Claire from Steps says she was ‘anorexic’ after being put on 900 calorie fish finger diet

Claire from Steps says she was ‘anorexic’ after being put on 900 calorie fish finger diet

July 20, 2023

Claire Richards has claimed she became anorexic because of pressure from the music industry to keep losing weight early in her career.

The singer found superstardom in Steps, but early in her career she was part of a girl group called The Scan-Dolls and has said being pushed to be thinner started then, leading to an eating disorder.

Claire, 45, as been open about her struggles with weight after leaving Steps, at one point going up to a size 20 – but has now spoken to Vicky Pattison about where her issues with weight began.

She told Vicky in an episode of her podcast The Secret To that she and her Scan-Dolls bandmates were all "curvy girls" and had all been told to go on a diet, despite being a size 10 to 12.

Claire said of the music industry in the 90s: "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."

However, even after leaving her first group and being cast in Steps, things didn't get any easier for Claire.

She told how she had turned up to her audition with a hoodie tied around her waist "because I thought I had a massive bum" and was again told to go on a diet.

Recalling the Steps audition, she said: "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’…it set me on a pathway of not really eating for four-and-a-half years."

Claire admitted that even now, more than 20 years after quitting Steps, she still struggles with confidence and doesn't think she will ever shake off negative feelings about her appearance.

She shared: "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."

Elsewhere in the interview, Claire talked about the band's split in 2001 which at the time was sold as the group wanting to go out on a high, but behind the scenes she and Ian 'H' Watkins had quit together as she said she was "so embarrassed" about Steps' dwindling success.

She added that she had struggled to know what to do afterwards, admitting that she had "probably just sat on the sofa for a couple of years".

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