Who Is Brooklyn Beckham?
Brooklyn Beckham is the eldest child of the footballer David Beckham and the former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham. He has grown up under the fierce celebrity spotlight, and emerged into adulthood with a huge Instagram following, making him one of the world’s most visible teenagers, whose fame is tipped to eclipse that of his parents. Having shown early promise as a footballer, the pressure of living up to his father became a burden, so he switched to photography. His book of photographs, What I See, published in June 2017, divided critics — but he has persevered, winning a scholarship to Parsons School of Design in New York, where he began a four-year art and photography course in September 2017. He is also know for his relationship with the American actress Chloe Moretz.
Privileged Beginnings in England
Brooklyn Joseph Beckham was born on March 4, 1999 — and made his media debut five weeks later. He appeared with his parents in an OK Magazine photo-shoot at their penthouse flat in Manchester, England, for which they were reportedly paid $1.8 million, a record-breaking sum at the time. Two months after, in July 1999, David and Victoria Beckham got married, famously sitting on gold thrones at their reception.
In 2002, when Brooklyn was three, the family moved into a $2 million barn conversion in the village of Nether Alderley. It was half an hour’s drive to Old Trafford stadium, where David played football for Manchester United. But within months, they had moved again, this time to a $3.85 million mansion in Hertfordshire, in the south of England. Dubbed “Beckingham Palace” by the British media, the house included seven bedrooms, a recording studio, indoor and outdoor pools, a petting zoo, soccer pitch, tennis court and two full-size golf holes within its grounds. According to MailOnline, a $30,000 fibre-optic light display was installed in Brooklyn’s bedroom. Family holidays were spent at the Beckhams’ lavish holiday home in St Tropez, France.
To celebrate Brooklyn’s fifth birthday in March 2004, he was given an $18,000 party in a giant, white marquee at Beckingham Palace. He was already being hailed as a celebrity in his own right: “His cheeky grin is as instantly recognizable as his mother’s famous pout,” observed the London Evening Standard. The newspaper went on to report that Brooklyn did not yet attend school regularly, but was educated at home by a governess. Due to his parents’ busy working lives, he was often looked after by his extended family — and accompanied by caretakers in public.
Brooklyn's famous godparents are Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley.
Moving to Beverly Hills
David Beckham signed a four-year contract to play for the Spanish club Real Madrid in 2003. He moved to Madrid, but Victoria failed to settle there, and spent much of the next two years shuttling back and forth between England and Spain with her two sons, Brooklyn and Romeo (born in 2002). A third son, Cruz, was born in Madrid in February 2005 — but weeks later, the Mirror, a UK tabloid, reported that Victoria was returning to live in Britain with the boys.
In 2007, the Beckhams were on the move again, this time to Los Angeles, where David had signed a five-year contact to play for LA Galaxy. By now, Brooklyn was eight years old. The family moved into a $22 million villa in Beverly Hills, near to friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. David saw out his contract, earning $250 million — mostly from endorsement deals with brands including Adidas and Samsung, according to Forbes. While the Beckhams were living in LA, Brooklyn’s sister, Harper, was born in 2011.
Why Brooklyn Gave Up Football for Photography
The Beckhams returned to London in 2013, settling into a $32 million house in Holland Park. Brooklyn was enrolled into a small, arts-based private school, Fine Arts College. His father bought him a camera to help with his GCSE exam in photography, and “I started taking it everywhere with me,” Brooklyn told Miss Vogue magazine. “I realized how much I enjoyed the whole process — from taking the images to editing them and developing them and it soon became a complete passion.” In an attempt to keep him grounded, his parents encouraged him to take a part-time job in a local coffee shop for $4 an hour.
His father also encouraged him to enroll at the youth academy of Arsenal Football Club — but he was eventually released after failing to make the grade. “I had a lot of pressure on me,” Brooklyn reflected on Entertainment Today in 2017. “Every time I made a mistake, everyone was looking at me… I kind of wanted to go in my own direction. Photography is it.”
Brooklyn Beckham: Photographer & Instagram Star
Brooklyn appeared on his first solo magazine cover, for Man About Town, in 2014. By April the next year he had 1 million followers on Instagram. He was enlisted by Burberry to photograph a fragrance campaign in January 2016 — the shoot was criticized as “sheer nepotism” by the fashion photographer Chris Floyd, among others. And Brooklyn wasn’t even the first Beckham child to work with the fashion brand: his younger brother Romeo had been modeling for Burberry since 2012.
Weeks later, a poison tabloid piece appeared in The Sun newspaper, accusing Brooklyn of “acting like a D-list celeb” and partying “into the early hours” on a school night. The piece served as a reminder, if any were needed, that Brooklyn was growing up under a media microscope: teenage indiscretions would be seized upon and broadcast to the world. But such stories have been few and far between.
Fame and Financial Prospects
By August, Brooklyn was being hailed by Esquire magazine as “one of the hottest prospects in showbiz” after he pocketed $140,000 for appearing in an advert for the Chinese phone giant Huawei. “Just by working the fashion industry alone he has the potential to be more famous and wealthy than either David or Victoria,” said the magazine’s style director, Teo Van Den Broeke in August 2016. “And best of all, he seems like a genuinely pleasant, down-to-earth guy.” Brooklyn still has quite a way to go. His parents are now reportedly worth around $700 million — more than the British royal family — according to a study by the London School of Marketing.
In March 2017, Brooklyn celebrated turning 18 by getting his first tattoo — of a Native American chief (for which he was criticized for cultural appropriation). By the time he started university in September, he’d had another six, including tattoos of the phrases “Made in England” and “Mama’s Boy”. He published his first photography book, What I See, in June — critics branded it both “brilliant” and “terrible.” By now, Brooklyn Beckham had more than 10 million followers on Instagram.
Brooklyn moved to New York in September 2017 to begin a four-year art and photography course at Parsons School of Design. “I like people from school,” he told The Cut days after he began. “But there are a few fangirls… Sometimes I have to be like, ‘I'm going to be with you for like four years, so chill.’ I mean, it’s gotten better. They understand and respect it, but it’s just at the beginning it’s such a shock to them.”
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