During the course of his career David Beckham has gone from being one of the most revered soccer players in the world to one of the most beloved celebrity fathers in show business, and the London-born heartthrob recently opened up to GQ about navigating that impressive transition.
One of the hardest challenges Beckham seems to face when it comes to his family is keeping his personal life private and out of the spotlight, the headlines or the lens of the paparazzi. However, the 40-year-old star says he's learned not to let it get to him.
"I'm secure as a person, as a husband, as a dad," Beckham shared. "I've gone past the point of really worrying, caring. When I was 22 years old, it might have affected me differently. I'm 40, I've got four amazing kids, and an amazing wife, amazing parents, amazing in-laws, amazing friends who I trust: It doesn't matter what people say."
According to Beckham, he and his wife, fashion designer Victoria Beckham, have "always protected" their kids -- sons Brooklyn, 17, Romeo, 13, Cruz, 11, and daughter Harper, 4 -- but they've been honest with them about the scrutiny they are going to face in the future.
"We know [Brooklyn is] going to make his mistakes," Beckham said of his eldest son, who recently made his debut as a fashion photographer for Burberry. "We know he'll have opportunities because of us. But he's making opportunities for himself, too. So far we've been very lucky that he's found a passion. Whether people believe it or not, he's got talent."
The former soccer star made headlines this past October when he got a tattoo on his hand based on an adorable stick figure doodle drawn by his daughter, Harper. The adorable tattoo added to the sizeable collection Beckham has inked across his body.
"The tattoos are a way of me expressing deeper feelings about the things I care about and love," Beckham explained, revealing there still may be more to come. "Am I done? Probably not. [I] think Victoria's given up on telling me to stop now. She used to. She used to say, 'Do you have to?' But she knows it makes me happy."
Another thing that makes him happy is Los Angeles. Beckham and his family lived in the City of Angels when he signed on to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. While they now live in London, Beckham admitted, "I miss living in America, because we were welcomed with opened arms."
Beckham's SoCal living experience differed from most Angelinos, however, in that he would often go for late-night motorcycle rides through Beverly Hills and Malibu with his bestie, Tom Cruise.
"He'd call at 11 at night, and we'd just hang, no problems, just riding our bikes," Beckham recalled. He also enjoyed a friendship with Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who he'd watch play ball from his courtside seats that he enjoyed with his Staples Center season tickets.
In fact, Beckham's life might be very different if he was still stateside instead of living across the pond. For one thing, he thinks he might even return to playing soccer.
"If I was still living in L.A., I'd probably really seriously think about coming back for a year," Beckham added. "But we're living in London, and the kids are happy in school."
Check out Beckham's entire interview and photospread in GQ's April Issue, on stands now. Watch the video below to hear more from the soccer star's insightful sit-down.