Claire was born in London, England. Her father is English and her mother is German. They moved to Canada when she was very young so even though she has a British passport she considers herself a Canadian. She went to school in Toronto and grew up around the High Park area. She worked as a model in her teens; she did some runway shows, a bit of magazine work and some commercials.
Claire speaks German and spent most of her summers in a town outside of Cologne in Germany with her beloved grandmother Kai, after whom she named her production company, Kai Productions. She moved back to London in the 80s and enrolled at London's Central School of Drama. When her studies were finished, she decided to try her luck in Hollywood.