By SARAH BULL
Sexy Santa: Claire Richards channels screen siren Diana Dors as she dons a red sequinned gown for a new shoot and reveals she has finally accepted her size 16 curves
She's had her fair share of weight worries over the years, going from a tiny size eight to a size 20 at her heaviest since being in the public eye.
But now Steps singer Claire Richards has revealed she has finally come to terms with her figure, and is now happy with the way she looks.
The 34-year-old star, who slimmed back down to a size 10 earlier this year after following a diet and exercise regime, made the admission as she showed off her size 16 figure in a sexy sequinned gown for Closer magazine.
Heyday: At the height of Steps' fame, Claire was just 8st 6lbs and a tiny size eight
Claire said: 'This Christmas is about celebrating my fab year. I finally feel my weight isn’t the first thing on everyone’s lips – it’s all about Steps and where I’m heading in the future.
'I’m happy the way I am – I’m just me. If the likes of Diana Dors and Marilyn Monroe can be curvy but still sexy, I’ll happily have them as role models!'
Claire recently revealed she has put on two stone since she had gone down to a size 10, simply because she found her new regime too difficult to maintain.
Changing shapes: Claire has yo-yoed between 10 and 15 stone over the past couple of years
She explained: 'I desperately want the focus on my voice than my size. Keeping the weight off it where I struggle.
'To stay a size 10, I was having to think about dieting all the time, and that's no way to live.'
Claire's revelation that she has finally accepted the way she looks comes as welcome news after the mother-of-one's admission last month that she was struggling with her body image.
She said at the time: 'I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly happy with myself, but I’ll give it my best shot.
'The important thing is to be comfortable whatever my size. I’m sure I’ll get bigger and smaller again over the next few years.'
The full interview appears in this week's Closer
Richards has been thrust back into the spotlight following the TV hit Steps Reunion, with the band enjoying their Greatest Hits album going to number one and an upcoming sold-out tour.
But she admits she was wary of the reunion, fearing it would bring up old issues regarding the pressure she felt to be thin during Steps' heyday in the Nineties.
Steps will embark on a tour in April, and added extra dates after their initial 14-night run sold out in a day.
It will kick off at Belfast's Odyssey Arena on April 2 and will conclude at the O2 in London on April 19.