Jade: A life lived in the public eye

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The Independent Online

Jade Goody's final weeks were characterised, just as her life had been, by the intense glare of the media spotlight.





The mother-of-two, who received her cancer diagnosis on the Indian version of the reality show which thrust her into the public eye, decided early on that she would fight her battle with the disease publicly.



Goody was propelled to stardom in 2002 as a contestant on Big Brother 3. Despite finishing fourth in the Channel 4 show, the former dental nurse went on to become a regular in the pages of tabloid newspapers and glossy magazines and appeared on a number of other reality TV shows including Celebrity Wife Swap, Celebrity Driving School, Jade's Salon and Jade's PA.



In 2007 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and became embroiled in a well-documented race row, attracting thousands of complaints about the treatment of Indian contestant Shilpa Shetty.



The row made international headlines and Indian protesters burnt effigies of Goody in the streets but she later became firm friends with Bollywood star Shetty.



Billed by her publicist as "the world's first reality television star", she rarely shied away from publicity and, despite her tumultuous relationship with the press, maintained a strong fan base and launched a number of fitness DVDs and a best-selling perfume.



But the extent to which the 27-year-old would ultimately embrace the coverage of her illness - and subsequent death - could not have been predicted when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August last year.



As the disease quickly took hold and spread to her liver, groin and bowel, it became clear Goody was not to recover.



The reality TV star, originally from Bermondsey, south London, was open about wanting to exploit media interest in her battle with cancer to secure the financial future of her sons, Bobby, five, and Freddy, four.



She was also keen to raise public awareness of the disease and prevent other women from suffering her fate.



Close friend and publicist Max Clifford said: "Jade has been very vocal because of what happened to her.



"Her message is, don't let what happened to me happen to you'. What she has been saying publicly has had a huge effect out there on public awareness."



With bold determination Goody set about arranging a star-studded fairytale wedding to her boyfriend, model Jack Tweed, after doctors broke the news that she had just weeks to live.



At a Hertfordshire hotel on February 22 she exchanged vows with 21-year-old Tweed in a lavish service.



The wedding ceremony and the bride's preparations graced the pages of two editions of OK! magazine and footage was screened in two TV shows on Living.



Mr Clifford said the ceremony at Down Hall Country Hotel, near Hatfield Heath, was "full of laughter and tears".



Speaking of her decision to sell the picture and TV rights to the wedding for nearly £1 million, Goody told OK!: "I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of what I have done."



In an interview published in a recent issue of new! magazine she apologised if she made people cry over her wedding, screened on March 10, adding: "I absolutely loved making every single one of my TV shows and I hope I've given you lots of laughs to remember me by."



The excitement and physical exertion of the day left Goody weary and bed-bound at an Essex hospice for much of the following week but a christening ceremony for herself and her two young sons followed.



Mr Clifford said she was finding comfort in religion as a way of staying in touch with her sons.



Held in a chapel at the Royal Marsden hospital in Fulham, south west London, the service was a far smaller affair than her wedding but still cameras remained trained on the hospital steps.



The star was forced to hold the service in hospital following an emergency bowel operation after she was struck by crippling stomach pains.



She underwent surgery at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on March 2, five days ahead of the christening.



Flanked by her two sons, her mother Jackiey Budden, husband and close friends, frail Goody attended the service dressed in a hospital gown.



With the christening and wedding complete, the "incredibly brave" star felt she had "put her house in order", Mr Clifford told gathered reporters outside the hospital.



Footage of stretcher-bound Goody being transferred from the hospital to an ambulance, clutching the hand of her new husband, showed the extent of her deterioration at the hands of the disease as she made her way home to spend her final days with her family.



Her mother and husband kept a bedside vigil at her home in Waltham Abbey, Essex, and her sons were pictured playing in the garden outside her room.



Even in death the cameras will remain firmly fixed on Goody as preparations are made for her funeral.



Before she died she told those around her she wanted the service to be a "celebration" of her life.



"She wants it to be a big celebration because it's her final farewell to everybody," Mr Clifford said.



"She's the world's first reality television star.



"It will be a very Jade Goody event - exactly the way she wants it."



:: Jade Goody's battle with cancer and her busy final months are to be detailed in a book entitled Forever in My Heart.



Publishers HarperCollins described the cancer diary as a "modern day parable". A percentage of profits from the book will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

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