My Secret Life: Claire Sweeney, 41, actress
My parents were... great role models, especially my mum – she was my best friend. My dad really helped push my career, to the extent of taking me to gigs in the back of his meat van.
The household I grew up in... was a terraced house in Liverpool. It was just a normal area, but with great neighbours who all looked out for each other.
When I was a child I wanted to be... From the age of 11, I went to stage school so I knew what I wanted to do – I wanted to perform. But before that I went to a Catholic school and wanted to be a nun! Really, I wanted to be a nun until I discovered disco dancing.
If I could change one thing about myself... I would love to have a photographic memory.
You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... tap dancing.
You may not know it but I'm no good at... learning lines.
I wish I had never worn... my whole wardrobe from the days when I was on the cruise ships. Particularly, a pair of gold hipster trousers with a yellow Caribbean-style blouse with puffy sleeves and a gold leather bra – but it was the Eighties.
What I see when I look in the mirror... I just see me. I don't analyse.
My favourite item of clothing... at the moment it's a cashmere cardigan from Marks & Spencer. It's the comfiest item, it's like my comfort blanket.
It's not fashionable but I like... my cardigan from Marks & Spencer!
My house is... a four-storey townhouse in Pimlico.
My favourite work of art... anything by Toulouse-Lautrec. He really inspired me when I was at school, and I fell in love with Paris through his art. I was lucky enough last year to meet someone who owns a lot of his original sketches and I got to see them – it was brilliant.
My favourite building... the Houses of Parliament. Every time I drive past that building, it amazes me.
Movie heaven... anything with Barbra Streisand in.
My greatest regret... not accepting a job at the Moulin Rouge to be the lead singer in my early twenties... I'd agreed to do a summer season in Llandudno! And I hadn't even signed the contract, I just felt quite loyal.
My secret crush... Ray Winstone.
My real-life villain... cakes and sweets. They immediately find my bum.
The last time I cried... when a friend of mine told me she was engaged a few days ago – I was so thrilled for her.
My life in six words... blessed with good friends and family.
A LIFE IN BRIEF
Claire Sweeney was born and raised in Liverpool. She went to the Elliott-Clarke Theatre School, and started singing in working men's clubs at 14. After a stint on P&O's cruise ships, Sweeney had her break in Brookside. She's appeared on reality shows including Celebrity Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing and My Big Fat Diet. Last year she was in the musicals Tell Me on a Sunday and Legally Blonde. Sweeney is starring in Educating Rita at the Menier Chocolate Factory, till 12 May, and on tour. She lives in London
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...
£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...