By Odile Duperry
LONDON ~ British reality TV star Jade Goody has vowed to end her life in the glare of the media after being told that her cervical cancer is terminal and she has just months to live.
Goody, 27, who shot to notoriety after taunting Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on British TV’s Celebrity Big Brother, is planning to marry her boyfriend Jack Tweedy in a lavish ceremony before she dies.
Tweedy, 21, proposed at her hospital bedside on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Like almost every event in Goody’s life since she burst onto British TV screens in 2002, the wedding is expected to be recorded by the cameras of a glossy magazine under an exclusive deal.
Goody admitted she was “devastated, frightened and angry” after learning that the cancer diagnosed last year had spread to her liver, bowel and groin.
“I couldn’t breathe when they told me. I screamed and cried and said: ‘Can’t anyone help me?'” she told Sunday newspaper the News of the World.
“As soon as he (Jack) found out I was going to die, he just said, ‘Right, then, we’re getting married.'”
She has not hidden her loss of hair from the cancer treatment and her suffering has struck a chord with the British public as she has two young sons, Bobby, five, and Freddie, four, from an earlier relationship.
“I’ve decided I’m going to make them a memory box and put in lots of things that will remind them of me and what we did together.
“And maybe when they’re older it will help them remember,” she said.
Goody, then a dental nurse, found fame in Britain by appearing in the 2002 series of reality television show Big Brother.
Locked in a house with other contestants, her chaotic appearance and her mangling of the English language won her a loyal following and she rapidly became a firm fixture in the gossip pages.
Some of her utterings are etched in British TV history – at one point, she asked “Rio de Janeiro, ain’t that a person?”
She amassed a fortune, launching exercise DVDs and a perfume and fronting a number of TV shows of her own.
But she tarnished her image in 2007 after she was accused of racism and bullying towards Shetty when the pair appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.
After calling her “Shilpa Poppadom”, Goody sparked 45,000 complaints to the British TV regulator and almost caused a diplomatic incident.
Eighteen months later, Goody sought to tackle her critics head-on by appearing in an Indian version of the show, called Bigg Boss.
The broadcaster behind the show said she had been “looking forward to reaching out to millions of Indians, to try and dispel various perceptions that exist in people’s minds about her.”
Goody was seen learning to dance to Bollywood songs in the first episode of the show and strong viewer ratings were reported.
But controversially, she learned that tests had revealed she had cancer while she was appearing in the Indian show and shared her tears with the viewers before abruptly flying out of Mumbai to return home for treatment.
Goody had a difficult early life in a modest district of London. Her father, Andrew, served time in prison for robbery and her mother lost the use of an arm and the sight in one of her eyes after a motorbike accident.
Her relationship with Tweedy has also been turbulent – he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for assaulting a 16-year-old boy in 2006 but was released after serving just four months.
Goody said she and her husband-to-be were now determined to safeguard the future of her sons before she becomes too ill.
“I want them to have the very best chance in life they can have,” she told the News of the World. “And that’s what my money is for.”