“Oh beware, my lord, of jealousy.
It is the green eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
Shakespeare’s portrait of jealousy seems as valid today as it has ever been, particularly in light of the sad situation in which one famous husband and wife currently find themselves.
My heart sank when I saw the photos this weekend of a desperately unhappy and strained-looking David and Victoria Beckham. Lurid stories have surfaced in the media: Irma Nici, a Bosnian escort claims to have had a relationship with the former England captain. The Beckhams immediately published a statement refuting the claims after they emerged in US gossip magazine In Touch.
She may have received money and she has certainly achieved notoriety, but what of the distress that Ms. Nici has caused to the Beckham family? David Beckham has now launched writs totalling £16 million and is all set to fight it out in court.
The story has caught my attention for a number of reasons but first, a confession. Although we would seem to have little in common – I am a lawyer and she is a singer-turned-designer – I am a great admirer of Victoria Beckham’s!
Victoria Beckham progressed from the Spice Girls to become the wife of a famous footballer; my interest in her grew when she stood by David following the debacle of the England v Argentina game in the 1998 World Cup. They had a fairytale courtship and a healthy baby before marrying; their wedding attracting a level of publicity normally reserved for royal nuptials. And what a wedding it was! While it wouldn’t have been my choice it still made for great reading in OK magazine.
Fast forward a decade and they have now hit the heights in Hollywood. The Beckhams’ careers have gone stellar. They have a wonderful, photogenic way with one another and regardless of what they are selling, be it perfume or designer underwear, the images are memorable. In short: the world remains enthralled by them and the brand they have cultivated.
However it is Victoria’s foray into fashion design that has made me her number one fan. In my opinion she presides over one of the best new fashion houses, and women wait with baited breath for each new collection she releases. I am an avid wearer of Victoria Beckham originals. I love them, I know just where to find them and I have to say this season’s collection is the best so far. I buy her dresses and don’t mind forcing myself to breathe in at times – because they look utterly sensational. The Beckham handbag is soon to arrive, and I cannot wait to get my hands on one!
But for all the Beckhams have, there are those who have watched them transform from Essex kids into globetrotting superstars and as a result are filled with jealousy. Why has she got all that? What sets her apart? Why is she so different from all the rest? Why, why, why?
Jealousy is a wicked emotion. Unfortunately successful men and women in every walk of life recognise it only too well. Sometimes it is expected, and at other times it appears in unexpected forms. However it surfaces, they often have no choice other than to cope with it in good grace and move on.
Such feelings are far from easy to ignore. Jealous people can be obsessive in their hatred. However, as those who are subjected to it also know, jealousy goes hand in hand with success. The better you do, the greater the reaction from those green-eyed monsters who look on.
Take a successful woman, from any walk of life. She may not look, speak or act any differently from anyone else. But something, some intangible quality, has joined her sheer hard work and made her rise head and shoulders above the rest. While some will want to emulate her, plenty of others will be filled with resentment and will want her to fail. Either they believe themselves to be her equal – even if it is clear to any objective observer that they are not and never will be – or they know that they are unable to repeat her success.
I am certain that Victoria Beckham has plenty of enemies who hate her simply because she has enjoyed so much success. And it is not just her career that has been so successful; she has hit the heights with great humour and self-deprecation, and has a gorgeous husband and family to boot.
If I were advising her right now, I would tell her to be happy with what she has. I would not suggest that she heads into court; instead, I would advise her to ride out the wave and ignore the whole damned lot of them.
I’d tell her to keep her counsel and behave just like the British Royal Family do: keep smiling and waving to the millions of ordinary people out there who hold you and your family in admiration. I’d advise her to keep repeating, like a mantra, the words of the tattoo on her neck that signify the feelings she shares with David. Most importantly I would tell her to keep both her husband and children close by. That is, unless she needs to whizz off to New York for the launch of one of her new fashion collections!
More than anything though I would tell her that life is a test. How she and her family react to jealous people intent on her downfall is a trial of her inner strength.
(And finally, from a personal perspective, would she please concentrate on bringing out those Beckham bags..?)