| Beckham and Victoria pose after the footballer was awarded an OBE last year. (AFP file picture)
David and Victoria Beckham put on a show of affection on Monday as they were reunited for the first time since the publication of claims that the England football captain had a fling with his personal assistant.
The couple posed for a photographer as they walked arm in arm and played in the snow after Beckham flew out to join his wife and their sons for a short skiing holiday in Switzerland.
Their meeting came 36 hours after the News of the World printed details of the alleged relationship between Beckham and Rebecca Loos, employed last year to help him settle into his new life in Spain.
Beckham, who issued a statement describing the reports as “ludicrous” and insisting he is “very happily married”, will spend a couple of days with his family before returning to Real Madrid.
Victoria flew to Switzerland on Sunday with their sons, Brooklyn and Romeo, her parents and her brother.
Victoria, who will be 30 on April 17, told the Sun tabloid the couple’s relationship would survive. “We have been through a lot worse than this and we’re definitely going to get through this,” she said.
The News of the World said it was standing by its story, said to have come from a “family friend” of Loos.
It alleged that Beckham invited Loos, 26, to his Madrid hotel room in September last year after a night out drinking, and that it was the first of four meetings.
The newspaper claimed the footballer finished the fling in December, the same month that he ended his relationship with the sports management agency SFX which had employed Loos.
It also printed a series of sexually explicit mobile phone text messages that it claimed were sent between Beckham and Loos.
Vodafone attempted to dispel fears over data security following suggestions that Beckham’s text messages could have been intercepted.
The company, with which Beckham has an endorsement deal, said no internal leak investigation was taking place and claimed it would be impossible for any of its employees to have obtained the messages.
However, technology experts said interception was possible, and the mobile operator O2 admitted that two employees were dismissed two years ago for passing a customer’s texts on to her suspicious boyfriend.
A Vodafone spokesman said its employees would not have been able to get access to the messages because they were sent in coded form.
He said: “Nobody at Vodafone has access to the information needed to open and read a customer’s text messages, without the involvement of Sema [an IT company].”
Text messages are sent in coded form as radio waves from a handset to a nearby base station and then on to an SMS gateway, essentially a computer that routes it to the recipient.
Vodafone said it kept a coded record of text message content for up to 21 days before destroying it.
Police have the power to intercept telephone calls, text messages and e-mails of suspects if they can show it is necessary to combat serious crime and they obtain a warrant from the home secretary.
Mike Short, chairman of the industry body the Mobile Data Association, said: “We would wish to reassure customers that their messages are safe. Network employees don’t read people’s text messages any more than the Royal Mail reads people’s letters.
“Reading people’s text messages is extremely difficult at the network level.”