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Football star David Beckham is taking Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg to court after a fitness brand deal soured, claiming that it left him £8.5 million (S$14.3 million) out of pocket.

According to British tabloid The Sun, Beckham’s company DB Ventures Ltd (DBVL) is claiming the American actor “duped” the England football legend into working with Australian gym group F45.

Beckham, 48, is also suing the 52-year-old actor’s firm, Mark Wahlberg Investment Group (MWIG), and F45’s founders Adam Gilchrist and Rob Deutsch.

Beckham and The Fighter (2010) actor became friends after the footballer and his family relocated to Los Angeles in 2007, when he signed a deal to join Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy. The Beckhams lived in the same Beverly Hills neighbourhood as Wahlberg.

In 2020, Beckham agreed to become the global ambassador of the popular fitness franchise after being introduced to the company by Wahlberg, who was an F45 minority shareholder after buying a stake in the company through his investment group in 2019.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid ace featured in F45 publicity campaigns, and shared some of his workout regimens at the gym with his millions of Instagram followers. The posts have since been deleted.

British publication Daily Mail reported that the sports personality raved about F45 in a 2021 interview.

“I feel in the best shape that I’ve felt since I retired from playing football, and that’s through F45,” Beckham said.

“This partnership is an exciting business venture for me also, and I’m looking forward to the journey with F45 as the business continues to expand globally,” he said about his role as the gym’s ambassador.

Beckham’s lawyers claimed their client lost more than £8.5 million in potential profit when stocks he was promised were withheld until after share prices plummeted.

In response, Wahlberg and his co-defendants are seeking to dismiss the allegations of “fraudulent conduct” as baseless and lacking in merit, and have asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, reported The Sun.

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