Former soccer star David Beckham was legendary for his ability to bend free kicks into the goal during a lauded two-decade career that included league titles in England, France, Spain and the U.S. But the headline-grabbing midfielder with the chiseled looks of a male model and sartorial style of a jet-setting fashionista struggled with the instant fame he achieved on the pitch, as well as the relentless scrutiny that came with his relationship with former Spice Girls member Victoria “Post Spice” Adams.
Those are among the story lines in the first trailer for the upcoming Netflix four-part documentary series, Beckham. The nearly three-minute preview that dropped on Tuesday morning (Sept. 19) opens with footage of Beckham scoring on the field before pivoting to archival tape of the London-born footballer as a child, with the Inter Miami Football Club co-owner revealing that he “never did well at school.”
The reason, of course, was because all he ever wanted to do was play football. Victoria makes the scene just 22 seconds into the preview, revealing that her manager at the time kept counseling her to keep their relationship “under wraps” during a period when she was beginning to emerge on her own after a world-beating run as part of the Spice Girls in the early and mid-1990s.
“So we would meet in car parks… and that’s not as seedy as it sounds,” she says in the promo for the series that begins airing on Oct. 4 that was directed by Oscar-winner Fisher Stevens (The Cove, Crazy Love). The couple began dating in 1997 and got engaged the following year, welcoming the first of their four children, Brooklyn, in March 1999, just four months before their wedding. After the pair became the fashion and sports worlds’ most photogenic couple, Beckham says his life became “something different,” as their faces were splashed on adverts all around the world and the media attention began to eclipse his on-field play.
“We were worried he’d lose all what he’d worked for, cause football come first and all of a sudden it wasn’t,” says his mother, Sandra West. The scrutiny and backlash was so intense that Beckham says he wasn’t eating or sleeping at the time, a troubling period that was heightened when his Manchester United coach, Alex Ferguson, hurled a boot that caused a gash over Beckham’s eye after a bitter loss to rival Arsenal in Feb. 2003.
“It’s really entertaining with the circus comes to town, right? Unless you’re in it,” Victoria says amid tape of the family driving through massive hordes of fans as Beckham relates that the couple were “drowning” from the attention. The full series promises to give fans a mixture of “never-before-seen personal archive footage from the last 40 years, candid current-day moments and interviews with the family, friends and footballing figures who have been part of his journey.”
Watch the Beckham trailer below.