Jade Goody Dies: Her Story
"I may not be the sharpest tool in the sandwich box." True, but Jade had enough nous to make herself the UK's biggest reality TV star.
Jade Goody, the biggest star to emerge from Big Brother, has died after losing her much-publicised fight with cancer.
Her publicist Max Clifford said she passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Upshire, Essex on Mother's Day. Her mother Jackiey Budden said: "My beautiful daughter is at peace."
Max Clifford told Sky News that Jade had died as she had lived - in the public eye. He added that Jade wanted her funeral to be a "celebration" of her life.
Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody was born June 5, 1981 in Bermondsey, south London. Her parents split up when she was a toddler; father Andrew Goody, who served time in Wandsworth Prison, died of a heroin overdose in 2005. Her mother Jackiey Budden, who has also had a well-documented struggle with drugs, lost the use of an arm and an eye in a motorcycle accident. Despite the lack of a solid education, Jade worked as a dental nurse before taking the decision that would change her life; auditioning for the third series of Big Brother.
Big Brother 3, 2002
The public at large first got to know Jade way back in the summer of 2002. Then, as now, she came across as loud and ditzy, quickly making her mark courtesy of the plethora of 'Jadeisms'she came out with. Who can forget her belief that East Angular (East Anglia) was abroad? Or that strawberries were vegetables and Rio De Janeiro was a person? Then there was the notion that Saddam Hussein was a boxer and that Inspector Morse and Sherlock Holmes were real people.
During a drinking game she got a bit tipsy and stripped, almost showing her 'kebab' in the process. There was an infamous drunken encounter with fellow Big Brother 3 housemate PJ Ellis (he snubbed her the next day, but apologised years later when they met again) and a big barney with Adele Roberts over a 'fazooka' on her foot (verruca to the rest of us).
One of the final four alongside Alex Sibley, Jonny Regan and Kate Lawler, Jade made it to the last night. She may have come fourth, but she went on to dwarf Big Brother 3 winner Kate in terms of press coverage, wealth and fame.
Easily the UK's most successful Reality TV star, Jade amassed a fortune of several million pounds from the release of her own fragrances, autobiographies and fitness DVDs. She was a perennial fixture in celeb magazines such as Heat, Now, New!, Star, Closer and OK!, not to mention appearances on TV programmes including Celebrity Driving School, Celebrity Wife Swap, Back to Reality, Jade's Salon, Just Jade, Jade's PA and Jade. A shrewd self-publicist, she kept herself firmly in the spotlight years after most Big Brother winners and losers have had their five minutes, let alone 15.
Becoming A Mother
Jade met fellow reality TV star-turned-presenter Jeff Brazier through mutual friends and it was lust at first sight: "I fancied him so much I just wanted to get his pants off there and then," she said. The couple went on to have two sons, Bobby Jack, born on June 6, 2003 and Freddie, born in September 2004. By the time her youngest arrived, the relationship with Jeff Brazier was effectively over.
In the summer of 2005, the Shh...Jade Goody fragrance was launched. It was so popular, it gave perfumes by Kylie Minogue and Posh Spice a run for their money. A year later, she published her story called, Jade: My Autobiography. Described as "heart-rending, hilarious and shockingly revealing", it became a best-seller.
London Marathon, 2006
Jade's attempt to run the London Marathon ended in agony. She collapsed 19 miles into the race and had to be rushed to hospital. Running for the NSPCC, she admitted she had hardly trained for the event and that her diet had consisted of Chinese takeaways, curries and beer. After returning home, Jade expressed her sadness at not finishing the course. "I was so exhausted, I couldn't carry on," she said.
Celebrity Big Brother, 2007
On January 5, 2007 Jade returned to the show that had made her. Alongside her mother Jackiey Budden, and then-boyfriend Jack Tweed, she re-entered the Big Brother house, this time for the fifth series of the celebrity version. There was much curiosity about her partner and Jade offered the following: "We're in love and we keep going back to each other. I met him when he was 18. He's grown up a lot. He's my soul mate." The series would go on to make headlines around the world after Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty became the victim of bullying by S Club 7 singer Jo O'Meara, model Danielle Lloyd and Jade.
The 'Race Row'
As Celebrity Big Brother 5 progressed, references to Shilpa as different because of her nationality grew meaner in tone. After she cooked a chicken meal for the house, Danielle complained about Shilpa touching the housemates' food: "You don't know where those hands have been," she said. Danielle also referred to her as a "dog" and alongside Jo, repeatedly mimicked Shilpa's Indian accent. Things culminated in a blazing row between Jade and Shilpa: "You need a day in the slums. Go in your community and go to all those people who look up to you and be real," she yelled. On the same day, Danielle said of Shilpa: "I think she should f**k off home", and Jade referred to her as "Shilpa Poppadom".
Complaints about the bullying flooded in to Channel 4 and Ofcom - which received a record 45,000 complaints by the end of the show. The Indian Minister for External Affairs said racist slurs were "unacceptable". Gordon Brown, who was visiting India at the time, apologised about the incident to the people of India. Jade was evicted from the house and denied she was racist during her exit interview with Davina McCall.
Public sympathy and support for Shilpa took the form of votes and she ended up winning the show. Jade made appearances on TV shows, including GMTV and This Morning, to apologise for her behaviour, admitting a problem with anger management. Her perfume was pulled from the shelves of various retail outlets and she suffered from depression as she struggled to find work.
In June 2007, Jade miscarried Jack Tweed's baby and expressed fears that it was "God's punishment". However, the Church of England moved to reassure her that it wasn't. With their relationship suffering various ups and downs, the volatile pair split; Jade wasn't happy when she came across kiss-and-tell stories about Jack in the tabloids. At the time, a friend of the couple said: "They have been growing apart for months. The miscarriage hit them incredibly hard."
Determined to get her career back on track, Jade returned to television for Piers Morgan's BBC1 show Don't Fire Me, I'm Famous. She sobbed as she acknowledged how bad she felt about her row with Shilpa. The Britain's Got Talent judge later defended her, putting the bullying down to a damaged upbringing. "There's no excuse for her behaviour," he said, "but let's not pretend she's a racist – it's an insult to the victims of racism who know what it really is."
Back To Reality In 2008
Living TV extended a hand to Jade when she really needed it. Jade's Salon and Jade's PA, her previous shows for the channel, had performed well in the ratings so it wasn't a huge surprise when they offered her more projects. "Whatever she's done, viewers have missed watching her exploits," said an insider. "We need a working-class hero and Jade fitted that role perfectly. Yes, she caused an outcry with her behaviour, but she's said she's sorry and spent quite a while keeping her head down. She's done her time and I think most viewers have forgiven her."
Jade released her second fragrance, Controversial, in July 2008. A month later, she underwent tests at an Essex hospital after a mysterious collapse. At the time, her agent said: "She passed out but was able to call the ambulance herself. She was losing blood and not in a good way. At the moment it's a mystery - they are keeping her in for tests until they can find out what the problem is. Her mum has been to see her and we just want her to get well again soon."
Reconciliation With Shilpa
Jade made the decision to sign up for Bigg Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother, hosted by Shilpa Shetty. The Bollywood actress said: "She's going in as someone who has had misconceptions about our country. I hope Jade learns first hand about our culture and how wonderful our people are." The show kicked off in August 2008 with the pair sharing a warm embrace and the Londoner saying: "What happened last year with me and Shilpa Shetty is in the past and I am not proud of it. I know I have behaved wrongly but that was my yesterday. Today, I have changed for the better and I am here to prove it." In the house she was tasked with learning some Hindi phrases and some Bollywood-style dancing.
Jade's time in the house was tragically cut short. Concerns about her health had been sparked by a series of mystery collapses. Given the all-clear for ovarian cancer in 2004 and bowel cancer in 2006, this time the news was bad. She was called into the Diary Room to speak to her UK doctor and told that the result of a recent biopsy was cervical cancer. Shilpa Shetty urged everyone to join her in praying for Jade when she left the house to fly back to the UK for treatment.
A month later in September 2008, Jade: Catch a Falling Star - her second autobiography - was released. That same month, then on-off boyfriend Jack Tweed (at that time very much 'on' again) was jailed for 18 months. According to The Mirror, Jade told a friend that her world had fallen apart. However, her cancer fight had to continue so she underwent a full hysterectomy in an eight-hour operation.
Living With Cancer
Doctors had hoped surgery would prevent the cancer spreading to the rest of Jade's body.
However, it was detected in the sac around her abdominal organs and she faced more chemotherapy. Already going through early menopause (as a result of the hysterectomy), radio and chemotherapy sessions resulted in noticeable hair loss. "My hair's falling out on my pillow and it's literally doing my head in! I'm going to look like a hard-boiled egg, but it doesn't really matter. Life and health are far more important than having hair," she said.
Digital channel Living had embarked on filming a series of documentaries about the reality star's life. Instead of glitz and glamour, viewers were sharing her pain as she gave a raw insight into her illness. The Next Chapter which aired in December 2008, showed Jade as she underwent a gruelling course of chemotherapy, while she continued to make life as normal as possible for her two young sons. Jade had signed up for a panto production of Snow White at Lincoln's Theatre Royal, but missed a number of shows due to illness.
2009 And The Prognosis Worsens
In January 2009, during filming for her reality show on Living, Jade was rushed to hospital. She underwent emergency surgery to repair a blocked kidney. Doctors said her infection resistance had been reduced due to the chemotherapy drugs. A week later, she lost all her hair and a fortnight after that, she posed bald for the first time in pictures published by the News Of The World.
Jack Tweed was granted early release on January 27 and left HMP Wayland in Norfolk. He was met by Jade who revealed that she couldn't wait to get married: "He hasn't formally proposed yet but we've been talking about it for months...There's just an acceptance that it's going to happen."
In early February, Jade received the heartbreaking diagnosis that her cervical cancer had spread to her bowel, liver and groin. A couple of days later, she was back in hospital again. This time, surgeons performed a lengthy operation to remove a golf ball-sized tumour from her bowel. Jade had complained of agonising stomach pains and doctors operated after discovering the blockage.
"The hard truth is I'd be dead if they hadn't cleared the blockage in my bowel," she revealed after the op. "The tumour made me constipated and caused my body to start bloating. My biggest fear was that I would have to have a colostomy bag. I've dealt with losing my hair - but a poo bag, that really would have been the final indignity for a woman. But, like everything else, I've coped because I have to. Where there's life there's hope. That is what I'm clinging on to."
Following the emergency op, doctors broke tragic news to Jade; her cancer was terminal. It had reached such an advanced stage, they could only provide treatment to prolong her life rather than cure the cancer. "I am devastated. I am frightened and I am angry. I don't want to die because I have so much to live for," Jade admitted. "The reality is I have gone from a 40% chance of a cure to seeing how long I can stay alive." After learning the prognosis, her partner Jack proposed at her hospital bedside.
Jade's £1 Million Wedding
Jade is reported to have earned close to £1 million from the television and magazine rights to her wedding. She finalised deals with OK! magazine and Living TV with publicist Max Clifford confirming that the ceremony would be the last in the ongoing series about her illness. With the help of family and friends, Jade planned her "fairytale" wedding. She briefly left the Royal Marsden Hospital in a wheelchair to exchange engagement rings with her fiancé.
The couple then visited Harrods where Jade picked a "beautiful" wedding dress, a gift from the store's owner Mohamed Al Fayed. Messages of help and support poured in from the general public and celebrities including Sir Elton John, Jonathan Ross, Simon Cowell, Paul O'Grady and Dale Winton. Even Gordon Brown expressed his sympathy for the terminally ill star. "It's very sad and indeed tragic that someone so young has got this deadly disease...and it's very sad indeed that the treatment that has been given has not been successful.
Speaking to Sky News, Max Clifford said: "This has given her something to think about, a happy event. The wedding, the christening of her two boys, these are all positive things to focus on as opposed to the cancer and what is happening to her and what she's going through."
He added that Jade had told him: "Max, I know I'm ignorant but I want my boys to have the best possible education money can buy and I am going to make sure that I do that for them so that when they grow up they know that mum did that." He also let it be known that Jade wanted the boys christened because she hopes, "they will get to know Jesus and through Jesus they'll be able to talk to her in years to come".
Jade and Jack's wedding took place on February 22 at Down Hall, a country house hotel in Hertfordshire close to her home in Ongar, Essex. Justice Secretary Jack Straw lifted the order that states Jack must return to his mother's home by 7pm every day so that he could spend the night with his new bride.
The bittersweet day included the release of white doves, as an expression of their love for each other, followed by speeches, a meal and a performance by the Sugababes. Guests included Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross, Antony Costa from boyband Blue and TV's Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. Max Clifford reported that Jade was able to stand for most of the 45-minute ceremony, but had to sit down for the last five minutes. "It was just a very heart-rending, happy ceremony, with lots of tears and lots of smiles and lots of laughter," he said.
Jade was determined to have her story told in order to prevent others from going through the trauma she faced. She was said to be "immensely proud" after the Government said it would review the current age limit for cervical cancer testing. After hearing that a panel of experts would consider whether women under 25 should be offered smear tests, the 27-year-old told Mr Clifford: "It's too late for me, but it will not be for millions of others." She also said, "At the end of the day, I can look back at my life and be proud of what I've done."
Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody was born on June 5, 1981. She died on March 22, 2009.