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Victoria Beckham: the life and career of Posh Spice as she reaches her 40th birthday

Singer turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham turns 40 this week.

Victoria on catwalk in 2000
Victoria on catwalk in 2000

As she approaches the milestone, we take a look back at the life and times of the woman who first rose to fame as Posh Spice, a footballer's wife, and later, transformed herself into a global fashion icon.

Victoria Caroline Adams was born on April 17 1974 in Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire, to parents Jackie and Anthony Adams, an electrical engineer who owns a supply warehouse.

As a youngster, Victoria attended the Jason Theatre school and later Laine Arts Theatre College in Surrey. In 1994, Beckham was chosen, along with four other singer dancers, to form a band managed by Simon Fuller, called The Spice Girls.

Victoria shot to fame with the girl group in 1996 when their first single, Wannabe, reached number one in more than 30 countries and remained in the top spot for seven consecutive weeks in the UK charts.

The Spice Girls went on to become an international phenomenon and are still the best-selling female group of all time, with over 75 million records sold worldwide.

Known as 'Posh Spice' in the group, Victoria, alongside bandmates Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown became the fastest-selling British group since The Beatles and performed for the Queen at the Royal Variety Show in 1997.

In the same year, Victoria met then Manchester United footballer David Beckham at a charity football match.

After dating less than a year, the couple, who became known as Posh n Becks, were engaged to be married and tied the knot at a lavish ceremony held in Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland only three months after the birth of their first son, Brooklyn Beckham in 1999.

With the future of the Spice Girls looking uncertain after the departure of Geri Halliwell in 1998, Victoria concentrated her efforts on pursuing a career as a fashion designer and model. She made her debut appearance on the catwalk for Maria Grachvogel during London Fashion Week in 2000, and went on to become the face of high fashion houses, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs and Roberto Cavalli.

Following the eventual break-up of the Spice Girls in 2001, Beckham had a short-lived solo career, releasing her first single with Dane Bowers in August 2000. Despite a heavy promotional campaign, the song, Out of Your Mind, lost out on the number one spot to Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The pop star went on to have three more top ten hits by 2004, but later admitted that her solo singing efforts had been a mistake. She told Harper's Bazaar in an interview in 2009: "People never believed the solo singing career, and it wasn't the real me - I was a little bit lost at the time. I don't mind making mistakes. I just can't live with anyone else's mistakes."

Following the birth of her second son, Romeo James Beckham, in September 2002, the singer had more modelling triumphs becoming the face of Rocawear, alongside Naomi Campbell, and was a brand ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana in 2003. She then turned her hand to designing, launching her own denim range, dVb Style, an eyewear range, and her own perfume, Intimately Beckham. The Beckhams' third child, Cruz, was born in 2005.

In 2007, the Beckhams moved to Los Angeles after David left Spanish giants Real Madrid to sign for LA Galaxy in the US Major League Soccer.

She later told Allure magazine that her time in the States was the happiest of her life. ''Living in America for six years was the happiest I think I've ever been. Yeah, it was much more accepting for a woman to have a career, as well as a man. And I loved it," said the mother-of-four. Here she is at David's media conference wearing a hot pink Roland Mouret Moon dress and matching Birkin bag.

The Spice Girls also reunited for a short-lived tour the same year, performing 17 sell-out shows. But despite the tour grossing over £16.5 million, Victoria vowed never to sing again, and turned her efforts instead to forging a career as clothes designer.

Victoria launched her eponymous clothing range, known as VB, at New York Fashion Week in 2008. The debut collection impressed the fashion world and Posh went on to make her name in the world of high couture, winning ''designer brand of the year'' for her collection at the British Fashion Awards in 2011.

In 2012, the pop star launched a more affordable secondary label, Victoria by Victoria Beckham. That summer also saw the Spice Girls perform at the London 2012 Olympics, where Victoria was reunited with her band-mates once again.

The Beckhams' fourth child, daughter Harper Seven, was born in July 2011. Two years later, the family temporarily moved to Paris, after David moved to French club Paris St-Germain, and returned to the UK late last year.

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