'Posh and Becks' Deal With Fame's Downside

David wasn't always soccer's darling. As a brash 22-year-old he got an early lesson about the ups and downs of fame. In 1998, during a crucial playoff game for the World Cup, Beckham kicked an opponent and was ejected from the game. England lost.

"I got blamed for, you know, knocking the country out of the World Cup," he said.

And the backlash got nasty. David said, "It got to the extent where I had to have police outside the house."

His talent could have taken the couple away from England — but David wanted to stay and work his way back. A process crowned in last year's World Cup semi-finals, when David scored the winning goal against Greece.

He said he got through the hard times with the support of Victoria, who quickly became his soul mate. A year after their first date, Victoria was pregnant.

Four months after the birth of their son, Brooklyn Herbert, Posh and Becks — as the tabloids call them — tied the knot in a lavish, million-dollar ceremony. A British magazine paid them $1.5 million just to publish their wedding photos.

‘I Was Very Obsessed’

The photos that were published soon after the wedding prompted concern about Victoria. People began to notice she was getting dangerously thin.

"I was even worried at one point," David said, "We went out to dinner one night, and we got pictured. … and the headline was 'Skeletal Spice.' "

Victoria said she never suffered from anorexia nervosa or from bulimia, but said, "I was very obsessed. I mean I could tell you the fat and calorie content in absolutely anything."

She said thinks it was part of the trappings of fame that prompted her fixation on food and her weight. "You pick up magazines and you see how you are meant to look when you're a famous person."

She said she doesn't think people ever completely shake off these sorts of feelings, but says she's eating very sensibly now.

Kidnapping Plots

But concerns over weight and the sting of gossip headlines were dwarfed by later threats to their family. In 1999 they received a disturbing letter threatening to kidnap Victoria and baby Brooklyn.

"I remember I just felt cold, I felt numb all over. I was absolutely petrified," Victoria said.

The Beckhams increased their security and went on with a carefree life until last November, when they got the biggest scare of their lives. British police informed them of another, this time more organized plot by an alleged crime ring to kidnap Victoria, Brooklyn and her second son, then-2-month-old Romeo. Five men have been charged in the plot, and they are headed for trial.

"This time it was a lot more serious, we were led to believe. It really was horrendous. … I was being driven around in bulletproof cars, I wasn't allowed to go out of the house. We had police sitting outside the house, 24 hours a day," Victoria said.

Now, the family cannot leave the house without bodyguards.

Cautious, But Undaunted

They are more cautious now, but the two seem undaunted as they settle into the role as Britain's new royal family. In spite of the death threats, kidnapping plots, and sometimes vicious press, their fame is worth it, they say.

"I have always dreamed of playing for Manchester United and being famous and being a famous footballer, and Victoria's … always dreamt of being famous. I don't think you realize what comes with that. But, you have to adapt to that."

David said their way of dealing with these stresses is by "being honest and being very family-oriented and living our dreams."

Despite all they've accomplished — and they are not yet 30 — the Beckhams remain as driven as ever. He wants to be the best soccer player in the world. She wants a successful solo singing career. With their track record thus far, it wouldn't be a surprise if each achieved their dream.

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