Britain’s biggest celebrity scandal ends with Rebekah Vardy losing her libel case against Coleen Rooney

One of the most ridiculous and compelling trials in modern legal memory finally came to a close on Friday. After a soccer player’s wife accused another of leaking stories about her to the tabloids in 2019, we couldn’t have predicted the rollercoaster of secret messages, suspiciously lost evidence and downright hilarity that was to follow. The drama was so big that Channel 4, before the case had even reached a verdict, announced it would be turning the saga into a TV docudrama.

On Friday a judge ruled against Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City player Jamie, in her defamation case against Coleen Rooney. Vardy had tried to claim she had been defamed by Rooney – whose husband Wayne coaches MLS team DC United – when Rooney accused Vardy of selling stories The sun Newspaper.

Rooney first spectacularly leveled the allegation against Vardy three years ago — and in the process drew comparisons to Agatha Christie — when she publicly revealed the details of an elaborate undercover operation aimed at catching the person who was selling stories about her. On October 9, 2019, Rooney gathered a whole nation in the proverbial drawing room to unmask the culprit. “I blocked everyone from seeing my Instagram stories except ONE account,” Rooney wrote in a post on her social media channels. “Over the past five months I’ve published a number of fake stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper. And guess what, they did! … I have saved and screened all the original stories clearly showing that only one person has viewed them. It’s … Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

The brilliance of Rooney’s detective work led to the British nicknamed the dispute “Wagatha Christie” – a portmanteau of WAG (“Wives and Girlfriends”, a term used to describe the partners of football players who are in the British tabloids are discussed endlessly) and the famous crime writer. Vardy quickly denied that she was actually the culprit and decided to defend her good name in court by suing Rooney for defamation.

Her defense was basically that a lot of people had access to her Instagram account and it must have been one of them who sold the stories. “I’m not funny but I don’t need the money,” Vardy wrote in a public post responding to Rooney’s bombshell allegation. “What would I gain by selling stories about you?”

Despite attempts at mediation, the two refused to settle out of court, opting instead to escalate the dispute before the High Court of Justice in England, at huge personal cost – some estimates say over 3.5million dollars spent on lawyers. It might be the most prominent site for schoolyard chitchat in She-said-she-said history. On the first day of the trial, excerpts from a 2004 kiss-and-tell interview in which Vardy described a pop star as “hanging like a little” were read out in the enormous court, built in High Victorian Gothic style and opened by Queen Victoria herself Chipolata, a humble type of sausage, after a date. There were entire Barnum & Bailey shows that were less circus.

The case became a source of national obsession – but Vardy insisted it was no laughing matter. Last year, her attorney told the court his client had “suffered widespread abuse and hostility” over Rooney’s allegation, and that Vardy’s children had “also been abused at school.”

But as the case unfolded, the whole affair kept getting ridiculous. In February this year, it emerged that Vardy’s former publicist, Caroline Watt, dumped her phone into the sea during a boat trip off the Scottish coast, losing potentially critical evidence, after Rooney’s lawyers requested an investigation into the device. During the trial, Vardy’s attorney lamented the fact that the phone was now “lying in Davy Jones’ locker on the ocean floor.” “Who is Davy Jones?” Vardy asked the court, prompting the judge to explain the joke. And when Vardy began one of her responses with the phrase, “If I’m honest,” Rooney’s attorney interjected, “I would hope you’re honest because you’re on a stand.”

Coleen Rooney and former England footballer Wayne Rooney leave the Royal Courts of Justice during the May trial.

Wiktor Szymanowicz / Agency Anadolu

The messages read between Vardy and Watt in court were explosive in and of themselves. “This cunt needs to get over herself,” Vardy wrote in a text to Watt. “I really can’t see anyone having the arrogance to sell stories about her.” Vardy’s attorney also said that a message calling someone a “bad bitch” wasn’t about Rooney. Another message, sent shortly after Rooney posted on Instagram about a car accident, read, “Would love to leak these stories.”

During the trial, Vardy accepted that she had attempted to go public with a story about Premier League footballer Danny Drinkwater The sun. “I want to pay for it,” she had written in an accompanying note. Elsewhere, when details of Rooney’s car accident surfaced The sunShe posted a public tweet saying it was “sad” that someone who was following her “betrayed” her. Forwarding the post to Vardy, Watt wrote: “It wasn’t anyone she trusted. It was me.”

Their husbands couldn’t escape the drama either. Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy gave conflicting accounts of a conversation during Euro 2016 where they both played together as England team-mates. Wayne said England manager Roy Hodgson asked him to have an “awkward” conversation with Jamie, in which he asked his wife to “calm down” amid rumors she was writing undercover articles about the players and their wives . Jamie issued a statement saying the conversation never happened and said Wayne was “talking nonsense.”


Rebekah with her husband Jamie, who has also been drawn into the smear series.

Neil Mockford/GC Images

Friday’s decision finally settled the issue, with Vardy losing spectacularly. Judge Ms. Judge Steyn not only ruled that Rooney’s 2019 post was “essentially true,” she also went to the trouble of destroying Vardy’s credibility throughout the trial (which, let’s not forget, Vardy himself insisted).

Judge Steyn said the court must treat Vardy’s evidence with “very great caution” because “essential parts” were found to be “not credible”. It gets worse: “There have been many occasions where [Vardy’s] Evidence was apparently inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, evasive or implausible.” The ruling even found that it was “probable” that Vardy had deleted messages to her publicist, Caroline Watt, “and that Ms Watt deliberately dumped her phone in the sea Has”.

This is the conclusion for Vardy after three years of embarrassing revelations and spending millions in legal fees to defend her good name. Who would have thought that it wasn’t a player but a player’s wife who scored the most spectacular own goal in history. Britain’s biggest celebrity scandal ends with Rebekah Vardy losing her libel case against Coleen Rooney


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