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Steps’ Claire Richards: I thought H was in love with me before he came out as gay

PinkNews Exclusive
H from Steps has revealed how he came out to his bandmates – and it left Claire in shock.

The guilty pleasure pop group are back together for their 20th anniversary, with a new album, Tears on the Dancefloor, that’s out-selling Ed Sheeran.

The pop group, comprised of Lee Latchford-Evans, Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee and Faye Tozer, will also tour in November to celebrate the anniversary.

H (named for his hyperactive temperament) remained in the closet during the group’s early years.

It wasn’t until 2007 that he publicly came out, 10 years after Steps burst onto the music scene.

However it turns out it wasn’t just fans he was in the closet to – bandmates were left unsure as well.

H told PinkNews: “I hadn’t told my family, and I was still kind of discovering who I was.

“It wasn’t a massive secret with the guys for a long time.”

But bandmate Claire Richards revealed: “I didn’t know until you told me!”

Claire explained: “He said to me one day – when we went to Spain to do the 5, 6, 7, 8 video – ‘Claire I need to speak to you later’ and I was like oh no.

“I spent the whole night thinking, ‘Oh god he’s going to tell me he loves me!’

“Then he said ‘I’m gay’ and I was like, ‘Thank god for that!’”

H joked: “Well I was quite butch back then!”

“I was quite young and naive, I suppose, I genuinely didn’t know,” Claire, who also appeared in Celebrity Big Brother, said.

80s pop band Bananarama also announced a reunion this week.

Steps’ latest song from the new album, Story of a Heart, was penned by none other than Abba’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.

Lisa said: “We’ve always had that comparison with Abba so it’s amazing to work with Benny and Bjorn.

“When we heard the special album track they gave to us we said, ‘that’s perfect’.

“It’s a bridge to where we were and it moves on nicely to where we’re taking the new music.”

As if the new stuff isn’t exciting enough, they’re going to be joined on the road by none other than the VegaBoys on their national tour.

Lee told PinkNews: “We’ve known the Vengaboys for a while, and we were recently doing a gig with them in Belgium.

“They were on it as well and they were chatting away – they’re in a similar place to us, they’ve been around for 20 years and have kids and stuff.”

H added: “There were lots of names mentioned us to be support acts, and when their name was mentioned we were like: yes, want that!”

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