Claire Sweeney, 41, opens up about suffering from 'emotional infertility' but is determined to still become a mother



06:46 GMT, 18 September 2012

Motherhood dreams: Actress Claire Sweeney has admitted she suffers from 'emotional infertility'

Motherhood dreams: Actress Claire Sweeney has admitted she suffers from 'emotional infertility'

She became a household name after appearing in a popular soap opera at the age of 20 and has barely stopped working since.

But for actress Claire Sweeney, her two decades of success on stage and screen has come at a price.

Yesterday the former Brookside and Strictly Come Dancing star admitted her relentless ambition and drive to further her career has left her suffering from ‘emotional infertility’.

It is a condition she says all modern women occupied with working will be able to identify with.

But she added, despite being 41 she is determined she will have children.

She says: ‘I read an article about “emotional infertility” which is where you’re just so busy you never bother to think or make space for having a family and I can relate to that definitely.

'I’ve suffered from putting my career first like a lot of women. When I was coming up to forty it did cross my mind – oh blooming hell here’s another job that’s going to take me away for the year and before you know it more times goes by’.

Miss Sweeney is probably still best-known for her role as Lindsey Corkhill in long-running soap Brookside.

In 2007, Miss Sweeney ended her six year relationship with businessman Tony Hibbard and spent the last few years focused on work- starring in the BBC drama Candy Cabs and presenting ITV’s 60 minute makeover.

She has also appeared in the West End musical Chicago.

But last Christmas, Miss Sweeney began a romance with an old friend- Liverpool-based businessman, Daniel Riley.

And although it’s early days, Claire says the relationship has helped to restore her dream of having children.

She says: ‘I definitely want to have children, that’s still part of my plan, so hopefully watch this space. I believe in fate but I think you do start thinking; yes I am at an age now where I do have to think about it and consider it.

Hard worker: Sweeney has been wrapped up in her career since the age of 20 but now at 46 is still determined to become a mother

Hard worker: Sweeney has been wrapped up in her career since the age of 20 but now at 41 is still determined to become a mother

But then a friend of mine has just got pregnant at 46. She had been trying for years for a baby and then got pregnant naturally at 46’.

Miss Sweeney has just completed a nationwide tour of Willy Russell’s classic play Educating Rita, opposite former Stars In Their Eyes presenter Matthew Kelly.

Stepping into the award-winning shoes of actress Julie Walters, who starred as Rita in the film version, Liverpool-born Sweeney said she felt at home playing the role of Rita – a working-class hairdresser who seeks to better herself through education.

And the actress has also often spoken about the challenge of maintaining a slender figure.

In 2008 she fronted an ITV documentary where she put on two stone in just six weeks to prove how easy it is to become obese.

Although she is back to her slimmer self, Claire admits she finds her figure far from perfect. She confesses: ‘Since doing that documentary I got a belly and I can’t get rid of it.

'I think if you store fat in a certain area it stays – I just can’t shake the stubborn little belly. But I find staying slim really hard, because I love food – I am a butcher’s daughter.

There’s nothing nicer than a good steak and a glass of red wine’.

* Miss Sweeney has currently teamed up Kenco, the official coffee partner for Macmillan’s World’s biggest coffee morning to help raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.