The daughter of actor John Seed, Claire was a child model and was educated at Harrogate Ladies College. At 18 she became a club DJ in Leeds and sang in groups Fidea and To Be Continued, and would later form her own record label, Visual Records. For four years she lived with Geoff Bird and appeared in music videos for group Zodiac Mindwarp where he played guitar as Cobalt Stargazer. She also appeared in videos for Elvis Costello. While in America, Claire presented pop show Shout.
Early film roles were in Bob Dylan's Hearts of Fire, Eat the Rich and The Cold Light of Day, and on television included Wish Me Luck, Hot Metal, Starting Out, The Bill and Alas Smith and Jones. Claire then returned to Yorkshire and was cast as Kim Tate, making her first appearance in December 1989.
Claire fell in love with co-star PETER AMORY, who played her stepson Christopher Tate, and they married on 2 July 1994. On 27 October 1996 Matthew Bell writing in the Sunday Mirror reported on Claire's intention to leave Emmerdale, with Claire quoted as saying she would last be seen in December. Reports claimed that she had been offered £30,000 - £35,000 extra on top of her £70,000 salary in order to stay on the show, but she was keen to persue other projects and her final episode was shown in February 1997.
In March 1997 however reports emerged that Claire had been inticed back to the show and she was back on screen by May, until her intention to quit a second time was reported on August 22 1998 by Mirror writer Karen Hockney. Hockney reported that Peter Amory helped negotiate a deal whereby Claire would return for a limited period on condition that she would be offered another project upon her departure, with Claire explaining that: ""I'm in the privileged position of having something to go to as opposed to last time, when I was just looking for something else. It's precarious when you leave a soap having been in it for a long time. These other projects make it more secure but it's still nerve-wracking. All I know is that they will be very different characters to Kim.".
Kim was seen for the final time in January 1999, but although Hockney's report had said two new dramas were in development for 1999, Claire did not have another major role until 2000 when she joined the cast of Bad Girls, where she would stay for four years as Wing Governor Karen Betts, returning for three episodes of series 6 the following year. During this time, in July 2002 Claire appeared on Star Lives, and in December 2003, her marriage to Peter broke up.
In 2005 she appeared in Hollyoaks, followed by a seperate role in spin-off Hollyoaks Later the following year. Also in 2006, Claire appeared in the 4th series of Strictly Come Dancing, where she came 6th. In 2007 she appeared on Safari School and All Star Family Fortunes and in 2008 revisited the Emmerdale studios for an episode of Drama Trails. In 2009 Claire invited ghost busters into her home for Living with the Dead, and in 2010 she starred in BBC Three comedy The Gemma Factor. In 2012 Claire had another guest role on Hollyoaks and was a guest panelist on Loose Women.
In May 2003 Claire revealed in a Mirror article that she is not a big fan of soaps, saying she thought they were on too often. "The viewers can't keep up with the output and you can't expect the quality of these shows to stay the same...They work you to the ground. That's why I would never go back to Emmerdale. In October 2007 however Claire revealed to Rick Fulton of the Daily Record that "they have discussed me coming back. The door is closed but not bolted". She also said revealed her favourite storyline: "There were several brilliant storylines over the nine years but the one I liked the most and the one everyone seems to remember is when Frank died at Kim's feet and she used a compact mirror to check his breath."
In August 2012 Digitalspy reported that Claire would be happy to reprise her role, but only for a short stint: "It would be great to go back for a week, create mayhem and then bugger off again!" She revealed to Inside Soap however that the soap she'd most like to appear in is a revived Eldorado.
Claire has ridden horses since the age of seven - an ability that helped Claire win her Emmerdale role - and often races in charity events. Of the horses she has owned over the years, one of them was named Kim Tate!