THOUSANDS of tearful mourners lined the streets when Jade Goody’s white coffin passed by – but neither of her sons was there to see the much-loved Big Brother star’s final journey.
Their dad Jeff Brazier was determined her boys Bobby and Freddie, then five and four, could grieve in private for their mum, who died aged just 27 from cervical cancer 13 years ago.
Bobby, posing shirtless on Instagram, has landed a role in EastEnders
Doting mum Jade with her beloved boys in 2006
Dad Jeff on holiday in Cornwall with sons Bobby and Freddie
The footballer-turned-TV-presenter then spent more than a decade trying to keep the brothers out of the public eye, banning them from red-carpet events and social media.
But now Bobby is stepping out of the huge shadow of his reality-show parents to be an actor in EastEnders.
Despite Jeff’s wish that his sons wouldn’t follow them into showbiz television, 19-year-old Bobby is striking out on his own path.
It is a move which has delighted Jade’s fans, who see so much of the bubbly South London mum in her elder son.
Bobby’s Instagram page is filled with love heart emojis alongside comments such as “Jade would be so proud” and “like looking at Jade”.
And it is not hard to see why his presence in the BBC soap will be like witnessing a little bit of Jade return.
With his wide, infectious grin and mop of golden brown hair, the physical resemblance is uncanny.
Jeff also sees so much of his former love in Bobby, who has modelled for Versace, Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana and Superdry.
He told HOAR: “When Bobby landed his first fashion magazine cover he said he hoped his mum was looking down on him and smiling. And I’m sure she was.
“When I look at Bobby and Freddie I see their mother’s colourful personality shining through. I mean, Jade was one of the biggest characters out there and the boys have both inherited that from her.”
Even the character Bobby will play in EastEnders has a ring of the cheeky and troubled Jade to him.
He will appear as Mo Slater’s son Freddie, who “has a heart of gold but can’t help getting into mischief”.
Jade first came to public attention in 2002 on the third series of the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall show for almost revealing her “kebab” while running around naked.
The audience loved her Jadeisms — such as believing that the Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro was a person.
She then went through a very honest assessment of her flaws after being accused of making racist comments about Indian actress Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007.
Heartbreak came a year later when she was informed during her appearance on the Indian version of the show that she had cancer.
Just nine months later, following intense chemotherapy, Jade died at her home in Essex.
Bobby’s memories of his mum are limited, though watching recordings of her TV appearances can do more harm than good.
He told The Face magazine: “I’m lucky that she was kind of public, because it means that I can watch videos when I’m feeling strong enough.
“But sometimes I can’t. I’ll cry if I do.”
Jeff, 43, who never married Jade and split from her in 2004, made sure the boys could always speak openly about their mum.
Every month they would talk about Jade, but when they became teenagers they were “almost resistant” to such difficult reflections.
Jeff said in 2018: “It can be very 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 did his utmost to ensure his boys avoided experiencing such emotional roller-coasters in public.
At Jade’s funeral at St John’s church in Buckhurst Hill, when Bobby and Freddie’s photos were placed in her coffin, the boys were thousands of miles away in Australia paying their respects.
The devoted dad continued that privacy, not letting them join him at celeb events until they turned 16 and not posting photos of them on public social media when they were little.
He was also against them following him on to TV, where he made his name in shows such as Celebrity Wife Swap and Dancing On Ice.
Life coach Jeff once said: “I’ve spent the last however many years of their childhood telling them not to, so it would be ironic now if they did.
“I’ve always impressed on them that you need to have skills first. You don’t want to be ‘just a reality star’, or worse, ‘the son of’.”
However those rules were clearly loosened when Bobby turned 15 and made a cringeworthy appearance on Channel 4 show Let’s Talk About Sex.
Poor Bobby was sitting next to his dad when Jeff discussed his favourite sex position — “going from behind”.
At around this time the youngster was scouted by a modelling agency, which spotted his catwalk potential.
Bobby later recounted to his 108,000 Instagram followers: “I was in trouble at school and had to go for a meeting. So before I go, I go to Costa for a little prep talk with my dad.
“And when we leave, a modelling scout is chasing me down the street asking if I’m a model.”
At 16 he joined modelling agency The Unsigned Group, whose clients have included Helena Christensen and Eva Herzigova.
Since then, 6ft 2in green-eyed Bobby has not been afraid to walk down the catwalk head to toe in leather or put on a flowery suit in the name of fashion.
His only other sign of “mischief” has been posting videos of himself at an illegal rave in East London during lockdown in 2020, but he insisted the event had taken place when restrictions were not in place
The former wannabe DJ enjoys glamorous parties and recently dated Liberty Love, the daughter of musician and broadcaster Don Letts.
But the pair are now believed to have split up.
The loss of his mum does appear to have affected the way he handles break-ups.
Bobby told one social media follower: “I know that because of past trauma I find it hard letting go of something, even if I don’t want it no more, especially when it comes to relationships.”
Judging by his own descriptions of his life, Bobby is not about to go off the rails.
He gets up at 5am daily, has a cold shower, exercises between 5.30 and 6am, then meditates before spending half an hour reading.
The level-headed teenager says he does this so that he has “achieved” something before most people’s days have even begun.
The exercise, which includes jogging and football, has paid off, with fans voicing admiration for his toned physique.
Mentally, there are also benefits to his belief that “if you have a good thought you attract good thoughts.”
Bobby gave up football for two years due to anxiety and used to be over-obsessed with receiving “likes” on social media.
But these days he has a far more positive outlook and has got back on the pitch.
It seems his dad’s approach to parenting has paid off handsomely.
Jeff gave Bobby a private education, while avoiding spoiling him.
After Bobby quit his studies aged 16 to become a model and an apprentice for a social media firm his dad charged him rent for living at home.
Displaying how close the family are, the boys were best men when Jeff married their stepmum Kate Dwyer, a 32-year-old PR executive, in Portugal in 2018.
Freddie, 17, who is never far from his brother’s side, has also dabbled in modelling but plans to be a barber.
While everyone comments on Bobby’s facial likeness to Jade, he sees something else in the mirror.
He said: “I look like my mum, I’m always being told that by everyone. I have her lips and smile and her eyes.
“The rest of me is Dad’s. As I grow up I’m starting to look more like him.”
But when EastEnders fans see him walk on to Albert Square this autumn he will have the chance to prove he is more than “the son of”.
As Bobby has so rightly stated: “I know that no one owes me nothing. I have to go out and earn the right to be comfortable, confident, happy, fulfilled — everything I want to be.”
Bobby models for London Fashion Week last year
Bobby visits the Albert Square soap set
Bobby plays in a charity footie match in May
Bobby with Liberty Love in May this year