Stinginess, sexts and a Nazi tee: six revelations from The House of Beckham

<span>The claim that David Beckham uses the codename ‘Wendy’ to refer to his wife is just one juicy tidbit.</span><span>Photograph: Pierre Suu/WireImage</span>
The claim that David Beckham uses the codename ‘Wendy’ to refer to his wife is just one juicy tidbit.Photograph: Pierre Suu/WireImage

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but what about judging it by its contents page? Scanning the list of chapters in The House of Beckham, Tom Bower’s allegedly “explosive” book on the celebrity couple, will certainly give you a good impression of what you’ll be getting. Wreckage! Shame! Agony! Cheapskate! Sex Scandal! Downfall! Warfare!

It’s safe to say this relentlessly mean book hasn’t been written with the blessing of Posh and Becks (or Thin and Thick, as Bower reminds readers they were often referred). But is it really as scandalous as it looks? Here are some things we learned from it.

At Glastonbury 2017, David had been partying like the true man of the people he is (ie in a secret VIP club alongside Lady Mary Charteris). Apart from having to march over to a stranger and demand that he delete a picture he’d just taken that showed him standing near an unnamed lady friend, he was having a blast.

“There was no hassle until she landed,” said one source, with the “she” in question being a helicopter-riding Victoria Beckham. Furious that Golden Balls had ghosted her all weekend, she apparently dragged her husband into a furious argument, and their son Brooklyn was left to pick up the pieces.


According to the book, the reason Rebecca Loos could no longer keep the story of her affair with Beckham to herself was because he had refused to tip a waitress at Madrid’s Hard Rock Cafe, only coughing up after she wrote a heartfelt note to Loos describing how she survived on her tips.

Other stories of skinflintiness abound, including Victoria putting in expense claims for Marks & Spencer’s crisps at a shoot, gripes about an employee who had put in their own claim for an £8 taxi and David serving warm £2.99 a bottle German Liebfraumilch at a glitzy Unicef fundraiser. There are also several (legal) tax avoidance schemes that Bower mentions, adding: “Beckham gave the impression that playing the tax card had become nearly as important in his life as kicking the ball.”


The book is littered with thongs, sarongs and misguided mohicans, not to mention Victoria saying that David would walk around his own kitchen repeatedly saying: “I’m a gay icon, I’m a gay icon.” At one point, we catch Victoria somehow convincing the denim mogul Michael Silver to manufacture jeans so tiny that hardly anybody could ever fit in them (they ended up unsold in Silver’s warehouse). At another, she’s opening her Dover Street store to sell £165 keyrings and skirts that cost the best part of four grand (“Only three items were sold in one day,” notes Bower).

But the fashion fail that had escaped my attention until now (and truly made my jaw hit the floor) was that David once wore a T-shirt emblazoned with Adolf Eichmann’s face on it. And before you go Googling to see which other Adolf Eichmann I could possibly be talking about, don’t. It’s that one. The guy who admitted on tape to being the architect of the final solution. “Got shirt in post from American fan,” was Beckham’s excuse.


Related: Rows, haircuts and spag bol: the Beckham Netflix doc left me longing for football’s less sanitised past | Lauren O’Neill

Despite David showing interest in being cast in one of Guy Ritchie’s films, the pair’s performance at various advertising shoots suggests that Hollywood was never exactly beckoning. When David signed up to promote Brylcreem for £200,000 (a fee so low that Victoria was apparently fuming) a filmed TV advert proved beyond him.

“We were shocked by his voice,” recalls one creative working on the project. “We couldn’t get a performance out of him.” More worrying was that he also struggled to put the ball into the back of the net of an open goal, frequently blasting it over the crossbar. Victoria’s shoot with Walkers Crisps, in which she told her leg double that she looked nothing like her and refused to eat the product itself, fared no better. “Her trademark sense of humour is not evident,” remarked one executive.


According to Bower, when Beckham was in his agent’s London office “he always looked like he was evaluating each woman. Some longed for his attention. Others would later say he was rather creepy.” The text messages saved by Sarah Marbeck, one of the women with whom Bower claims Beckham had an affair, support the latter interpretation.

Referring to Victoria as “Wendy”, around whom they had to be discreet, he apparently told Marbeck (or Tinkerbell as he called her) that he fantasised about picking her up as a call girl just like Richard Gere did in Pretty Woman. It’s perhaps no wonder that Victoria has apparently punched him in the face over the various affair rumours.


David’s quest for a knighthood has been well-documented. Less so some of the desperate plans to get him one, including getting dictators from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to sponsor him to be blasted into space for a week. David wasn’t keen on that idea, but he did think helping David Cameron by speaking out against Scottish independence might tip the scales.

Sadly for him, HMRC had reported being decidedly unimpressed with his tax affairs and Bob Kerslake, the chairman of the honours committee, was also less than enamoured with the Beckhams’ flash lifestyles. What seems to have really killed off David’s ambitions, however, is his constant refusal to donate even £1m of his own money to Unicef, much to the frustration of those around him.

The House of Beckham by Tom Bower is published by HarperCollins (£22). To support the Guardian and Observer order your copy at Delivery charges may apply