The message from one of David Beckham’s bodyguards pinged on Rebecca Loos’ mobile phone: “Are you texting David right now?”
Taking her by surprise, it came in the midst of their 2003 affair – something that had not escaped the bodyguard’s notice. Rebecca was indeed texting David at that very moment.
What happened next, which she reveals for the first time today, marked what she calls a “significant’ moment in their brief relationship.
She tells The Mail on Sunday: “We were texting and it was getting naughty, it was fun… then suddenly I get a text from the Spanish bodyguard. It said, ‘Stop. He’s showing them to his friends and they are all laughing’.”
All at once, the charming England captain didn’t seem quite so gallant after all. “I was now seeing him differently,” says Rebecca, then his personal assistant.
“He had made me feel so special, but I never ever wanted him to leave his wife and get together with me… after learning what he was like I never wanted to be with somebody like that anyway.
“I was very hurt and that hurt and that pain led me to become more laissez faire and to not give a s*** about keeping this big secret for him when he’s treating me like that.”
A source once close to Beckham’s entourage in Madrid confirmed Rebecca’s account and told The Mail on Sunday: “He was showing the messages to his friends in a nightclub. It was about 4am.
“Some of these friends were over from England. I remember the bodyguard warning Rebecca about what was going on.”
Following rumours about their relationship, Beckham did not renew his contract with SFX, the global management company that employed Rebecca. She was asked if she wanted to work in the London office “By then I was pretty much done with the sports industry”.
She adds: “It was a sad time, that job was the highlight of my career.”
The affair with Beckham ended shortly afterwards.
It would be some months however before Rebecca eventually decided to go public, when she vividly described making love to Beckham on at least four occasions.
Of this period, she says now: “I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for – I hadn’t even heard of the term kiss and tell.”
This might raise eyebrows in some quarters but few could doubt that Rebecca is atypical of the kiss-and-tell club. What her eminent family made of it all, she is reluctant to say.
Her diplomat father Leendert Willem Alberto Loos is Dutch-Swiss and his wife Elizabeth is Anglo-Spanish.
Rebecca lived with her parents at the time of the affair in their rambling seven-bedroom mansion in one of the Spanish capital’s most exclusive suburbs.
Born in Madrid in a convent, Rebecca later moved with her parents, older brother and younger sister to Notting Hill in West London where she attended Bassett House prep school. Her childhood was idyllic.
Her mother imbued in all her children a love of culture, and Rebecca recalls days roaming galleries and museums.
Before returning to Madrid when she was 11, they lived in The Hague in Holland.
Several defining moments, she says, emerge from her youth. Other memories underline things she now knows to be true of herself.
She recalls weekly lessons with a Dutch language teacher when she was eight or nine. “I went to her home for extra classes. Then one evening she rang my mother and asked if I had taken the teacher’s gold bracelet.
“My parents sat me down and asked gently if I had it. I said I hadn’t taken it – and the woman found it at her house a couple of weeks later. I never went back.”
It is to this incident, which left her with a sharp sense of injustice, that her mind returned while watching David Beckham on Netflix indirectly casting doubt, she says, on her story.
“I have never been afraid to speak my mind or stand up for myself – particularly when something’s wrong,” she explains. “That comes from my childhood.”
In Madrid she was educated at the most exclusive and expensive school in the country, Runny–mede College, where she enjoyed being the centre of attention, her exhibitionist streak extending to family photographs.
“I was known for pulling moonies in them,” she laughs. Perhaps, she muses, her limelight-grabbing was inherited from her Swiss grandmother, an opera singer.
At the same time she wanted to fit in and “be like her Spanish friends”, which meant taking instruction in the Catholic Church.
Every Wednesday after school she attended catechism classes and recalls bombarding the priest with “too many questions”.
She was 15 and took issue with how women were portrayed in the Christian story, repeatedly querying how Mary “could become pregnant without having sex”.
After two months the priest, clearly exasperated, patted her on the back and said: “Rebecca, I do not think this is for you.”
She says: “And that was the end of that!”
While she adored Madrid for its vibrancy and culture, she was an 18-year-old coming to terms with her bisexuality and wanted to push boundaries.
“In Spain at this time it [bisexuality] was not a normal thing,” she says. “I sort of discovered this about me around 15 with one of my best friends at the time.
“We started fooling around. And so I felt I had this very naughty side – not knowing that actually it was quite normal.”
Moving to London, she studied international business and marketing at university, but found the course dull. Nevertheless she was having “the time of my life” and, drawn to Soho, discovered a gay bar called Freedom.
“Walking in there was like, ‘Wow’. When I went in there I just felt at home. I was like ‘Oh my god, I’m not alone’.”
It was the late Nineties and London was her playground. “I felt that I belonged, that London was very me,” she says.
She became a Freedom regular and enjoyed clubbing at the Ministry of Sound, acquiring boyfriends and girlfriends along the way. For nearly a year she was in a relationship with a young French woman.
“There were pictures of us together all over our flat and I think Mummy suspected when she came to visit but never said anything.”
In the event, her secret was exposed by a newspaper several days after the story of her affair with Beckham broke.
When she dropped out of university after a year, her parents said they would not continue funding her and suggested she return home. But she stayed and got a job at Harrods as a filing clerk.
However, her talents lay elsewhere. She got a job working for a tennis agent and travelled the world. His business was later taken over by Mayfair-based SFX which had many top footballers on its books.
“I didn’t have much of an interest in sport but I loved the work and the travel was great,” says Rebecca.
Long before she was introduced to him in Madrid, she saw Beckham in the SFX offices. She recalls: “I was in reception preparing to go to lunch with a friend and he walked past me, looked me up and down, and gave me a cheeky grin.”
Rolling her eyes, Rebecca turned to her friend and said dismissively: “Another footballer…”
She says today: “I wasn’t fazed by celebrities, I am not like that.”
Confident and resourceful and fluent in English, Spanish, Dutch and French, it is easy to see why she was considered such an asset by SFX – and why when Beckham signed for Real Madrid she was assigned to both him and his family.
By all accounts all the Beckhams took a shine to affable Rebecca. She house-hunted on their behalf, found schools and was at Beckham’s side whenever he needed a translator.
Once when the entire Beckham clan was in town she was asked at 11pm to find a sushi restaurant for 18. “I was in the back of a car frantically ringing round until I found somewhere.” At other times, she might be summoned to bring a Big Mac to the footballer’s hotel.
On some matters she was asked to only deal with Victoria, not her husband. “I was working for both of them and house-hunting for them at the time.
“It was something to do with the house – a pool or gym or something – and, let’s say, David wanted A and Victoria wanted B. Victoria’s PA then rang and said, ‘Victoria wants you to talk directly to her and not to David.’ And then David began texting me. When I said I’d been given instructions not talk to him about things he said: ‘We don’t have to tell anyone’.”
That, says Rebecca, was the start of all their troubles – and the affair that she thought she had put behind her until Beckham reopened old wounds with his Netflix documentary.
“I never received any closure,” she said. “If somebody had just reached out to me, if he [Beckham] had just called me and said, ‘I’m so sorry, how can we fix this?’, things would have been so different.”
She also believes she could have had better advice from her employers, saying:
“Looking back, if I was sending a 26-year-old woman into that situation I would give her guidance on what she might expect – and I would certainly make sure she had all the support she needed.”
But she adds: “I’ve very much accepted the choices I’ve made, the mistakes that I’ve made. I’ve come to terms with them. In hindsight, [they have been the] best lessons I’ve learned in life. That path, those mistakes, everything I’ve learned along the way, has brought me to where I am today.
“And I am in the most wonderful place I could be. I’m so grateful. I have the most incredible husband, children, family.”