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Why is David Beckham suing F45, the fitness company Mark Wahlberg partly owns? The lawsuit explained

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David Beckham filed a lawsuit against F45 Training, which actor Mark Wahlberg is a part owner of, alleging the company failed to pay him as the brand’s global ambassador.

Beckham’s company DB Ventures (DBVL) filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Central California in April 2023.

According to court documents obtained by NBC News, attorneys for DB Ventures alleged F45 Training, which Wahlberg serves as chief branding officer and owned a 36% stake of, failed to pay Beckham shares of stock he said he was owed after the company went public in July 2021.

Why did David Beckham sue F45 Training?

Beckham entered into a five-year agreement with F45 Training, an Australian-based fitness company, in 2020 to help the brand grow ahead of its initial public offering, according to an amended complaint.

As part of the agreement, Beckham posted several social media posts about F45 Training. (Beckham’s posts have since been deleted.)

F45 agreed to pay Beckham $1.5 million a year, along with shares of stock in the company which would be available to him six months and again 12 months after the company went public, the complaint said.

Beckham’s attorneys alleged F45 Training failed to transfer and register the shares until about eight months after the agreed-upon date.

“Despite DBVL upholding its end of the bargain, however, F45 failed to issue substantial cash and equity compensation to DBVL as required by the parties’ agreement,” Beckham’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

F45 Training’s stock price dropped significantly over the course of the eight-month period, where Beckham’s attorneys sent multiple letters asking for the alleged breach of contract to be rectified, according to the complaint.

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Beckham’s attorneys said the shares were worth about $9.3 million less than they were in January 2022.

Beckham is suing for $9.3 million, plus an additional $5 million, according to the complaint. Beckham is also seeking $4.5 million for payments he alleges he was to receive for the remainder of his term with F45.

Attorneys for the company said it had provided the shares to Beckham and denied all the allegations listed in the lawsuit, according to an answer to the amended complaint. F45 also filed a motion to dismiss Beckham’s lawsuit, but a judge denied the motion in September 2023.

Representatives for Beckham did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY.com.

Beckham initially filed the lawsuit against F45 jointly with golfer Greg Norman in October 2022, the documents said, but a judge later instructed the two to bring the cases separately.

How are Mark Wahlberg and David Beckham connected?

Wahlberg purchased a minority stake in F45 Training through his investment firm in 2019 at a valuation of $450 million, according to Bloomberg. Four years later, he was named the company’s chief brand officer in 2023.

F45 Training announced its partnership with Beckham in 2021. Beckham said in a statement announcing the partnership that Wahlberg, whom he called a friend, had introduced him to the company.

“I’ve been a fan of the F45 franchise and training model since being introduced by my friend, Mark Wahlberg,” 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,” the soccer star added.

What was Wahlberg’s response to the lawsuit?

F45 Training and Wahlberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY.com. 

This article first appeared on TODAY.com. Read more from TODAY here:

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