The actress, 52, was a regular on television for many years and played Kim Tate on Emmerdale for a decade.
But she revealed ‘the phone stopped ringing’ when she hit her mid-40s and she considered quitting acting before she landed her current role on Coronation Street.
Claire was a TV regular until her mid-40s (Hello!/PA)
Recalling the moment she was invited to audition to join Coronation Street last year, she told Hello! Magazine: “My heart leapt. But I promised myself there and then that if I didn’t get it, I would give up the job I loved – I would quit acting.”
Before her facelift she had struggled to find acting work and was so low she did not even want to leave the house.
Claire told the magazine: “It was the most vulnerable time of my life. It felt as if my industry didn’t want me any more, it hit me in the heart.
“I felt so low and unsure of myself that I didn’t want to leave the house. Sometimes I couldn’t even afford to – I didn’t have enough money to fill the car with petrol.”
In February 2013 she decided to go on the Sky Living show, Stitch Me, Lift Me, Tuck Me, which showed her at a Harley Street clinic getting a mini-facelift.
She told the magazine: “Although my older peers had warned me that when actresses reach the big 5-0, work often starts to dry up, I couldn’t imagine it ever happening to me.
Claire has spoken candidly about the effect of the surgery on her career (Ian West/PA)
“But then, a few years before I’d even reached that landmark birthday, the phone stopped ringing. It was as sudden as a tap being turned off. I was devastated.”
She knew lots of women who had gone under the knife to look younger, describing them as ‘old friends with new faces’, and decided to do the same to boost her chances of getting work.
Claire underwent a suspension facelift, when a simple stitch is placed under each cheek to pull up the lower half of the face.
Claire had a mini facelift in 2014 (Ian West/PA)
“When I looked at my double chin and sagging jawline, I was prepared to try a cosmetic procedure to improve my chances of being offered new parts in the job I Ioved,” she said.
She said that after the operation: “My life started to take off again. I felt happier and more upbeat.”