Why David Beckham Is Suing Mark Wahlberg's Fitness Company F45

Beckham claims that Wahlberg's company has not fully compensated him for working as its "global brand ambassador."

David Beckham is suing actor Mark Wahlberg's fitness company, F45 Training, and the case is finally moving forward. Beckham filed his lawsuit back in October of 2022, and according to a report by PEOPLE the case was updated on Wednesday – even getting a trial date in January of 2025. Here's the background on this case and the latest updates.

F45 is a franchise of fitness centers with locations all over the world, and celebrity partnerships have helped it grow rapidly over the last few years. Wahlberg's investment company bought a minority stake in the business back in 2019, and in 2022 Wahlberg himself was named as the chief brand officer. When Beckham sued the company, he claimed that he was hired as a global brand ambassador for the company, but was never paid. He claimed he began this role in 2020, and by late 2022 he had decided to take legal action.

(Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The timing is important here due to F45's tumultuous history. The company was launched in Sydney, Australia in 2012 by founders Adam Gilchrist and Rob Deutsche, and expanded rapidly over the next few years. They sold franchises overseas starting in 2015, moving into New Zealand, India and other parts of southeast Asia. Finally, they moved into the U.K. in 2017 with a bang – selling 50 franchises in quick succession.

In the next few years, F45 took root throughout Europe and the U.S. as well, drawing attention from public figures like Wahlberg in the process. Wahlberg's initial investment was reportedly intended to fuel further expansion, and it brought the company's estimated value up to $450 million.

The company's global appeal makes it easy to understand why Beckham would be such a great asset, as one of the most famous players of the most popular sport in the world. However, in 2021 F45 began to see a cascade of issues including gym closures, falling stock prices and threats of lawsuits from investors. That led to employee layoffs and hasty restructuring, which did not stop massive losses in both 2021 and 2022. The company lost a total of $372 million over those two years, and Gilchrist stood down as CEO. Finally, in August of 2023 the company was delisted from the NYSE amid warnings of non-compliance with listing standards.

It was in this context that Beckham claims he was not paid for his partnership with F45. According to his lawsuit, Beckham fulfilled his part of their agreement by endorsing and promoting the company, and he "enhanced its public profile and credibility and helped roll out new fitness offerings for F45." He claims the company was supposed to repay him with shares in the company, and it failed to do so in a timely manner. He estimates that he lost $9.3 million on the stocks that were transferred too slowly, as the stock price dropped continually. He claims that there are an additional $5 million worth of shares that were simply never delivered.

"As F45's business began to falter in 2022 due to fiscal mismanagement and macroeconomic pressures, F45 withheld millions of dollars in contractually obligated consideration," the lawsuit reads. The response from F45's lawyers says: "The Complaint fails to state any viable breach of contract claim."

Beckham and F45 Training are scheduled to go to court on Jan. 25, 2025 to begin their trial. Beckham is seeking $14.3 million in damages, plus interest, and repayment for his legal fees. Neither Beckham nor Wahlberg has made a public comment about this case.