Jade Goody 10 years on: The Big Brother star who changed the way we tackle cervical cancer

The reality TV star died on 22 March 2009

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Friday 22 March 2019 10:33
Jade Goody: Remembering the reality TV star

This week, the world will commemorate the life of reality star Jade Goody.

Friday 22 will mark 10 years since Goody died at the age of 27 from cervical cancer.

The mother-of-two’s cancer story shocked the nation and increased awareness on the importance of attending cervical screening appointments. The increase in smear test attendance came to be widely known as “The Jade Goody Effect”.

Shortly after Goody’s death, NHS data showed the number of women aged between 25 and 64 seeking advice rose by 12 per cent, with half a million more women than usual booking smear tests.

However, the numbers are now in decline.

A recent study conducted by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust found that more than 900 of the 2000 women surveyed said they had delayed a test or never gone for a screening, with 81 per cent citing embarrassment as the reason.

Ahead of the 10th anniversary of Goody’s death, here we take a look at the life and work of the Big Brother star.

Who was Jade Goody?

Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody was born in Bermondsey, London, on 5 June 1981.

Goody grew up on a council estate in the Southwark neighbourhood and frequently missed school to support her disabled mother, Jackiey Budden, who lost the use of her left arm and eye in a motorbike accident when the star was a child.

"As early as I could remember, I'd spent my whole life trying to protect my mum, frantically hiding the stolen chequebooks she used to have lying around the house when the police barged in on one of their raids; desperately denying to the teachers at school that she'd hit me for fear of being sent to social services," Goody once said.

The reality television personality’s father, Andrew, was a drug addict and left home when she was two-years-old. He died of a drug overdose aged 42 in 2005.

Following her father's death, Goody said: "He died without a single vein left in his body."

When did she become famous?

Goody shot to fame after finishing fourth on reality TV show Big Brother in 2002. During her time in the Big Brother house, Goody was ridiculed for asking if East Anglia was “abroad” and thinking that Rio de Janeiro was a person.

After the show, Goody spent the next couple of years making the most of her fame by releasing fitness DVDs, opening a beauty salon, launching her own fragrance and writing an autobiography.

Jade Goody leaves the Big Brother house

She also appeared on other television shows including Celebrity Wife Swap and Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes.

In 2007, she was accused of racism and bullying towards Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother after more than 54,000 people complained to Channel 4 and media regulator Ofcom.

Following the show, the reality star visited India to apologise for the distress her actions had caused and hoped her appearance on Bigg Boss – the Indian version of Big Brother – in 2008 would help to make amends.

However, she had to leave the Bigg Boss show prematurely after discovering that she had cancer.

What type of cancer did Jade Goody have?

In August 2008, Goody was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The then 27-year-old had undergone a biopsy before flying to India and was given the results in the show's diary room by her UK doctor.

Jade Goody married Jack Tweed one month before she died (Getty Images)

It quickly became clear that her cancer was at an advanced stage and Goody underwent chemotherapy and surgery to stem its progress.

However, Goody was later told that the cancer had developed to stage four and that she had just months to live. During her treatment, Goody starred in a documentary-style TV show, Jade: With Love, that followed her daily life.

In February 2009, she married her then-boyfriend Jack Tweed at the Down Hall Country Hotel near Hatfield Heath, Hertfordshire.

How did she help raise awareness of cervical cancer?

Despite her terminal diagnosis, Goody continued to give interviews in a bid to raise awareness and encourage other women to attend cervical screening appointments.

Goody told the News of the World: “I've lived my whole adult life talking about my life. The only difference is that I'm talking about my death now. It's OK.

”I've lived in front of the cameras. And maybe I'll die in front of them."

Specialists reported a rise in demand for cervical cancer screening following Goody's diagnosis and after her death NHS figures showed that half a million more women than usual booked a smear test.

In a bid to tackle the current sharp decline in women undergoing testing in recent years, the government has launched its first national cervical screening campaign.

The campaign, called “Cervical Screening Saves Lives” and run by Public Health England (PHE) will run on television, radio and online for eight weeks from 5 March until 28 April.

Did she have any children?

Goody started dating TV presenter Jeff Brazier in 2003. The couple went on to have two sons together, Bobby, now 15, and Freddie, now 13, but decided to end their relationship in 2005.

Jade Goody and boyfriend Jeff Brazier in 2002 (Rex)

When did Jade Goody die?

The reality TV star sadly died in her sleep at 3.14am at her home in Upshire, Essex.

The then prime minister, Gordon Brown, led tributes to Goody, praising her bravery and the way she raised awareness of cancer.

In a statement Brown said: “She was a courageous woman both in life and death and the whole country has admired her determination to provide a bright future for her children."

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