It was on air that viewers were first introduced to Clare as she happily made her way down the aisle, while her awaiting groom told cameras: ‘It’s not what I signed up for,’ referring to her curvy size 12 figure.
And while Clare holds no malice towards Jono, her confidence took a hit – driving her further and further into a reclusive state.
Ordering three pizzas a day, Claire weighed in at 119kg and barely left the house. Then one morning her world came crashing down when she woke to find a photo of herself walking her dog Hodor, all over the national press.
‘I feel like that picture will haunt me for the rest of my life,’ she says. ‘I felt very ashamed when it was published, as I had been sort of hiding as my weight ballooned and suddenly I was out there for the world to see.’
Feelings exposed, Clare began a health kick. But despite daily dog walks with her rescue pups Hodor, Dutchy and Murphy, and some sensible eating, her weight remained the same.
It was only after she reached the depths of depression and considered ending her own life that Clare’s heroic parents stepped in, dipping into their superannuation funds to get her professional help.
‘I had to take a mental break,’ she says. ‘My parents sent me to a private specialised trauma centre, which is when I was able to start turning everything around.’
Throwing herself into her career, Clare landed her dream job in real estate recruitment and says being back in employment gave her direction again.
Finally feeling like her old self, she has now gone from a size 20 to a trim size 12 in a matter of months – but more importantly, is so comfortable in her own skin she is even ready to date again.
‘For a long time I was scared of being vulnerable again,’ she explains. ‘I still have a curvy body with rolls, wrinkles and cellulite, but I have totally accepted this and no longer need validation from others. I’m larger now than when I was on the show, but I am more confident than ever.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.