David and Victoria Beckham Land in the U.S.
Walking out of a windy LAX airport at around 8:15 p.m. towards an SUV with tinted windows, the couple – sans sons Brooklyn, 8, Romeo, 4, and Cruz, 2, whom Victoria has said she doesn't want photographed – sashayed past hordes of media and fans held back by metal barriers.
"100 to 150 media outlets were expected at the airport to see the Beckhams arrive," airport rep Nancy Castles tells PEOPLE. Although LAX doesn't make special arrangements for celebrities, police and security guards were standing by to deal with the crush of onlookers.
Once the couple have settled in to their $22 million Beverly Hills mansion, their first housewarming party will be hosted by BFFs Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. "There are plans to host a welcome party for the family," says a source close to the Beckhams. "It will probably be within the first couple of weeks."
But first, there's press to do. More than 600 journalists are accredited for David's press conference Friday, in which he'll be formally introduced as the newest player on the L.A. Galaxy soccer team. "He will be putting on the L.A. Galaxy shirt for the first time, although it will be a few days before he hits the field in a game," says a team insider.
Meanwhile, Victoria hits the airwaves Friday morning with a Ryan Seacrest radio interview, followed by taping an afternoon taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote her NBC special, which airs Monday.
Unlike their fanfare-filled arrival in L.A., the Beckhams' departure from England was subdued. "There were a few dinners for family and friends but no big farewell parties," says the friend. "Besides, David will be coming back to England fairly often for soccer commitments on the national team in addition to his playing for Galaxy. And Victoria is really eager to see her show air – then start working towards the Spice Girls reunion."
Reporting by JESSICA HERNDON