Steps star Claire Richards became so obsessed with her weight at the height of her band's fame she developed devastating eating disorder, bulimia.
The singer, who is now content with her body at a size 16, admits she would binge on food and throw up in a bid to please critics and fit into the pop star mould.
Claire now feels happier in herself
In an extract from Claire's book All Of Me, obtained by The Sun, she writes: "I was young, in the spotlight and under pressure - not only to perform but to look a certain way. Controlling your food intake gives you the sense you're in control of life. I remember reading about anorexia when I was just 11. I didn't know what anorexia was then, but I remembered the word and, years later, I was to understand only too well what it meant."
The pop star, who recently performed a sell-out tour with her reformed band, recalls her lowest point in her book when, during a trip to Los Angeles to film a TV show, the star vomited after eating a burger, prompting fellow band member Lee Latchford-Evans to suspect she had issues.
Steps, years on
She wrote: "When we broke for lunch we were all taken to a burger joint, so I had no choice but to sit there and eat a burger with everyone else. As soon as I’d finished it, I started panicking. I rushed back to where we were filming, found the toilets and stuck my fingers down my throat to try to make myself throw up. All I could think was, ‘I have to get this out. I can’t get on stage with this inside me.’
"I felt totally repulsed by the greasy burger I’d just swallowed. I must have been in the toilet for ages because the burger just wouldn’t come up. Eventually Lee came in and said, ‘Are you all right, Claire?’ I think he suspected what I was up to, but I just made out I didn’t feel very well. As soon as I’d been sick I went back to work as if nothing had happened."
Steps, a the height of fame
However, Claire is now happier with her life and is comfortable with her body image now she's taking to the stage with Steps for a second time.
She recently told Closer magazine: "Everything's better this time around because I'm a much happier person. I've been through a c**p marriage, but now I have a wonderful husband and amazing kids. They give me all the support I never had before and being a size 16 makes me feel sexier than ever - having a big bum and boobs rocks! I know I'll be the biggest girl on the stage, but I don't care. If I worried about that I'd send myself mad."
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