British reality TV star is dying in the spotlight

Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:53am EST
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By Avril Ormsby

LONDON (Reuters) - Jade Goody, a young British woman who won fame on a reality television show, is playing out her final days in the glare of a celebrity-obsessed nation before she dies of cancer.

Foul-mouthed, little educated and forthright in her views, Goody was unknown when she appeared on the program Big Brother in 2002 but her antics and outbursts quickly made her a fixture in tabloid newspapers and celebrity magazines.

She sold her autobiography, marketed a perfume and has been in the public eye ever since, even though her popularity sank when she made racist comments about a Bollywood actress when they appeared in a celebrity version of Big Brother in 2007.

Now 27, she is living out her last days on television and in newspapers, watched by a nation fixated by celebrities. And questions are being asked about her dignity and modern British culture.

Late last year she announced on television she had cervical cancer and last week she said she was terminally ill. She is now bald after undergoing chemotherapy.

On Sunday, with just months to live, she plans to marry her boyfriend, a former convict, in a televised ceremony. Britain's justice minister intervened on Friday to extend his bail conditions so that they can spend their wedding night together.

She has sold the rights to a television channel, for a sum which British media put at 700,000 pounds ($1 million). Some media say magazines are paying $15,000 for each picture of her.

"I think the whole country will be worried and anxious about her health," Prime Minister Gordon Brown said of Goody.   Continued...

<p>Jade Goody, the former British reality show contestant, speaks to the media upon her arrival at the international airport in Mumbai August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe</p>