ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie reports on the details of the newly released documents disclosed to the public
Testimony from Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney has kept observers gripped throughout the week-long high-profile libel trial between the two footballer's wives.
It all stems from a now infamous post on Twitter and Instagram, in which Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy (or someone with access to her personal Instagram account) of leaking stories about her private life to the media.
Now, in an astonishing twist, lawyers for both sides in the High Court case have agreed to release a host of evidence the trial judge said could be made public.
Mrs Vardy denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.
While Mrs Justice Steyn, the judge hearing the case, decides on the merits of the legal team's arguments, the freshly disclosed posts give some an insight into how and why this extraordinary case unfolded.
Here is what we have learnt from the new disclosures:
The Vardys and the Euro 2016 tournament
Mrs Vardy, married to former-England star Jamie Vardy, complained she was being made a “scapegoat” during Euro 2016 and that news coverage made her “blood boil”.
In a June 23 2016 exchange, Mrs Vardy shared an article link with her “Hubby” that reported then England football captain had “held talks” with Mr Vardy about his wife.
“Seriously????” Mrs Vardy messaged her husband. Mr Vardy replied: “No not at all babes x” “T**** trying to make me into a scapegoat X,” Mrs Vardy said, with Mr Vardy responding: “F****** arseholes x”
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The trial of the libel dispute between Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney, which finished on Thursday, was told then England captain Wayne Rooney spoke to Mr Vardy about his wife’s “media activities” during the Euro 2016 tournament because they were “causing problems and distractions”.
Giving evidence, Mr Rooney claimed he had “100%” had an “awkward” conversation with his teammate about Mrs Vardy after being asked to by then England manager Roy Hodgson. In a statement issued outside the trial, Mr Vardy said that Mr Rooney, now manager at Derby County, was “talking nonsense”.
Rebekah Vardy's view of the press
In the messages to her husband in 2016, Mrs Vardy shared another article with the headline: “Wayne Rooney asks Jamie Vardy to make sure his wife lowers her social media profile during Euros”.
Mrs Vardy commented: “Jesus… This must have come from somewhere!” “Haha no1 said a word, probably the bloody FA,” Mr Vardy replied. Mrs Vardy said: “Joke makes my blood boil X.” “Papers for u with nothing better to do coz they got no stories x,” Mr Vardy responded, with Mrs Vardy adding: “Exactly not fair to pick on me though w******.”
Screenshots of multiple private Instagram posts made by Mrs Rooney between 2017 and 2019 feature in the newly-released bundle of documents. They include an October 24 2017 post celebrating her husband’s birthday and another made on October 31 that year of Mr Rooney and three of their sons in pyjamas in bed. Mrs Rooney claimed that at the time of the so-called “pyjamas post” she made a “conscious decision” not to upload the photograph with him to her public Instagram account due to “the difficulties between us at the time”.
The mother-of-four claims that an article later published in The Sun referenced the two posts, including quoting the so-called “birthday post... word-for-word”. Lawyers have also shared a screenshot of Mrs Rooney’s so-called “TV decisions” post, among the fake posts she claims to have uploaded to her private Instagram as part of a “sting operation” to discover who was leaking her private information. Posted on September 25 2019, it featured a “selfie” of Mrs Rooney and the text: “Up and out!! Easing my way back into work!! TV decisions…. maybe it’s time for Australia.” Another post made on March 18 2019 which showed a photo of a bar she was at celebrating St Patrick’s Day with her husband and the caption: “We’re back… took kids home….. we finally have a babysitter”.
Mrs Rooney claims the Sun made enquiries about her and her husband going on “lots of dates” in Washington, where the couple then lived, after finding a babysitter they trusted. While no article was published about the “babysitter post”, Mrs Rooney believes it was likely another leak from her private Instagram.
Mrs Justice Steyn will now consider the evidence before handing down a judgment later in the year.