What is behind the 'Wagatha Christie' row and who are Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney?

Coleen Rooney (left) has accused Rebekah Vardy (right) of selling stories from her private Instagram account to the tabloids. Credit: PA

The celebrity libel trial of the year is set to begin as Rebekah Vardy takes on Coleen Rooney in the High Court from Tuesday.

After months of legal wrangling, the proceedings will last seven days and will be sure to include revelations that will fill front pages for the entire week.

But what exactly is Rebekah Vardy suing Coleen Rooney for and how much do we know about the two women at the centre of the 'Wagatha Christie' trial?

A timeline of events: How did the public row between the two women unfold?

  • September 2017 to October 2019 – The Sun newspaper runs a number of articles about Mrs Rooney, including that she travelled to Mexico to look into baby “gender selection” treatment, her plan to revive her TV career and the flooding of her basement.

  • October 2019 – Mrs Rooney uses social media to accuse Mrs Vardy of selling stories from her private Instagram account to the tabloids. After sharing a series of “false” stories and using a process of elimination, Mrs Rooney claims they were viewed by one Instagram account, belonging to Mrs Vardy. Mrs Vardy, then pregnant with her fifth child, denies the allegations and says various people had access to her Instagram over the years.

He argues that a new witness statement submitted by Mrs Vardy suggests Ms Watt was the source but Mrs Vardy claims she “did not authorise or condone her”.

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Who is Rebekah Vardy?

Rebekah Vardy is a model and TV personality, who appeared on I’m A Celebrity in 2017 before later appearing on Dancing On Ice in 2021, as well as making appearances on Loose Women.

The 40-year-old is married to Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and was thrust into the media spotlight after he helped Leicester City on their way to an unlikely Premier League win in 2016.

A mother-of-five, she recently wrote a children’s book with her husband, entitled Cedric The Little Sloth With A Big Dream, which follows a little sloth who hopes to become a footballer.

She is being represented by Hugh Tomlinson, a media barrister who became a QC in 2002 and is a board member of press campaign group Hacked Off.

Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy. Credit: PA

Who is Coleen Rooney?

The 36-year-old has had a varied career including TV presenting, writing, as well as fronting an exercise DVD. Mrs Rooney met her husband Wayne - the former England and Manchester United footballer -when she was 12, as the couple went to the same school in Liverpool. They began dating when they both turned 16 and have four sons together.

Coleen Rooney and husband when in 2017 when she was pregnant with her fourth child. Credit: PA

She is being represented by David Sherborne, a barrister who is no stranger to high-profile libel trials at the Royal Courts of Justice, having represented Johnny Depp in the actor’s 2020 libel claim against the publisher of the Sun.

Who is presiding over the case?

The High Court judge overseeing the case, Mrs Justice Steyn, was appointed in 2019 and sits in the Queen’s Bench Division – the part of the High Court which deals with defamation, personal injury and breach of contract claims.

As well as overseeing the “Wagatha Christie” claim, other prominent cases she has heard include Arron Banks’ libel claim against journalist Carole Cadwalladr and the FDA union’s unsuccessful legal challenge over Boris Johnson’s decision to support Priti Patel following bullying accusations.