People underestimated our musical ability, say The Corrs
Family pop group The Corrs have spoken about the pressure on women to look good and how people are "obsessed" with the ageing process.
The Irish quartet - siblings Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and Jim - are back after a 10-year hiatus and have talked about the "massive focus" on women's looks.
The Corr sisters are known for their beauty as well as their music, and Sharon, 45, said that while there is "a lot more equality" now she thinks people may have underestimated the musical abilities of the three sisters.
She told the Press Association: "I do think that people tended a little bit to look at the girls and think possibly we weren't writing... and yet that was probably never a question when you look at a guy."
Caroline, 42, added: "There is a lot of pressure on women though... the whole ageing process. People are obsessed with it.
"It's such a compliment to us when people say 'oh you guys look great for your age'. It's lovely.
"But you do realise that there is a massive focus on that nowadays, and I think it's really difficult, especially for women who would like to just grow old gracefully and not have that focus but it is always there and that's just the way it is.
"At the same time we take it as a compliment of course."
Andrea, 41, said when she looks back the focus on their looks only made them work harder and play live more, adding that she "wouldn't really change a thing".
At the height of their fame, the band was the subject of a sketch on Saturday morning show SMTV Live in which hosts Cat Deeley and Ant and Dec joked about "the beautiful Corrs", which Sharon described as "hilarious".
Meanwhile the band's latest album White Light - their first major release since 2004 - has received a "very good review" from U2 frontman Bono.
Andrea said: "He has heard it all. We're very fortunate to have him as a friend and also in certain ways a bodyguard.
"I will often go to him with, 'what do you think of this?' He has been so supportive and really loves the record."
She added: "I'm really happy when it's positive because also I know he'd tell me the truth if he didn't like it, I'd be hearing all about it, so it's a hell of a compliment."
The family from Dundalk, Co Louth, have sold more than 30 million albums since their 1995 debut Forgiven Not Forgotten.
Their father died earlier this year and they say they have found it "comforting" to spend lots of time together.
Andrea said: "Since January now we've been back with each other, and in a lot of ways it seems almost fated.
"For us it's been great being together. We were doing the record but then our father passed away. So actually being together, as we have to be now, has been really comforting, because we do have a shared history and the shared loss a nd to put that into our work, and into our music and into our performance together is another blessing."
She added: "Thank God that happened when we were together and not when we were more split up in our own individual lives."
Sharon said: "It's more than nice. It's way more than nice. It's kind of like coming home in so many ways. And we are an amazing comfort to each other, and especially around the time of Dad."
Jim is the only band member to still live in Ireland, and while Sharon said she misses the brown bread, Caroline said she misses "the familiarity of the Irish people".
She added: "When I go home to Ireland I'm always amazed that I just have random chats with people, strangers, there's something really beautiful about that."
The Corrs will play concerts across the UK and Ireland in January and White Light is out on November 27.