The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007

This year one power couple made such an impact that they earned two spots on the list of "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007."

David and Victoria Beckham sat down with Barbara Walters for their first interview together since their British invasion earlier this year.

The hottest soccer star and the poshest of the Spice Girls are an unstoppable celebrity juggernaut, combining sports, television, fashion, music and pure sex appeal. How do they feel about being called the sexiest couple in the world?

"Ooh, I love that," Victoria told Walters. "I haven't heard it before, but I love it."

Being the Beckhams


The Beckhams came "across the pond" so David could play soccer for the L.A. Galaxy. But that five-year deal, reportedly worth up to $250 million with incentives, is just a small part of the Beckham brand, which includes Victoria's reunion tour with the Spice Girls, their DVB fashion merchandise and endorsement deals — reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It's a far cry from David's modest beginnings in the suburbs of London.

"My father used to take me onto the field every day," David told Walters. "He was obsessed by soccer and he just put it into me. I joined a team when I was 8, and it went on from there. And it's all I ever, all I ever wanted to do, you know."


David said this year has been a difficult one for him on the field. "On the soccer side, it's been tough because it's more frustrating than ever. … I've never had so many injuries in such a short space of time," he said. "And I play soccer because it's my passion."

While David was discovering his passion as a child, about 20 miles away, Victoria Adams was growing up with her two younger siblings. She says she always wanted to be famous.

"The most important thing about being famous — it gives you a voice," she said.


As David became an international soccer star, Victoria found her voice as Posh Spice, a member of one of the best-selling girl groups of all time — the Spice Girls.

When David saw a music video of the group, he says he knew he was looking at his future wife.

"I said, I'm going to marry that girl," he said.

"I think it was the cat suit, wasn't it?" asked Victoria.

"Definitely, the cat suit," David replied.

The couple met when Victoria attended one of David's games with her manager.

"He just introduced me to David, and what I loved about him — all the other players were at the bar with their friends getting drunk, and David was there with his family, with his mother and his father and his younger sister," Victoria said. "And I love that about him, you know."

Their own family includes three boys: Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz.

"I'd love more children," said David. "I'd love two more children. I've always wanted a big family, I love, I love big families so…"

What does his wife have to say about that?

"I think this is the first she's heard about this," David said. "Now she knows, you know, I really want two more children."

Victoria isn't just a soccer mom. She recently reunited with the Spice Girls and this week returned to the stage for the first time in seven years. She dismisses rumors that she and her fellow band members didn't get along.

"Things get made up all the time," she said. "You know, of course we argued. But, you know, it's been great getting back together, and it's been as if we never actually split up."

She also has a career in fashion, with the couple's DVB line. "I'm not one of these celebrities that'll just put my name on anything," she said. "I love to create."

Victoria often makes headlines for her weight and how slim she is, but she attributes her small size to being "very, very health-conscious," she said. "I've never been one to eat lots of junk food."

The Beckhams have frequently been photographed with another power couple: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

"They are the nicest family," said Victoria, adding that Cruise never tried to introduce the Beckhams to Scientology. "They have their beliefs, but they have never, ever tried to press those on us. We're just, we're friends. We have a laugh with them. And they're just very kind wonderful people."

Something else that makes the Beckhams stand out in Hollywood? They have been married for eight years, and together for 10.

"I think that's great, and for the two of us to still be able to not just love each other but, but to really still laugh after so many years is really important," said Victoria.

Is this relationship forever? "Of course it is," said David. "We wouldn't have got married if it wasn't."

Justin Timberlake: 'So Far, So Great'

This year Justin Timberlake has been showing us why he's the new king of pop, bringing "sexy back" with four No. 1 singles, four movies, a hit album and a sold-out tour — not to mention a racy little skit he and comic Andy Samberg did for "Saturday Night Live." In it, two cocky singers package their packages as Christmas gifts for their girlfriends.

How does he describe the skit for which he won an Emmy?

"Well you know, I think it's a thoughtful Christmas gift for somebody …" Timberlake said, laughing.

And as for bringing sexy back, where had it gone?

"I have no earthly idea," Timberlake joked to Walters.

Justin Randall Timberlake was born 26 years ago in a small town near Memphis, Tenn. At age 11, he went on the talent show "Star Search." He lost, but the following year he was cast on "The Mickey Mouse Club," and at 14 he joined the boy band N'Sync. It became one of the biggest bands in the world.

After seven years, Timberlake, the breakout star of the group, left to write and produce his own sound. Many dismissed him as a pretty face and his music as shallow pop, a description he didn't like.

"I was … 20 years old and wanted to get as far away from that as possible," he told Walters.

Now, he said, "pop is short for popular, so … I don't think you can be too sad about, about being in that category."

Solo, Timberlake became a megastar. He's the only former boy-bander who's even hotter on his own. And at a time when music sales are declining, Timberlake's are bigger than ever.

Timberlake once said that being on stage is the closest thing to a holy experience he could imagine.

"It becomes, kind of a meditation to be on stage," he said. "It's about having a moment or a dialogue with the crowd. However small or large they may be."

Timberlake's personal life has also been on the upswing in the last year. After two very public relationships — and two very public breakups — first with Britney Spears and then with Cameron Diaz, now there's a new relationship, with actress Jessica Biel.

"She's a wonderful, wonderful person," Timberlake said.

When asked whether he thinks it will last, Timberlake said, "Well, I'll work on that."

So far so good?

"So far, so great," he said.

Does that mean that the man Rolling Stone magazine called the "New King of Sex" thinks he's sexy? He couldn't say for sure, but added, "I'll hold onto that title for as long as I can."

MySpace Founders' 'Great Partnership'

MySpace, the social networking site, is bigger than Google, Yahoo and YouTube, and its founders, Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, might have more friends than anyone on the planet.

MySpace has millions of users in more than 23 countries, and it is changing the way we communicate. The team behind it — 32-year-old Anderson and 41-year-old DeWolfe — preside over the online empire from their hip new sprawling headquarters in Los Angeles. It's the one office in America where going on MySpace is encouraged.

DeWolfe and Anderson met seven years ago when DeWolfe was an executive at an Internet company and Anderson was applying for a job.

"The thing I love about him is he always has a million different ideas when most people don't have any," said DeWolfe.

MySpace was one of those ideas. Anderson's inspiration was Friendster, a popular networking site that banned self-promotion. Anderson thought if you allowed members to promote themselves, you could really grow.

"He said, we could create the next, you know, huge portal on the Internet and do it all around social networking, and it's gonna be the biggest thing ever," recalled DeWolfe, adding that his initial response was, "I said, 'Oh let me think about it.'"

They launched MySpace in January 2004, and within a year it had more than 20 million members. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought the company for $580 million. Anderson and DeWolfe remained in charge, and they say the partnership works because they have different roles — Anderson is technical and creative; DeWolfe is the money guy. Anderson calls it "a great partnership."

"I don't have patience for a lot of the stuff that he does, and he doesn't have patience for a lot of the stuff that I do," said DeWolfe. "So it works out well."

In fact, it works so well that MySpace has become America's bulletin board. You can find just about anything on it, from skateboarding tips, to the next hot rapper, to your college roommate, to your favorite presidential candidate.

"The next president of the United States is gonna be a MySpace member," said DeWolfe.

"It's surreal, it's … it's humbling," he said. "It's just become ubiquitous, and it's crazy to think that that's happened in such a short time."

Katherine Heigl: 'A Really Long Haul'

No one could argue that Emmy winner and "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl hasn't had a fascinating year. Last year, if you weren't a fan of "Grey's Anatomy" you probably didn't know Katherine Heigl from Sandra Oh. But in 2007 Heigl starred in "Knocked Up," one of the biggest comedies of the year. She also got engaged to rock star Josh Kelley.

"Overwhelming is the first word that comes to mind," Heigl told Walters, when asked to describe the last year. "Probably because it's so much all at once, and so fast."

But to those who say she's an overnight sensation, Heigl said, "It's been a really, really long haul."

Katherine Marie Heigl, or Katie as she likes to be called, was raised as a Mormon in Connecticut with her four siblings. She started to model at age 9, which led to commercials and then movies and television.

In 2005, she got the biggest break of her career, landing the role of Isobel "Izzie" Stevens on the hit TV series "Grey's Anatomy." For Izzie, Heigl drew on her own experiences: When she was 7 years old she spent too much time in a real hospital, when a car accident left her brother brain dead.

"It was hard," said Heigl. "And a lot of the story lines that Izzie, my character, deals with have a lot to do with brain damage, and a lot to do with organ donation, and a lot to do with young people dying. And I'm just … ready for them to stop doing that."

"You suddenly realize this world is so volatile," she said about her brother's death. "You have no idea, at any given time, that somebody you love and care about is gonna drop dead, or get hit by a car, or be in a terrible accident. "

Heigl says that's a lesson she wishes she hadn't learned at such a young age.

"Grey's Anatomy" also presented Heigl with personal challenges this year. The show became the center of a media storm, when cast member Isaiah Washington reportedly used a gay slur to describe her good friend and fellow cast member T.R. Knight. In the end, Washington's contract wasn't renewed.

Heigl says she wasn't glad that Washington was no longer with the show.

"I think Isaiah added an aspect to the show that was necessary and good for it, on some levels. But that's not to say that I don't think that what happened should have happened."

Heigl's personal life is also at peace. In a few weeks she will wed Kelley, whom she met when she appeared in the music video for his song "Only You." Appropriately enough, her next film, "27 Dresses," opposite James Marsden, is all about getting married.

Heigl says she's not worried about married life with a rock star.

"He's mine," she said. "I made that very clear. In fact, he had to post the rules on the bus wall," she joked.

What would surprise people about her? Heigl says she's "not nearly all that fascinating. … I'm actually a really sort of regular gal."

Hugo Chavez's Presidential Power

Earlier this year Walters traveled to Venezuela for a rare interview with a man who said he drinks 20 cups of coffee a day.

But his critics aren't worried that President Hugo Chavez has too much coffee. It's that the man who called President Bush "a donkey" had too much power.

"What does all this name-calling accomplish?" Walters asked.

"I think I'm just saying what many people would like to say to him," Chavez said. "I said he was a donkey because I think he is very ignorant about what is actually happening in Latin America and the world."

Chavez is the most controversial and potentially powerful man in South America. Depending on whom you talk to, he's a buffoon, a political genius, a dictator in the making or the liberator of South America's poor.

Born to a poor family, Chavez joined the military. He first tried for power in a failed coup that made him a national icon, and in 1998 he was elected president. A few years later, he was nearly overthrown in a coup staged by the country's elite. Since then, critics say, his reforms have threatened democracy.

He closed down a major TV station that opposed him, and nationalized key industries. He embraced Cuba's Fidel Castro as his mentor, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as his ally and socialism as his policy. That policy suffered a setback Monday, when Venezuelan voters narrowly defeated a constitutional referendum that would have allowed him to run for reelection indefinitely and implement a number of socialist reforms.

"Socialism has not worked in most countries. Why are you going back to socialism?" asked Walters.

"We are not going back," Chavez said. "We are going forward."

"I think that Jesus Christ really preached socialism. He came here to fight for equality, for freedom, for dignity," he said.

Chavez speaks English and had this message for the American people:

"To the people of the United States. All the women, all the men, we, Venezuelan people, love you," he said.

So far, it's safe to say, many are not feeling the love.

Jennifer Hudson: The Golden Girl

Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, 26, is certainly feeling the love and has already given a voice to anyone who longs to live the dream. This is the year Hudson got to go to the ball, and bring home the big prize.

Hudson told Walters she can still remember when she was a 7-year-old girl who only wanted to sing.

"I still remember to this day, coming home from church crying because they would never give me a solo, so I remember being at home in a bathroom crying," she said. "I said if nobody listens to me sing, I'll listen to me sing."

Hudson went from singing in a Chicago church to singing in regional theater to a cruise ship singing high Cs on the high seas. Then in 2004, she set out to be the next "American Idol," but lost.

Hudson says she "felt challenged" by the loss.

"I said, you know what, it's something in store for me. God has something in store. I don't know what. Don't know when. Don't know where. Don't know how. But it's something coming and you will see me again."

Thanks to an Oscar win for "Dreamgirls," we will see her again and again and again. She's recording her first album and will appear in the film "Winged Creatures." Then she'll play Carrie Bradshaw's assistant in the much-anticipated "Sex and the City" movie.

Hudson says she knows that all her success could come to an end and is just enjoying the moment.

"That's why you take every moment and live in it," she said. "Because, I mean, all good things must come to an end and your time is your time. And right now is my time so I'll just try to enjoy it for what it is. Every single moment."

Most Fascinating Person of 2007

Barbara Walters chose J.K. Rowling, author of the wildly popular "Harry Potter" novels, as the most fascinating person of 2007.

Like her stories, Rowling's life has been a dark yet wondrous fairy tale. She tried different jobs, but she really only wanted to be a writer.

At one point Rowling had no money, or prospects. She even went on welfare. But she kept writing, and took her manuscript to 12 publishers. They all rejected it. Finally, one company offered her $4,000, with a warning.

"He said to me, there's not much money in children's books," Rowling said.

As the prolific author of seven "Harry Potter" books, Rowling has written her own happy ending, by transforming the ordinary milestones of a child's life into a story that captivated the world.

Read about Walters' interviews with radio personality Don Imus (click here) and Former President Bill Clinton (click here), who also made the list of the Most Fascinating People of 2007.