And they lived happily ever after



There's wasn't much to do after supper on a cold wet evening in the hotel in Tbilisi, the dilapidated capital of Georgia, and bored England footballers, there to play a friendly match, flicked through the channels on satellite TV.

"That will do," said David Beckham. It was coverage of a Spice Girls tour and the girl in black latex and spike heels instantly fascinated the young midfielder.

"That's the one for me," he told his teammates. "She's my ideal girl and I'm determined to meet her." David Beckham wasn't to know that at just about the same time Victoria Adams had leafed through a magazine feature on up-and-coming sporting heroes and told the other Spice Girls: "That David Beckham's handsome. I wouldn't mind asking him for a date sometime..."

But she didn't. Their busy lives weren't to cross for another year when Victoria, though not a football fan, began to accompany bandmate Mel C, then dating Ryan Giggs, to Manchester United matches. She would remember: "United  had beaten Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 and  afterwards we went into the players' bar and I met David. He was more handsome than in the pictures but very shy.

"I had to break the ice and do the talking but he looked nice and soon he was chatting away." David recalled: "As soon as she smiled I knew everything was going to be OK."

And on the way home, Victoria told Mel C: "I never believed in love at first sight but I think I do now"! Within a couple of months the pair were inseparable and from the beginning were never nervous of showing their love. Victoria looked radiant and stylish in her mini-dresses and high heels that became her trademark outfits. Ten months into their courtship, David went down on one knee in a North Country hotel to propose — and was promptly accepted.

The $800,000 marriage in July 1999 was in an ancient Irish castle with gilt and velvet thrones, trumpeters playing and a privately-commissioned coat of arms flying from the ramparts.  From the start they were determined to do things in style. It was like a marriage in a fairy-tale — the shy handsome son of an East London gas-fitter and the ambitious daughter of an Essex electronics salesman. But reality has intruded from time to time... there have been tabloid stories linking the superstar athlete with different women — incidents he has always denied.

"We're soulmates and we get through these things," Victoria says. "You deal with it or you don't. You go into a marriage knowing there will be ups and downs. "We're in the public eye so we have more to deal with than most. We accepted that years ago. It's just about us and the family."

"We do get criticised all the time....There's this idea that Posh and Becks arrived on earth carrying armfuls of Gucci bags down Bond Street. "But really I'm a high street girl who got lucky. We don't forget where we've come from and we know who we are."

It's a happy marriage and a lucrative one. David is said to be worth $260 million and Victoria $190 million. If anything, David is earning more since he retired from football — sponsors pay him $1 million a day for personal appearances. Says an insider who knows the couple: "David wasn't the greatest footballer ever and no one would mistake Posh for Prada, but they work prodigiously to exploit what they have.

"They are essentially ordinary people who have escaped their ordinariness. The fact that the public doesn't really know what they are like in their private moments is all part of the fascination." But friends say that despite their wealth and fame, Posh and Becks are a surprisingly old-fashioned family. Says one: "Victoria is quite strict with their four children and expects them to be polite and appreciate what they've got.

"She is the driving force behind the family although David can put his foot down if things get serious. He is always saying that Victoria should eat more and take it easy. He's the laid-back one of the partnership.

"He's also the one who  earns most of the money, mainly through his company Footwork. Over the years he has built up a business empire that few people know about." David Beckham may not often be able to get a word in when Posh is around, but when he does it's worth hearing. "We're so lucky," he says.

"We've got this amazing relationship and four wonderful children. For 15 years Victoria and I have been in love. We don't do it for the commercials. We are like this at home.
That's us..."

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