Wagatha Christie: Coleen Rooney, Rebekah Vardy and the spat that ruined footballers' wives’ friendship
Making waves as one of 2019’s top social media moments, "It's ......... Rebekah Vardy's account" was all anyone could talk about for days on end. Fellow wag Coleen Rooney accused her pal and wife to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy of leaking stories about her private life to the media – with Mrs Rooney swiftly dubbed “Wagatha Christie” for her apparent sleuthing work. The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney claimed Mrs Vardy shared stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account. The wag libel battle kicked off on Thursday at the High Court.
Who are Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy and were they friends?
Coleen, 34, is the long term partner and wife of Wayne Rooney, Derby County’s captain and record goalscorer for both the England national team and Manchester United.
The pair, dubbed ‘Wayleen’ have four sons together and currently live in a £4 million Neo-Georgian mega mansion in Cheshire. Rebekah Vardy, 38, appeared on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2017 and will appear on Dancing on Ice in 2021.
She is married to Jamie Vardy, who signed for Leicester City in the Championship for a non-League record transfer fee of £1 million and helped the team win the Championship in 2014. and the Premier League in 2016.
He has once scored in 11 consecutive Premier League matches, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's record. Mrs Vardy has five children, a daughter and son with footballer Luke Foster and three children with Jamie. She is also stepmother to Jamie's daughter from a previous relationship, Ella.
It was through their husbands – who played football together with the England national team – that the pair met.
Both Mrs Rooney and Mrs Vardy would regularly attend matches and were pictured together on several occasions, earning their ‘WAG’ (wives and girlfriends) titles in the tabloid press.
What caused a spat between the WAGs?
Stories about Mrs Rooney had appeared in The Sun newspaper, such as her longing for a baby girl, her possible return to TV and her house flooding – all of which she says came from her private Instagram account. In 2019, the wag said she "came up with an idea" to try to prove her theory that it was Rebekah Vardy who had leaked the stories to the press, and that she blocked everyone apart from her from seeing her Instagram stories.
She tweeted: "Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into The Sun newspaper. "And, you know what, they did! The story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV, and then the latest story about the basement flooding in my new house. "It's been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all, especially when the stories have been leaked; however, I had to. Now I know for certain which account/individual it's come from. "I have saved and screen-shotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. "It's ... Rebekah Vardy's account."
Mrs Vardy immediately responded to the claims on her own Twitter account, saying she was "disgusted" she was having to deny the claims wile heavily pregnant. "I like you a lot Coleen and I'm so upset you have chosen to do this," she said.
What will happen at court?
At a preliminary hearing in London on Thursday, Mr Justice Warby was asked to determine the “natural and ordinary” meaning of Mrs Rooney’s posts on Instagram and Twitter which accused Mrs Vardy of leaking the stories. Mrs Vardy’s lawyers argue that the meaning of Mrs Rooney’s posts was that she had “consistently and repeatedly betrayed the defendant’s trust over several years by leaking the defendant’s private and personal Instagram posts and stories for publication in The Sun”. In her written claim filed with the court, Mrs Vardy said she had worried she would lose her baby because of the stress as she was pregnant at the time. She “suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed”, her lawyers allege.
Mrs Vardy also claims she “continues to suffer severe and extreme hostility and abuse as a result of the post”, including “a number of highly distressing publications on Twitter” in June falsely alleging she was a new suspect identified in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Mrs Rooney claims Mrs Vardy “was in fact responsible for consistently passing on information about the defendant’s private Instagram posts and stories to The Sun”. She also alleges “this was part of the claimant’s (Mrs Vardy’s) established history and habitual practice of providing private information to journalists and the press”. At the conclusion of the hearing, which lasted just over an hour, Mr Justice Warby said he would give his ruling on Friday afternoon.