The story behind the David Beckham and Rebecca Loos ‘affair’ scandal

In 2004, David and Victoria Beckham found themselves at the centre of one of the biggest celebrity scandals in years, after their former personal assistant, Rebecca Loos, claimed she’d had a four-month affair with the football star.

Trouble had been brewing ever since David’s controversial £25m move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in July 2003, on a four-year contract. This tumultuous period in the couple’s life forms a major talking-point for Netflix’s new four-part documentary series, Beckham.

“I, on the other hand, was always the villain,” Victoria said in the third episode of the documentary, titled “Goldenballs”, after a reel of clips showing the hysteria that followed her husband on his tours around the world.

One headline at the time announced: “How Pouting Posh Became a Pain in Spain,” while the accompanying article cited critics who described her as “surly”, “moody” and “dull”.

She recalled a Spanish Vogue interview, in which it was claimed that she “hated Spain because it smelled of garlic”, a comment she denies making.

“In a lot of the reports it was, ‘she hates Spain, she hates Madrid,’” David recalled, as Victoria explained: “It was never about Spain. We had a family we had to think about.

“I had two children, Brooklyn and Romeo, and this is what nobody seemed to take into consideration when I was getting criticised for not being in Spain, right from the beginning. A kid has to go to school, and I knew I couldn’t move to Spain until I had a school for Brooklyn.”

She added: “Everything I did was either fabricated or taken out of context. But it was never about Spain.”

Later on in the same episode, the couple acknowledge the issues they were dealing with, as David felt increasingly lonely while living in Spain, and Victoria struggled with their time apart. Despite this, things picked up temporarily in August 2003, when Victoria brought their children for a visit to watch David score in his LaLiga debut against Betis.

“You were off to the races, winning that first match,” interviewer Fisher Stevens remarked to David.

“Yeah,” he said, with a wry smile. “Until…” The documentary then showed a clip of a newspaper front page covering Loos’ 2004 claim that she had an affair with the England captain.

Allegations of infidelity were in dramatic contrast to David’s formerly pristine and wholesome image, as the epitome of the devoted family man. David had previously managed to maintain a reputation for exemplary conduct, even while other football stars were mired in scandalous tales of group sex, missed drug tests and sexual assaults. This conduct had helped win him lucrative contracts as the face behind major brands including Adidas, Pepsi and Vodafone.

Beckham was seen as a devoted family man with a pristine image

(Getty Images)

In the News of the World interview, 26-year-old Loos, a former employee of David’s management company SFX, claimed that she had a four-month relationship with David. He promptly and vehemently denied her account, calling the allegations “ludicrous”.

In response, Loos said in April 2004 that she would be willing to go to court to defend her claims. In an interview with Sky TV, she said she had no reason to lie and that she could prove the affair took place.

“There is something I know about him, an intimate part of his body that I think only women who’ve been in bed with him would know,” she said. “I’m not talking about [whether he’s circumcised]. If I do ever need to talk about that, it will be in a court, not on television.”

The News of the World, which reportedly paid Loos £350,000 for her story, published her claim that she slept with David four times over a four-month period, along with text messages they allegedly exchanged.

Rebecca Loos, left, with Victoria Beckham holding her and David’s son, Romeo

(Getty Images)

The aftermath of Loos’ claims is explored in the fourth and final episode, with both Victoria and David giving emotional testimony as to how the allegations and ensuing media frenzy affected them and their family.

“It was the first time that me and Victoria had been put under that kind of pressure in our marriage,” David says in the documentary, after a video montage shows hundreds of front-page headlines about the allegations.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it was. And how it affected me,” Victoria adds, in a separate interview about the scandal.

Asked by interviewer Fisher Stevens if it was the most difficult time in their marriage, she responds: “A hundred per cent. It was the hardest period for us because it felt like the world was against us. And here’s the thing, we were against each other, if I’m being completely honest.

“Up until Madrid, sometimes it felt like us against everybody else but we were together, we were connected, we had each other. But when we were in Spain it didn’t really feel like we had each other either. And that’s sad.”

Left: Rebecca Loos pictured in 2005, and Victoria and David Beckham in 2004, the year the alleged ‘affair’ scandal broke


Visibly emotional and struggling to convey his feelings, David says: “When I first moved to Spain, erm, it was difficult because I… I’d been part of a club and a family for my whole career, from the age of 15 [until] I was 27 years old. I get sold overnight, the next minute I am in a city, I don’t speak the language, more importantly I didn’t have my family.

“Every time we woke up, we felt there was something else. And you know we felt, I think we both felt at the time that we were not losing each other but drowning.”

“How do you think you guys survived that?” Stevens asks David.

“I don’t know,” David says, looking tearful. “I don’t know how we got through it in all honesty. Victoria’s everything to me. To see her hurt was incredibly difficult. But we’re fighters. And at that time we needed to fight for each other, we needed to fight for our family. And what we had was worth fighting for. But ultimately, it’s our private life.

“There were some days I would wake up and think, how am I gonna go to work, how am I gonna walk onto that training pitch, how am I gonna look as though nothing’s wrong? I felt physically sick every day when I opened my eyes – how am I gonna do this?’”

A modern-day David Beckham being interview for the Netflix documentary


In 2004, David was granted compassionate leave by Real Madrid in order to join Victoria and their children in Switzerland, where his family was on a skiing holiday, after Loos’ claims were made public.

At the time, Loos was said to have made as much as £1m through interviews and TV roles related to her Beckham story, including a notorious appearance on Channel 5’s The Farm.

She also appeared on UK shows such as Celebrity Love Island, Extreme Celebrity Detox and The X Factor: Battle of the Stars.

(Getty Images)

Loos has since relocated to Norway after meeting her now-husband, doctor Sven Christjar Skaiaa, on the reality show 71 Degrees North. They have two young sons together, Magnus and Liam.

“I am so happy. I have no regrets,” Loos told MailOnline in 2016.

“People said I was mad, who was this guy?” she said of her husband. “I hardly knew him, what on earth was I doing? But look at everything I have now.”

She added: “I am so happy with my life now. Many people are so afraid of change. Change is good, change is how you learn, people should just f***ing go for it. I like the way my life has taken me.

“If I hadn’t been famous, I would not have been invited on the TV show where I met my husband Sven and had my lovely boys. I would not have had the life I have now.”

Seemingly referring to the Beckham scandal, she continued: “I took a lot of wrong decisions, and got talked into a lot of things. Of course if I could go back in time I might change some things, but wouldn’t everyone? I have no regrets.”

All four episodes of Beckham are available to watch on Netflix now. Read The Independent’s review here.

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