A decade after her untimely death, we remember one of the biggest stars of reality TV
Way back in 2002, when reality TV was still a relatively new phenomenon, Big Brother produced one of our most successful stars, Jade Goody.
She was a dental nurse from Bermondsey who’d had the kind of tough childhood most of us are lucky enough to only read about.
From the age of five, Jade had to care for her mum, Jackiey Budden, after a motorcycle accident left Jackiey blind in one eye and with one arm paralysed.
Jade’s dad Andrew was a heroin addict, who was in and out of prison before his death in 2005.
So for Jade, going on Big Brother wasn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, it was an escape from her harsh reality. And, against the odds, she did manage to outlast the usual 15 minutes of fame her reality TV counterparts were granted upon eviction.
The public lapped up Jade’s relatable personality and down-to-earth nature. This is someone who regularly admitted she was famous for being herself and that she wasn’t a ‘proper celebrity’.
From books and fragrances to other shows – everything Jade touched turned to gold and she’s said to have earned a staggering £5 million in her time.
But, in 2008, Jade got the news that she had terminal cervical cancer, meaning she would be leaving her two young sons, Bobby and Freddie, without a mum.
Following her death on Mother’s Day in 2009, thousands of fans turned out for Jade’s funeral in Essex to say one final, emotional goodbye to Jade from Bermondsey.
There’s no denying it, from being the UK’s first proper reality TV star to having a huge impact on the amount of women having smear tests, Jade Goody changed the world.
Jeff Brazier: ‘The boys find it hard to talk about Jade’
During her time in the public eye, Jade met TV presenter Jeff Brazier and they went on to have sons, Bobby, now 15, and Freddie, 14.
Jeff, now 39, was left to pick up the pieces of their sons’ broken hearts when Jade passed away. He’s also admitted he does everything possible to keep her memory alive – but it’s getting even harder as they get older.
‘We used to have a monthly discussion about Mum, but now they’re almost resistant to it,’ explains Jeff. ‘It can be confusing at times, because where Mum should be an easy conversation to bring up at this late stage, it actually becomes harder because teenagers don’t want to talk about things they’re emotionally invested in.’
Jeff – now married to Kate Dwyer – confessed he’s still worried about how the boys are dealing with the loss of their mother.
‘I need to make sure they still talk about their mum and never forget about her,’ he explains.
‘I want them to continually challenge and question their grief. I don’t want them to suppress it. That’s my fear.’