No one can deny that David's U.S. deal is a sweet one. Brokered by Fuller (executive producer of American Idol), it's said to be one of the most lucrative contracts in the history of pro sports, with Beckham estimated to be pocketing as much as $250 million over five years. A majority of that, however, is expected to come from commercial endorsements (in the past he has pitched for brands ranging from Pepsi and Vodafone to Brylcreem). Still, to hear David tell it, his main goal is to make Americans fall in love with professional soccer. "I do believe I can take it to another level," he says. "I wouldn't have taken up the challenge if I didn't believe I could have that effect."
And while David wants to change the American opinion of professional soccer, Victoria, 33, seems determined to change the American opinion of her. "I think people are really going to see me for the first time," she says. "I think they have this impression that I'm this miserable cow who doesn't smile. But I'm actually quite the opposite.
"When you're out there, they're trying to get pictures up your shirt, down your top," she continues, in explanation of her tendency to scowl in paparazzi shots. "With all the flashes, it's as much as you can do to just find your car. I'm going to try and smile more for America."
As David's final Madrid games keep him occupied, Victoria has taken the reins in planning the family's move. "I trust my wife 110 percent," says David. "When people say, 'Victoria wears the trousers,' I'm happy with that." After house hunting alone, sending David photos from her cell phone, she finally settled on a $22 million mansion in Beverly Hills. "I had quite a lot of things to get my head around," she says. "What was the nicest area? I was very much like, 'Okay, the seaside is down there, training is there, school is there, and I think Barneys is over there.' I kind of did it like that."
Though the new Casa Beckham is a 13,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, Mediterranean-style villa with the requisite screening room, tennis court and pool, Victoria insists that "we didn't want anything too huge, too fancy, too ostentatious." The goal, she says, was "something quite practical for the kids. It's a light, happy house, with a great corridor the kids are going to love when they are roller-skating."
David points out that there will be no live-in staff. "We like to lock the doors at night and wander around naked," he jokes.
Although their litany of projects might suggest otherwise, Victoria says flatly that "we're not out to be the most famous people in America. We're not looking at the move as boosting the brand. We're us and we've got our kids. We're not aware of a lot of the madness going on around us. We kind of keep to ourselves, really."