When David Beckham bumped into the singer known then as Posh Spice in the Manchester United players’ lounge in the late Nineties, the world was unquestionably at his feet.
But his budding relationship with a new A-list partner was not always plain sailing for the star, with his mother fearful their young love could derail his career, a Netflix documentary reveals.
The four-part series, Beckham, delves into the former England footballer’s rise to becoming a “global phenomenon”, and includes interviews with former teammates Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand, and Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager.
What might pique some viewers’ interest more, however, is its closer look into the early days of the 25-year relationship between Beckham and Victoria, his future wife.
In a trailer for the documentary, which launches next month, Beckham’s mother admits she was worried his romance with the Spice Girl would prove a distraction from his career at Old Trafford.
“We were worried he would lose everything he worked for because football had always come first and then all of a sudden it wasn’t,” Sandra West, now 74, says in the two-minute teaser.
The couple first met at a football match in 1997, when Beckham was 22, and began dating after he wrote his number on the back of a London-to-Manchester plane ticket.
A year later they would be married and would go on to have four children – Brooklyn, 24, Romeo, 21, Cruz, 18, and Harper, 12 – and become an international brand in their own right.
And contrary to his mother’s fears, Beckham would become one of the world’s greatest football players, winning 19 major trophies for his clubs and appearing in 115 games for England.
The show will also include details from Victoria Beckham about the early stages of their relationship, as well as the ups and downs of their marriage and raising a family in the public eye.
Then Victoria Adams, and having already established herself in the hall of fame as a member of the best-selling girl band of all time, she recalls being told by her manager to keep it “under wraps” when her romance with Beckham first began.
“We used to meet in car parks,” the 49-year-old tells viewers, adding: “That’s not as seedy as it sounds.”
Another clip shows their eldest son, Brooklyn, in tears while fans pound on their car as they drive past, with Victoria saying: “It’s really entertaining when the circus comes to town, right? Unless you’re in it.”
Even Sir Alex Ferguson, now 81, appears to weigh in on the influence the relationship had on Beckham. “Well, he changed. There’s no doubt about that,” he says briefly during the trailer.
Meanwhile, viewers can expect to see a more vulnerable side to the east London-born 48-year-old as he remembers one of the lowest points in his football career.
Beckham was blamed for England’s 1998 World Cup exit after he was sent off for lashing out at Diego Simeone, Argentina’s captain, in a last-16 match, kicking the back of his leg.
This is BECKHAM – a four-part documentary series telling the unseen, unheard and unfiltered story of one of the most recognisable and scrutinised athletes of all time.
Premiering on Netflix, 4 October. pic.twitter.com/vJI5YkzsnJ
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) September 19, 2023
“I don’t think I’ve ever talked about it just because I can’t,” Beckham says. “I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping. It took a toll on me that I never even knew myself.”
He was heckled and jeered by fans of rival clubs for the rest of the 1998-99 season after the red card and even received death threats.
Netflix said the series, which was produced by Fisher Stevens, an actor and Oscar-winning director, and John Battsek, an Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producer, “takes you on that rollercoaster and builds a surprising, personal and definitive story of one of the most recognisable and scrutinised athletes of all time.”
BECKHAM will be available to watch on Netflix on Oct 4.