David Beckham Talks About His OCD
He is renowned for his perfectionism on the pitch, but it seems everything has to be just right for David Beckham at home as well.
The England football captain has admitted that he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – a complaint which drives sufferers to carry out bizarre and persistent rituals.
In a television interview, Beckham, 30, confessed to counting the cans of cola he keeps in his fridge.
He said the condition leads him to count clothes and place magazines in straight lines and symmetrical patterns. And he added that one of the reasons why he keeps having tattoos is that he is addicted to the pain of the needle.
Beckham said: “I have got this obsessive compulsive disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs.”
With a carefully-placed plug for his sponsor, he went on: “I’ll put my Pepsi cans in the fridge and if there’s one too many then I’ll put it in another cupboard somewhere.
“I’ve got that problem. I’ll go into a hotel room. Before I can relax I have to move all the leaflets and all the books and put them in a drawer. Everything has to be perfect.”
Asked if he had tried to rid himself of the condition, which affects two per cent of the population, he replied: “I would like to. I’ve tried and I can’t stop.”
The World Health Organisation rates OCD as one of the top ten most debilitating illnesses.
Beckham reportedly spends hours straightening the furniture, apparently buys exactly 20 packets of Super Noodles on each visit to the supermarket and wears a new pair of football boots for every match.
His wife Victoria, 31, has said: “Everything has to match in the house. If there are three cans of Diet Pepsi, he’d throw one away because it’s uneven.”
In the interview with Tim Lovejoy, to be broadcast by ITV in the run-up to the World Cup, Beckham said he had kept the condition secret from his teammates at Real Madrid.
But his battle with OCD was common knowledge amongst teammates at his previous club, Manchester United.
Beckham told how players Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Gary and Phil Neville would barge in to his hotel room. “I thought they were just coming in for a chat. But then they’d go out and I’m thinking, ‘Something’s different here’. And then all the magazines would be all wonky.”
He added: “They’d have been in my wardrobe and all my trousers and my shoes would be all over the place. It was a joke with them.”
Beckham, who has 12 tattoos including the names of his sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, said: “Funnily enough, and I know it sounds weird, but I actually enjoy the pain.
“Victoria’s not keen on my having many more but they are addictive.”
Other famous OCD sufferers include Paul Gascoigne, Woody Allen, Harrison Ford, Emily Lloyd, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. In an earlier era, Charles Dickens and Marcel Proust are also said to have been victims of the condition.
A spokesman for the charity OCD-UK hoped Beckham’s revelations would encourage other men to seek help with the condition.
“OCD is something which affects both sexes equally but it is usually the women who are brave enough to come forward for help,” he said.
“To people like Beckham who are considered perfectionists in what they do, that sort of mindset can be a benefit to their careers to a degree, but for the vast majority it is a seriously debilitating condition.”