David & Victoria Beckham break silence on his 2003 ‘affair’ that rocked their marriage – and handle it perfectly
THERE’S a scene in the new Beckham documentary showing an old Sun article, featuring a shepherd living in Timbuktu besides the headline: “We find the only man on the planet who hasn’t heard of Becks!”
David and Victoria Beckham are, without question, Britain’s biggest celebrity exports. Probably our biggest celebrities, full stop.
Over the past 25 years, the couple has single-handedly redefined what it is to be famous.
They have become part of the fabric of British culture. They were the Charles and Diana of Showbiz. Barely an inch of their life together has gone unreported.
200-plus million followers between them – more than three times the UK population! – means we, quite literally, now get to see what they have for breakfast. (Avocado, sometimes pancakes).
If we we thought there was nothing left to know, we were wrong.
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A warts n’ all four-part documentary somehow manages to unearth some revelatory gems.
One of the biggest, which airs tomorrow, is the couple gamely speaking for the first time in the aftermath of David’s alleged affair in Madrid in 2003.
Gamely – because this isn’t even her documentary to promote – Victoria describes the period as “the unhappiest in her life”.
David, close to tears, describes his heartache at, well, breaking his wife’s heart as a result of the immediate media fall-out.
They could have skimmed over this reported – but always denied – transgression in an otherwise Richard Curtis-esque love story.
The show is, after all, a Studio 99 one – David’s own production company.
But they didn’t.
The elephant in the room is confronted. And handled, you will see, pitch-perfectly.
(A highlight is Posh FUMING when David casually informs her he wont be at the birth of youngest son Cruz, because he has a photoshoot with Beyoncé and J-Lo: “Posh was pissed off!”, she quips.)
Less forgiving women, you might think, would file for divorce.
Elsewhere, we get to snoop around the couple’s glorious Cotswolds mansions – we note where Becks has his morning coffee: “I can see Victoria naked up there if I’m lucky!” he quips, like a schoolboy who can’t believe his tuck box, pointing to an upstairs bedroom window.
Becks shows off his meticulous, colour-coordinated wardrobes – “someone’s been in here”, he huffs, upon spotting a clothes hanger two millimetres out of place.
For those who’ve doubted the strength of their love – I defy you to watch this series and not be convinced.
Towards the end, the entire family are shown in a gazebo, enjoying a roast whipped up by keen home chef, David.
Kenny Rogers’ Islands In The Stream belts out from a music player, Posh and Becks (the latter clutching a beer) Victoria dance, swaying semi-in-time.
(After, we see David frantically cleaning the oven and scrubbing kitchen counters).
Later, in a joint interview in the kitchen – David recorded in total almost 50 hours of interviews – they have their arms draped around one another.
They discuss how cathartic the whole recording process has been, describing it as “therapy”.
David gently teases Victoria, goading her that she’s become “more posh” throughout her career.
“I’ve looked back and heard footage of [Victoria] on the phone to me, saying ‘hello babes!’”, he grins.
“And she doesn’t talk much like she does now by the way… she was much more common then than she is now.
“I don’t know what happened…she never had any form of elocution lessons…that’s how you say it, right?!”
Victoria’s chips in, mocking his reputation for being “thick” (something he so evidently is not): “I’m so glad you know what that means….!”
As we see son Cruz rowing on the lake outside, and Romeo kicking footballs on the outdoor pitch, David reflects: “Doing this has given me clarity on many things and one of the things which is the most important thing to me is what we’ve got.”
If the five hours of this documentary are anything to go by, that’s a lot.
So why are we all so collectively obsessed with this couple?
By dint of bloody hard work, they are the ultimate in aspirational in working class heroes.
Never has Goldenballs professed to be the planet’s greatest footballer, and not once has Victoria said she was the world’s best singer. Or, even, the best singer in the Spice Girls.
Instead, through a series of ingenious, genuinely progressive branding decisions, determination and an innate likeability – something absolutely no-one can fake – they have clambered to the top of the fame tree, and resolutely stayed a-perch for over two decades.
Only the cynical can knock them.
In her autobiography, Victoria wrote she wanted to be “as famous as Persil Automatic.”
She succeeded. And with her husband in tow, one suspects they will be here long after the Persil shine fades.
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