Our tribute to Jade Goody who passed away today

jade goody

Jade Goody died in the early hours of today following her battle with cancer which began when she was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in August of last year.

She died at home at 3.55am and sadly, she didn’t get to spent Mother’s Day – today – with the sons she loved so much and for whom Mother’s Day will now always be a poignant, sad day.

Her mother Jackiey Budden told the BBC: “My beautiful daughter is at peace.”

“Jackiey and Jack were at her side when she died” Mr Clifford said, adding “I think she’s going to be remembered as a young girl who has, and who will, save an awful lot of lives,” Mr Clifford said.

Jade’s friend Kevin Adams was also there when she died in her sleep.

The 27-year-old’s body was taken from her home at shortly after 8am.

This is our tribute to a woman who, no matter what you may have personally thought of her, overcame a great deal of adversity to become an independent woman of means, a wonderful mother and ultimately, a woman who has potentially saved the lives of thousands of other women by raising awareness of the need for the age of cervical cancer screening to be lowered. She also faced it all with incredible bravery.

Here’s a look back at her all too short life…

Andrew Goody cradles newborn Jade

Andrew Goody cradles newborn Jade

Jade’s childhood

Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody was born on 5th June 1981 to Andrew Robert Goody and Jackiey Budden. Jade’s childhood was dogged by trauma and she was at one time placed in the care of social services and in foster homes.

Jade’s father Andrew was a drug addict and an habitual criminal who served several prison sentences, including a four-year term for robbery. He died aged 42 of a heroin overdose in public toilets in 2005. He and Jackiey separated when Jade was two after Jackiey discovered he was hiding guns beneath baby Jade’s cot.

Jade had spoken of her brief relationship with her father, and they were not good memories: “I still have a memory of him jacking up in front of me when I was four and I was lying in his bed. It was his facial expression that scared me the most.”

Following the separation, Andrew subsequently became estranged from his daughter and made no attempt to see her again until she’d achieved fame via Big Brother when he tried to sell his story to newspapers and attempted to ingratiate himself with Jade.

However, returning to Jade’s childhood, Jackiey and Jade lived in Bermondsey but as a child, it was Jade who had the role of parent; she had to cook, clean, iron and look after her mum. While her friends were out playing after school, Jade would be preparing dinner or giving Jackiey a bath.

As a young child, she would hide her mother’s stashes of illegal drugs before police raids, go shoplifting if asked and witnessed her mother and friends using drugs. She regularly rolled cannabis joints for bisexual Jackiey, who once took a photo of a five-year-old Jade with a ‘spliff’ in her mouth.

Jackiey’s often violent temper once led to social services being called and a terrified Jade was taken into temporary foster care. Jackiey also involved her daughter in what’s known as “kiting”; buying goods using stolen cheque books. From a young age, Jade was aware that her mother was a chequebook thief and worked as a ‘clipper’ – someone who pretends to arrange a prostitute but simply takes the ‘punter’s’ money instead.

Jade was just five when two major and arguably portentous events occurred in her life; she had her first ever TV appearance on the pilot episode of London’s Burning and in the same year, her mother and uncle were involved in an horrific motorbike accident. Uncle Martin “Budgie” Craddock was killed and Jackiey was in hospital for two years and had lost the use of her left arm as a result of the accident. Following her return home, Jackiey’s dependence on Jade became even more demanding.

Jade's autobiography

In her autobiography, Jade recalls how one night, she had to drag a heavily drugged Jackiey to safety as a fire tore through their flat. The electricity had been cut off and the candles Jade and Jackiey had been forced to use had set a wardrobe alight.

Jade said of the incident, “I somehow managed to carry her outside through all the flames and smoke. She was about three times bigger than me and I was starting to panic. I was just a kid, not even ten, and I had to use all my strength. I can still feel the heat of the flames in our bedroom.

“It wasn’t my mum’s fault. You can’t blame her. She was in a bad way.”

On the rare occasions she attended school, Jade also recounted how she would dread going home as it was often to the spectacle of, “a policeman ripping up the carpet and pulling things apart in my bedroom.”

When you know that these things happened to Jade, it’s little wonder that she wants to be sure her own children will never be in a similar situation and the fact is, money in sufficient quantities will indeed ensure that much of what Jade experienced will never happen to her beloved boys.

Teenage years and early twenties

Jade trained as a dental nurse and was working full-time in that occupation when she was distraught to learn that Jackiey had moved on from smoking pot to using ‘harder’ drugs. Apparently, a “new crowd of friends” had introduced her to crack and Jade told in her book how she “sobbed herself to sleep every night” and how she begged her mum to stop, but to no effect.

Desperate to make Jackiey see sense, Jade, who was always fiercely anti-drugs, decided to smoke a ‘crack joint’ in front of her mother as a last ditch attempt to shock her into quitting. Sadly, it didn’t work and only made Jade sick and led to an unpleasant “punch-up” between her and Jackiey.

Jade said of the incident: “It’d got to the point where I’d asked her to choose me or the crack and she’d chosen the crack. And that killed me because my dad had chosen drugs over me too.”

At the time, the now 20 year old Jade was also in an abusive relationship with her then boyfriend Danny, a cocaine user who regularly beat her. Jade knew she “needed to get out” and saw the advertisement for auditions for Big Brother. She said later that Big Brother was “a way out” of her life as it was at that time.

Attending those auditions was to be a decision that would change her life immeasurably and forever.

Jade becomes a housemate on Big Brother 3 in 2002

Jade enters the BB house in 2002

Jade enters the BB house in 2002

Jade entered the BB house like a frenzied, blonde whirlwind and her trademark supposed ‘stupidity’ earned her not only thousands of fans who found her amusing but as many people who hated her to the point that Endemol and Channel 4 were advised to smuggle Jade out and rush her to a secret location abroad for her own safety.

During the time the show was on air, Jade had been described as “a nasty slapper” and branded by the tabloids as “Public enemy number one”, “The most hated woman in Britain” and “A monster.” Big Brother message boards received “Burn the pig” death threats.

However, as the show went on, the tide turned and those who’d openly stated having a fierce dislike of Jade – such as The Sun newspaper and comedian/presenter Graham Norton – became active supporters of her, and Graham, who just a month before had somewhat cruelly campaigned against Jade, then backed her to win the show.

He told The Sun “I’d love it if Jade Goody won. She’s really put the work in while the other three have played the game to a certain extent. She has cried and screamed her way through and she’s been by far the most entertaining person in there.”

Jade eventually finished in fourth place and whereas many of her fellow housemates faded into obscurity, Jade – as a result of excellent management on the part of her agent John Noel and her own not inconsiderable business acumen – became a phenomenon in her own right who captivated the imagination of the British public.

So let’s take a look back at the phenomenon that Jade became while in the Big Brother house. These clips are from ‘The Jade Goody Story’

Jade’s life on TV after Big Brother 3

Jade was now being admired for “being herself,” something which she herself later commented was all she knew how to be. It was arguably this aspect of her very public self-mocking attitude, as well as the fact that Briton’s notoriously love an ‘underdog’, which propelled Jade into the limelight and kept her there right until the end of her too short life.

Jade Goody dance workoutHer first foray into the world of self-publicising came in December 2002 in the form of a dance workout video entitled, Jade’s Dance Workout which became a bestseller.

Other videos and DVDs followed as did a number of fly-on-the-wall documentaries and shows featuring – or about – Jade, including, What Jade Did Next, Celebrity Wife Swap, Celebrity Driving School and the BBC’s Celebrity Weakest Link. Here’s a clip of Jade’s appearance on the Weakest Link…

Jade also appeared in Back To Reality on Five with fellow former Big Brother contestants Nick Bateman and Craig Phillips in 2004 and she appeared in Channel 4’s Big Brother Panto at Christmas that same year.

Jade Goody ugly'sIn September 2005, Jade opened a beauty salon called, Ugly’s, in Hertford, the preparations for which were filmed for the Living TV series, Jade’s Salon.

The salon closed soon after for unknown reasons, although it was an open secret that it was because the salon was failing to make a profit.

In March 2006, Jade won Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes and soon after, she appeared on the ITV1 makeover show 60 Minute Makeover, redecorating her mother Jackiey’s house. In July 2006, Jade appeared on The Friday Night Project as a guest host where many of the ‘skits’ made reference to her Big Brother experience and her perceived ignorance, all of which she took with the greatest equanimity and as always, she mocked herself too.

Also that year, Jade competed in Celebrity Mastermind in aid of Sport Relief. Her specialist subject was EastEnders, but she was beaten by Chantelle Houghton, whose specialist subject was Coronation Street. Here’s a clip from that show…

Towards the end of 2006, a new fly-on-the-wall show aired entitled, Jade’s PA, again on Living TV.

Several Living TV shows have aired since then, and most particularly in the wake of Jade’s devastating cancer battle in which her brave fight was documented.

On 2nd May 2006, Jade published her autobiography entitled simply, Jade: My Autobiography and until November of that year, she also contributed a weekly column to Now magazine.

In June the same year, she launched her own fragrance, ‘Shh…’ which went on jade goody's fragrance Shh...to become one of the country’s best-selling fragrances, however, following the Celebrity Big Brother allegations of racism, The Perfume Shop decided to remove the fragrance from its shelves but the chain has since resumed selling Shh… and it was in their top five best online sellers in the run-up to Christmas 2007.

In December 2006, Jade released a new fitness video entitled, Jade’s Shape Challenge, in which she claimed that a regime of a healthy new diet and regular exercise helped her shed two stones in ten weeks however, on 10th January 2007, The Sun newspaper alleged that Jade had actually undergone a procedure called Smart Liposuction at the Leicester surgery of cosmetic surgeon Dr Kam Singh, the same surgeon who had given her mother “a new body” on the series “Extreme Makeover.”

The following year, Jade collaborated on a cookbook entitled, “Christmas Dinner with Jade Goody.” The book was released with a DVD featuring Goody and her two sons.

Jade’s Relationships and Children

Bobbie & Freddie, Jade's beloved boys

Bobbie & Freddie, Jade's beloved boys

Jade and Jeff Brazier

Jade and Jeff Brazier

Jade’s relationship with ex-footballer Jeff Brazier – who she met in 2002 – was to produce the two boys, Bobby and Freddie, who Jade adored more than anything else and to whom she was a wonderful mother, despite having been set an exceptionally poor example of how to raise a child during her own young years.

That said, her mother Jackiey has been consistently there for Jade and her grandchildren in the latter years of Jade’s life and Jade never stopped unconditionally loving her mother.

Following her split from Jeff, Jade was briefly involved with former Aston Villa football, Ryan Amoo before she met Jack Tweed who was of course to become her husband just a few short weeks ago.

Jade’s Appearance On Celebrity Big Brother

Jackiey, Jade, Jack

Jackiey, Jade, Jack

While the rumours about her fitness DVD were still rumbling, on 5th January 2007, Jade and her then boyfriend Jack Tweed and her mother Jackiey entered the Big Brother House for Celebrity Big Brother 2007.

The first ‘scandal’ occurred when Jade, Jack and Jackiey were given the task of becoming ‘masters’ of the house – along with three other contestants – which meant that the rest of the housemates were made to act as servants to them. Fellow housemate Donny Tourette refused to take part in the task and left by scaling over the wall, saying “Mate, I’m out of here. I’m not f***ing waiting hand and foot on some f***ing moron and her family. I’m out.”

On 7th January 2007, Ken Russell asked to leave the house after arguing with Jade and her family. In a statement regarding his departure, he said: “I don’t want to live in a society riddled with evil and hatred”.

Then there followed ‘the’ events that nearly ruined Jade’s life and career when she was accused of racially bullying Indian housemate Shilpa Shetty and for hypocrisy because of her support for an anti-bullying charity.


A number of complaints were received by British broadcasting regulator Ofcom about the behaviour of not only Jade but also Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd towards Shilpa. By 20th January, Ofcom had received a record 50,000 complaints from members of the public, while Channel 4 received an additional 3,000 complaints.

The behaviour of Jade, Jo and Danielle created an international outcry and not unsurprisingly, received massive media coverage in India. Gordon Brown, who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer and visiting India at the time, condemned the programme and expressed fears that it might “damage the perception that Britain is a country of tolerance”

Jade yet again became “the most hated woman in Britain” and in an interview following her eviction, Jade admitted there was racial bullying in the Big Brother house, but stated that she was not a racist person.

The Perfume Shop” announced they’d withdrawn Jade Goody’s perfume, Shh… from their stores with Boots and Debenhams following suit.

On 19th January, Jade was evicted from the Big Brother house when she received 82% of the public vote. For the sake of Jade’s personal security and “state of mind”, Endemol banned crowds and press from gathering outside the house on her exit and cancelled a press conference with her.

PR Guru Max Clifford, who has since been hired by Shilpa, stated that Jade now faced an “uphill struggle” to rescue her career, and added that, “Ironically, the programme that made her could be the programme that breaks her.”

In the interview with Davina McCall following her eviction, Jade stated that she was “disgusted” with herself after watching a video of the alleged bullying. Jade said her behaviour towards the Bollywood star had been “the biggest mistake” of her life and she said she was concerned about her family receiving abuse from the public.

Jade added that she would only have herself to blame if the debacle meant the end of her career. In all of her post Celebrity Big Brother interviews, Jade promised to donate her £50,000 fee from CBB and her £50,000 interview fee from the News of the World – as well as any other fees gained as a result of CBB – to charity causes nominated by her and Shetty.

She explained, “I don’t want to make a penny from this. I don’t want it. I don’t want money from something that’s wrong. I’m going to give it all to charity.”

Here’s a clip from one of her emotional and apologetic interviews followed by Shilpa Shetty’s magnaimous opinions of Jade’s behaviour…

Soon after, The Sun reported that according to sources close to Jade, she was “suicidal” and on 30th January, The Sun reported that Jade had “collapsed at home” on Sunday 28th January, and had “entered The Priory clinic for treatment”.

After numerous public apologies for her behaviour –while there was a distinct lack of them from Jo and Danielle – Jade was given an “open” invitation to visit India by the India Tourism Office to clear her misconceptions about the country.

Shilpa Shetty and Jade

Shilpa Shetty and Jade

Shilpa and Jade both spoke publically and privately about the incident and Shilpa stated that she’d “forgiven” Jade and in an attempt to show that she truly hadn’t intended any racial slur, Jade joined the Indian version of Big Brother, entitled Big Boss which was hosted by Shilpa.

Jade entered the house on 17th August 2008 and in the opening VT, she claimed the incident with Shilpa was “in the past” and that she “wasn’t proud of it”.

Jade’s cancer

Jade had had a number of health scares in the years immediately prior to her eventual cervical cancer diagnosis, news of which she received two days into the Big Boss show. Jade subsequently left the house and immediately flew home to England. The scenes of Jade being told of her diagnosis and her emotional reaction were not broadcast in India.

In 2002, shortly before her Big Brother 3 appearance, she had a cervical smear test which revealed abnormal cells, a possible early indicator of cancer and of course, as we now know, had those ‘cells’ been treated aggressively then, she may still be alive. Jade was also later tested for ovarian cancer in 2004 and bowel cancer in 2006, but was given the all-clear on both occasions.

She underwent further hospital tests in early August 2008 after her fourth cancer scare and after she’d inexplicably collapsed four times. The test results confirmed she had cervical cancer. Her spokesperson said, “It looks like her cancer is at an early stage but we will have to wait until she gets back to Britain and sees a specialist and has more tests”.

Then, on 1st September 2008, it was reported that Jade’s cancer was “advanced and life-threatening” and that she would be having an operation followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Further tests and a radical hysterectomy followed after which, Doctors warned Jade that her chances of survival could be as low as 40%.

Jade Goody's second autobiography

During that same month, Jade’s second autobiography was released, entitled, Jade: Catch a Falling Star.

In an interview with Irish broadcasting company RTÉ around that time, Jade revealed that she’d started planning her funeral, was losing all her hair and that she’d decided not to explain her illness to her children.

On 4th February 2009 Max Clifford, Jade’s publicist, confirmed that her cancer had spread to her liver, bowel and groin and on 7th February, Clifford reported that Jade had undergone emergency surgery in London to remove a tumour on her bowel.

On 14th February, Max confirmed media reports that doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London had declared Jade’s cancer as terminal and that she “could be dead within weeks”. He stated “She was informed yesterday that tragically, she’s terminally ill. She was obviously devastated.”

The Last Few Weeks

Jade’s last few weeks were dedicated to achieving all the things she most desperately wanted to do. These included raising as much money as possible so as to ensure her sons’ financial security for as long as possible, marrying Jack – which she did on the 22nd February – and getting herself and her boys christened.

On 7th March, Jade and her sons were christened at the Royal Marsden and Clifford confirmed that this would be Jade’s last public appearance, adding that she’d already “said her goodbyes to her family”. He stated, “We’re hoping and praying that Jade pulls through, but the fact of the matter is that she now only has a short time to live.”

Here’s a clip from a news report in which Max discusses Jade’s condition…

She’d also recently requested “one last party” and made her own funeral plans which she wants to be a “celebration” of her life. Now magazine revealed that Jade wants “a public service and has apparently arranged for a 21-car cortege to drive through Bermondsey, south London, where she grew up”

Jade will later be buried at the Church Of St John The Baptist in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.

“The funeral will be a celebration of Jade’s life, a reflection of how she’s lived the last seven years – full on” her spokesman Max Clifford told the magazine.

“There will be lots of tears but a lot of love and laughter as well. She wants everybody to be there, with plenty of room outside for screens.

“She wants it to be a big celebration because it’s her final farewell to everybody. It will be a very Jade Goody event, exactly the way she wants it.”

A public memorial garden will also be opened in her honour in Buckhurst Hill.

Jade had received much criticism for her very public battle with her illness as well as permitting her recent wedding to be documented by Living TV and OK! Magazine who have also themselves recently come in for some criticism for publishing a tribute edition before Jade died, however, Jade and her family insisted that they supported the magazine’s decision to do so.

We should also not forget that Jade has caused the issue of lowering the age of screening for cervical cancer to be brought to the attention of No.10 and by allowing such public access to her plight, she may well have saved the lives of thousands of women who are now aware that cervical cancer can and does affect even young women.

The saddest thing is, cervical cancer is one of the easiest to treat successfully if it’s caught early enough, but of course, for Jade it wasn’t. However, thanks to her and to The Sun’s petition for lowering the age of screening, as I said, many thousands of women may now not end up dying needlessly of what can be a very easily treated condition if it’s found in its early stages.

It should also not be forgotten that Jade had done a great deal for charity, including donating a large sum of money anonymously to help India’s street children, raising funds for the NSPCC and had donated ‘undisclosed’ but apparently large sums of money to cancer charities. She just didn’t choose to shout about those things.

Stars from all over the world, as well as ordinary people, have been sending Jade messages of goodwill and support as she bravely fought her cancer then sadly accepted that it was a fight she could not win. She was reportedly overwhelmed and delighted by the outpouring of love for her from all over the world as she faced the end of her life with such bravery.

Unfortunately, there were some – though blissfully they were in the minority – who saw fit to abuse and berate Jade for her decision to “die publically” but as a mother, I know there’s nothing would’ve stopped me from doing everything I could to ensure that my children were left financially secure had I been in her position when they were tiny children. It still wouldn’t now mine are adults. And especially so in the light of Jade’s own very deprived childhood… she simply wanted better for her own children – and don’t we all?

Those who saw – and still see – fit to criticise her for that decision have either never been parents, never faced serious and life threatening illness or simply have no compassion for a person who’s greatest crime was having relatively low intellect on an academic level and who was one of three people involved in an alleged race row, for which the main person involved – Shilpa Shetty – has forgiven her and shown nothing but compassion and decency towards Jade ever since, even before she was diagnosed with cancer.

Shilpa had intended to visit with Jade while she was in the UK however, Jade was simply too ill to be able to see her friend, but Shilpa sent her the warmest of messages of love an support which Jade gratefully received.

And you can see highlights from many of her Living TV shows here but here are various interviews and clips in which Jade learns about – and talks about – her cancer.

And here are some clips of Jade’s dream wedding…

Finally, these are news reports from Jade’s final weeks…

Rest in peace Jade; you were a brave young woman who remained as unaffected and cheery to the end of your life as you did when you first walked into ours on Big Brother 3. I for one admired you immensely for your bravery and hope that when my time comes, I can act with half the dignity you did.


Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.