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The beleaguered soccer star becomes a museum exhibit with a video portrait of him sleeping

By Cristina de Oliveira
Updated April 30, 2004 09:00 AM
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After weeks of tabloid reports about David Beckham’s alleged escapades between the sheets, museum goers and voyeurs in London now have the chance to get an intimate look at what really goes on with him in a Madrid hotel room, PEOPLE reports.

A video portrait was unveiled Tuesday at the National Portrait Gallery featuring the slumbering soccer player (minus any hanky panky), filmed by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood. The footage was shot in a single take after a training session in Madrid in January.

The opening of the exhibit comes on the heels of recent controversy surrounding Beckham and allegations that he cheated on his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. The most publicized were claims by his former personal assistant Rebecca Loos, who said she and the married father of two had several romps while Beckham was in Spain, where he plays for Real Madrid.

According to Hazel Sutherland, a museum representative, several hundred visitors saw the free exhibit Wednesday. “The weekend will really gauge just how popular this exhibit will be,” she explained.

The 67-minute footage on continuous loop shows the snoozing star, from head to mid-torso, wearing only jewelry – diamond studs, a silver chain, a chunky silver ring and a handful of black and brown bracelets around his left wrist. Beckham, serene and statuesque, seems almost vulnerable as he slumbers, moving every so often only to make himself more comfortable on the stark white bed.

Though he’s no stranger to the cameras off the field, an image of Beckham in bed is one the public probably never thought it would see. “Filming while he was asleep produces a different view from the many familiar, public images,” said Taylor-Wood in a statement.

London residents Inks Raphael and Heather Mills, both in their early 60s, showed up to the Portrait Gallery on a rainy afternoon to see the exhibit. “There was a lot of talk about it but it’s just a sleeping man,” said Raphael. “A very good-looking sleeping man, but not terribly exciting.”

“At one point, he gives a little smile,” said Mills. “I nudged my friend and asked her which (woman) she thought he was thinking about.”

Beckham’s video portrait, which has been in the planning stages for more than a year, is part of an annual movement by the museum and its trustees to commission portraits of people who are contemporary achievers. Fans have until next year to get an up-close-and-personal look at Beckham. And no, he doesn’t drool in his sleep.