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Jade Goody - a life in 10 headlines

Montage of Jade headlines

Britain's first reality show millionaire, Jade Goody, who died on Sunday, shot to fame in Big Brother seven years ago. Thereafter she was a constant presence on front pages, in gossip columns and, yes, on more reality shows. But her time in the spotlight had ups and downs.

When Jade Goody asked what asparagus was, on her first night in the Big Brother house in May 2002, she inadvertently took her first step to stardom.

The whole country has admired her determination to provide a bright future for her children
Prime Minister Gordon Brown

From that moment on, the media gleefully reported every utterance, ignorance and drunken indiscretion.

Life for the dental nurse from south London changed dramatically as she became a love-hate figure for the tabloids and an object of fascination for broadsheet columnists, thereby achieving a crossover that eluded many of her fellow television celebrities.

Seven years on, there have been more than 8,000 newspaper articles written about her. Here's a selection of headlines charting that journey.


Sunday Mirror
Sunday Mirror, 26 May 2002
Goody's tough childhood was laid bare within days of her entering the house. The Sunday Mirror uncovered the difficulties of her upbringing, with her father in prison for drugs-related offences. He left the family home when she was a toddler and she was raised by her disabled mother Jackiey. And - as she confessed to her Big Brother housemates - she received a caution for shoplifting while a teenager. The paper made her favourite to be evicted first, probably expecting her to slip into oblivion.


Sun, 3 July 2002
The Sun newspaper led the condemnation of Goody for her behaviour in the Big Brother house. The paper's showbiz page, entitled Bizarre and written by influential columnist Dominic Mohan, mobilised a campaign for the public to vote her out of the house, for "bitchiness" and "backstabbing". In a very personal attack, he focused on her figure and distinctive features and he didn't mince his words. "The pig with the biggest mouth on TV has finally been nominated for eviction and now YOU have the power to roast her," he wrote.

He added: "She doesn't deserve to win the 70,000 prize and you can help stop her getting her trotters on it." Elsewhere in the newspaper, she was called a hippo and a baboon. But the public kept her in the house and the Sun swallowed its pride and became her biggest supporter.


Guardian, 19 July 2002
Goody's crossover from tabloid fodder to mainstream phenomenon was underlined by an article in the Guardian's G2 section which questioned why she had become such a hate figure. The paper criticised the language being used against her - "fat-rolled, Michelin girl", "vile fishwife", "oinker" and "foul-mouthed ex-shoplifter". It detected a snobbery and a hint of racism, in that Goody's unusual looks could be due to her being mixed race.

This blow to Goody's detractors marked a turning of the tide in her treatment. No paper likes to be proved wrong or out of step with public opinion, so the longer she remained in the Big Brother house, the more it became clear that the tabloid attempts to derail her would fail. They changed their tune, she made the final and even received backing from actor Johnny Depp.


Daily Express, 27 July 2002
Despite coming fourth in Big Brother, it was Goody who earned the most money and soon became the first reality show millionaire. In the years that followed her fortune swelled to an estimated 8m, thanks to a fitness video, an autobiography, a cookbook and DVD, a magazine column and countless appearances in showbiz and gossip pages.


Daily Mirror, 4 June 2003
Goody's appeal showed no sign of abating and a year after leaving the house, the birth of her first son Bobby Brazier made the newspapers. One claimed the baby was named after the reality show that had made Goody famous. Her father Andy was unable to see his new grandson because he was behind bars, but he told the press she would make a great mother.


Sun, 24 April 2006
After jogging eight miles and walking another 10 of the London Marathon, Goody passed out in the street and spent the night in hospital. The Sun devoted a front page and double-page inside to the news, showing she still had the profile to shift papers. She admitted afterwards she had done very little training and she "didn't really understand miles". The following month she published her autobiography and her own range of perfume called "Shh... Jade Goody" hit the shelves and sold very well.


Daily Mirror, 18 January 2007
Goody's decision to go back into the Big Brother house for a celebrity edition was one she probably regretted, because she ended up being accused of the racist bullying of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. Others in the house may have been guilty of worse language directed at Shetty but Goody - who referred to her as "Shilpa Poppadum" - became the figurehead for the outpouring of disgust.

There were questions in the House of Commons, angry scenes in Delhi and calls for the head of Channel 4 to resign. Analysts reflected on what the episode said about modern Britain and why there was a national tendency to "celebrate ignorance".


Sun, 20 January 2007
When she was evicted from the house in a head-to-head with the eventual winner Shetty, Goody's stock was at an all-time low. Channel 4 banned the public from gathering outside the house for the emerging evictee, for fear it would become a baying mob.

Her publicist, Max Clifford, said she should never have gone back to the house and "it looks like she has ruined a very lucrative career". A perfume company stopped stocking her products and commentators predicted this was in PR terms the end for her.


Sun, 19 August 2008
Goody agreed to appear in the Indian version of Big Brother as a way of making amends for the agitation she had caused the previous year. While on the show, she was called to the Diary Room and told that tests for cervical cancer had come back positive. She immediately left the show and was flown home. Although the actual scene of her being told the news was never broadcast, it was telling that in her case such a life-changing event unfolded on camera.


Star, 14 February 2009
As her condition deteriorated, Goody vowed to marry her partner Jack Tweed in an attempt to make as much money for her children's future as she could. A 700,000 deal was struck with OK! Magazine and Living TV for the wedding and she tied the knot on 22 February. The couple received a standing ovation from their 200 guests after they exchanged vows at Down Hall in Essex.

Tweed was released early from an 18-month jail sentence for assault, and the terms of his curfew were relaxed so he could spend his wedding night with his bride. Although there were some complaints about bending the rules, overall there was an outpouring of sympathy for Goody and even Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent his best wishes.

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