David Beckham Reflects on Growing Up 'in an Era Where Mental Health Wasn't Talked About'

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The soccer star said that working on the documentary 'Beckham' improved his mental health and allowed him to come to terms with disappointments in his past

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> David Beckham.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

David Beckham.

David Beckham is sharing how much he's learned about mental health over the years.

“I grew up in an era where, you know, mental health wasn't really talked about," the now-retired soccer star, 49, said at a Los Angeles screening for the second episode of his new Netflix documentary series, Beckham. "And that I suppose is the one thing I take from this documentary is how important mental health is.

A particular pain point for Beckham was revisiting his 1998 World Cup loss, but he said discussing it in his documentary “made me get over certain things and feel better about certain things that have happened, you know, whether it was leaving Manchester United or getting sent off in ‘98 or, you know, some of the other things that happened throughout my career. It did make me feel better.”

He explained how the mental health landscape used to be different. "Twenty years ago, people wasn't talking about or asking, ‘Are you okay?’ Or ‘How do you feel?’”

He continued, “Now, thankfully, people are talking about it. So that's the one [thing] that I can take from being able to talk about this. On the therapy side, you know, being able to talk about some of the things for the first time, was therapy for me. And I wouldn't say it gave me closure because I still feel pain from the most moments. But it made me feel better about those moments.”

<p>GERARD CERLES/AFP/Getty</p> David Beckham and Diego Simeone react after foul play by Beckham during the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

GERARD CERLES/AFP/Getty

David Beckham and Diego Simeone react after foul play by Beckham during the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Related: Shirtless David Beckham Shows Off His Abs During a Workout — with Lighting Help from Wife Victoria!

<p>Gareth Cattermole/Getty </p> (From left) Mia Regan, Romeo Beckham, Cruz Beckham, Harper Beckham, David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Brooklyn Peltz Beckham and Nicola Peltz Beckham.

Gareth Cattermole/Getty

(From left) Mia Regan, Romeo Beckham, Cruz Beckham, Harper Beckham, David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Brooklyn Peltz Beckham and Nicola Peltz Beckham.

He added that the documentary impacted his mother as well, sharing that, "she came up to me, she said, 'You don't have to feel bad.' And that, obviously, made me emotional as well."

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Beckham shared that when he got a “very rough cut” of the first two episodes, he and his wife of nearly 25 years, Victoria Beckham, “watched it on an iPad in bed, no frills.”

“We laughed. We cried. And at the end of those two hours,” Beckham said, “We're exhausted."

Related: David and Victoria Beckham Enjoy Double Date with Gordon and Tana Ramsay in Spain

“What we've done in those last 20 years," he said, reflecting. "It was just like an emotional journey.”

But, it wasn't only about healing old wounds, Beckham said, adding that the documentary scored him some points with his youngest son, Cruz, who, after watching the series, said, "'Dad, I didn't realize you were really good?'"

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