The actress – who plays the legendary soap superbitch in the ITV soap – made a triumphant comeback to the village this week but was without her on-screen son.
And now actress Claire has revealed why she thinks he hasn't been near his murderous mother.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online's Soap Bubble she said: "Well, we don't know where he is.
"I had this theory ages ago that after Ireland, she probably married someone or nicked some money off a very wealthy man, ran off to the Costa Del Sol, committed loads of crime. In fact, she was probably with James committing a lot of crime, the two of them a bit sort of Bonnie and Clyde.
"But no, obviously not, because she hasn't been speaking to him but I had it all worked out in my head."
She added: "They haven't spoken for a long, long time.
"I think when she was in Ireland she sent him off to school and he's run away and she can't find him. They don't talk and something has happened."
And she teased that even without Kim in the village, James will be turning up eventually.
She added: "We will get to know about that as well, because I'm sure James will be putting in an appearance."
But with Kim darker than ever, James may have seen how evil his mother has become and fled to save his own life.
Viewers watched as Kim walked out of prison to return to Emmerdale and for Claire there can be no doubt she ruled the roost while she was banged up.
Bad Girls star Claire revealed: "She's definitely the top dog.
"She's come out of it unscathed so far. I'd definitely say she's top dog in there and she will have learned a few new tricks in there too no doubt.
"So as much as there seems to be more humour and comedy with her, there's a far darker side as well which makes her even more dangerous – the smiling assassin."
And for Claire while returning to the show has been an amazing experience, she has had to keep the secret for more than a year and she will be very glad when that is over.
She said: "I'm glad it's got to this point today now where I can just go, 'Oh thank God for that.' I'm sick of having all the secrets and I hate having all the secrets.
"I've had to lie, I've said I'm off to do El Dorado – all sorts of weird stuff. I've said I've got a tour coming up, and I've got a TV job, and when they ask what it is I say 'I can't tell you'.
"And as soon as they say I can't tell you, they start wanting to know more, so I just make up s***."
She added: "It's been in the pipeline a year, in all fairness. It starts with talks and then they see how it slots in.
"I think it just slotted in with the storyline at the time with Joe Tate and the Tate name. So I suddenly thought: well that's a good idea, let's see how it goes.
"And of course when Joe Tate was revealed, Twitter was going mad thinking Kim's coming back.
"At the time nothing was signed sealed and delivered then. It's been really hard keeping it quiet."
But not as hard as playing the most iconic villain in all of soap again – because Claire admits fans would attack her in the street.
Claire said: "I know, I know, it's all going to raise its ugly head again and I'm going to get battered over the head with umbrellas again.
"That's why I live in the middle of nowhere, cows don't give a damn."
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