Rebekah Vardy has lost her High Court libel battle with Coleen Rooney in the so-called Wagatha Christie trial. Judge Karen Steyn on Friday cleared Coleen Rooney of libeling Rebekah Vardy by claiming that Vardy had leaked her private social media posts to the tabloid press.
The case caused a media frenzy during seven days of hearings as the two women went to court, along with their husbands, despite being urged by judges and legal experts to settle. The case has reportedly cost each side more than 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) in legal fees.
Coleen Rooney was dubbed “Wagatha Christie,” a play on the slang term “WAG” — wives and girlfriends of soccer stars — and the name of crime author Agatha Christie.
Coleen Rooney, the wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, has said she purposely posted fake stories on Instagram to find out who was passing her private information to the press. The stories — including one about a fictitious basement flood at the Rooneys’ house and another reporting Coleen Rooney was trying to revive her TV career — duly appeared in The Sun.
The fake stories posted by Coleen Rooney on her private Instagram to “trap” Rebekah Vardy were revealed on the penultimate day of the libel trial.
Coleen’s first fake Instagram post was in April 2019, featuring a snap on board a passenger jet heading to Mexico with the caption: “Let’s go and see what this gender selection is all about.”
A screenshot she later took showed it was only “seen by 1”.
In September 2019, Coleen posted a fake story hinting she might be in I’m a Celebrity.
A selfie was accompanied by the caption: “Up and out!! Easing my way back into work!! TV decisions today…maybe time for Australia.”
It was only seen by Rebekah’s account.
In October 2019, Coleen posted a picture of a wine bottle, saying: “Needed after today… flood in the basement of our new house… when it all seemed to be going so well.”
The fake — again seen by one account — was the last piece of evidence.
Rooney said she had blocked all accounts from seeing her Instagram stories apart from the one she suspected of being the leaker. In an October 2019 social media post to almost 2 million followers, she revealed: “It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Rooney was dubbed “Wagatha Christie,” a play on the slang term “WAG” — wives and girlfriends of soccer stars — and the name of crime author Agatha Christie.
Vardy, 40, strenuously denied leaking, and sued for libel “to establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation,” her lawyer Hugh Tomlinson said.
Vardy, who sued after Rooney accused her in 2019 of sharing private Instagram content with The Sun, said she was “extremely sad and disappointed at the decision.”
Rooney said she was pleased with the verdict, but added that “it was not a case I ever sought or wanted.”
“I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others,” she said in a statement.
Both women testified during the trial, with Vardy several times breaking down in tears. The judge was scathing about Vardy’s credibility as a witness, saying some of her evidence was “manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, evasive or implausible.” Rooney, in contrast, was “honest and reliable,” the judge said.