claire Richards: I was anorexic in Steps!

Claire Richards reflects on her issues with body image credit:Bang Showbiz
Claire Richards reflects on her issues with body image credit:Bang Showbiz

Claire Richards was "probably anorexic" during her heyday with Steps.

The 45-year-old singer first found fame in 1997 as part of pop group alongside Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, and Ian 'H' Watkins and explained that she was asked to lose weight in order to win her place in the band as she claimed that they were put on a diet of less than 1000 calories a day in order to fit in with the "heroin chic" style of the day but ended up "overeating" when Steps split in December 2001.

Speaking on 'The Secret To...' podcast, she told host Vicky Pattison: "That whole Kate Moss, heroin-chic, was a thing and they wanted everyone to be really, really skinny... So, we were all put on a diet. That diet was interesting because we were encouraged to eat fish fingers, peas and baked beans and have like a 900-calorie diet.

"They sat me down, did my audition and they said ‘Oh, we really like you. We want you to be in the band, but you’re going to have to lose weight’ set me on a pathway of not really eating for four-and-a-half years. I think I probably was anorexic. You know, I managed to kind of stop what I was doing to myself but that went from not eating at all, to overeating."

'The 'I Surrender' hitmaker - who quit Steps in 2001 but reunited with them briefly in 2011 and has released four hit albums with them since they got back together permanently in 2017 - recently admitted that having endured being "dangerous" weight herself at either end of the scale, there is a "lack of understanding" for those who struggle with their diet.

Speaking on the 'Spinning Plates' podcast, she said: "I’ve gone from being dangerously thin to obese and I honestly do believe it’s all part of the same… if it’s an eating disorder, it’s one extreme to the other. There is a massive lack of understanding, generally, and I think especially on the overweight side of it. I think people just look at anybody who’s overweight [and think] that they’re lazy and have got no discipline."