Two “false” stories Coleen Rooney claims to have uploaded to her private Instagram account during a months-long “sting operation” were at the centre of her libel dispute with Rebekah Vardy.
After a highly-publicised libel trial in May, a High Court judge ruled on Friday that Mrs Vardy had lost her libel battle against Mrs Rooney.
In her now famous October 2019 social media “reveal” post, Mrs Rooney claimed her fellow footballer’s wife’s account was the only one to see the posts and alleged that information from them was leaked to The Sun newspaper – something Mrs Vardy denies being responsible for.
But on Friday, as a High Court judge found the viral social post was “substantially true”.
Here is a look at what has been heard in court about the social media posts:
The gender selection post
Mrs Rooney claims to have made this “sting operation” post about a so-called gender-selection treatment on April 8, 2019.
The post featured a photograph of the back seat of an airplane overlaid with the text “Let’s go and see what this gender selection is all about.”
She alleges the invented post was marked on Instagram as “seen” only by Mrs Vardy’s account, with her lawyers providing a screengrab to the High Court.
In August that year, the Sun published an article claiming Mrs Rooney travelled to Mexico to look into the treatment.
The story, carrying journalist Andy Halls’s byline, is headlined “COL’S BABY GIRL BID Coleen Rooney travelled to Mexico to look into £8k ‘gender selection’ treatment in desperate bid to have baby girl.”
The article, referring to “a source” and “pals”, alleged Mrs Rooney is “so desperate for her fifth baby to be a girl” that she wants to hear more about a process “in which doctors examine embryos in a lab before implanting only those of the desired gender back into the womb.”
The flooded basement post
Mrs Rooney says she shared false information about her basement being flooded on October 2, 2019 in another “sting operation” post.
She again alleged to the High Court that the post was viewed only by Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account.
Her lawyers have shared a screengrab of the post featuring a bottle of wine overlaid with the text: “needed after today… flood in the basement of our new house… when it all seemed to be going so well.”
On October 8, The Sun published a story, with Simon Boyle’s byline, headlined: “IN ROO-INS Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s £20million ‘Morrisons mansion’ flooded during Storm Lorenzo.”
The article, quoting a “source close to the couple”, claimed to reveal that bad weather had “wreaked havoc” at a Cheshire property, with Mrs Rooney being “called in to find the cellar had been flooded.”
The Honda post
During the third day of the trial, the High Court also heard one of the articles in the case concerned Mrs Rooney’s car being damaged in early 2019, with a picture of the damaged Honda being posted on her private Instagram account.
This was not a fake post and a story was published in The Sun about Mrs Rooney’s car three days later, written by journalist Andy Halls.
Mr Sherborne said: “You didn’t object at any stage to the fact that Ms Watt is plainly passing on information from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account to Andy Halls.”
Mrs Vardy said The Sun already had the information, adding: “I didn’t think she was passing on any new information.”
David Sherborne, representing Mrs Rooney, asked: “Take the word new out of it. Did you or did you not know that Ms Watt was passing on information from Mrs Rooney’s private account?”
Mrs Vardy replied: “She was talking to Mr Halls about information that was already being discussed.”
The court heard Mrs Rooney later posted a public tweet saying it was “sad” someone who followed her was “betraying” her after the article appeared in The Sun.
While purportedly discussing this tweet in a private WhatsApp conversation, Mrs Vardy was told by her agent Caroline Watt “It wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me”, in a message accompanied by a laughing face emoji.
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The barrister put it to Mrs Vardy that was Ms Watt admitting leaking the information to the journalist.
She replied: “That seems to be what she is saying, but I’m just looking at the times, at 18.47 I’m bathing the children, there is no response from me.”
Mr Sherborne accused Mrs Vardy of trying to throw herself a “lifeline” and asked why, after bathing her children, she did not respond to Ms Watt to challenge what she had said, if she did not know about and authorise the leak.