The wife of former England captain Wayne Rooney is being sued for libel after accusing fellow footballer's wife of leaking stories to tabloids.
The very public quarrel between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy was one of the defining pop-cultural moments of 2019.
Things have moved onto a court case where Rebekah Vardy has accused Coleen Rooney of “putting two and two together and making seven” in the latest round of the legal battle.
Rooney, wife of England’s top scorer Wayne, accused fellow footballer’s wife Vardy of leaking stories to the tabloid press about her after she turned detective using her own social media accounts to discover who was behind doing so.
In October 2019, Coleen took to social media to accuse Rebekah of selling stories about her to the Sun newspaper. The tweet with the full story of Coleen’s investigation and the infamous “It’s ………Rebekah Vardy” line caused a meltdown online and earned her the title Wagatha Christie.
This has been a burden in my life for a few years now and finally I have got to the bottom of it…… pic.twitter.com/0YqJAoXuK1
— Coleen Rooney (@ColeenRoo) October 9, 2019
However, Vardy has always denied the allegations and post prompted legal action after she said she and her children had suffered abuse as a result of the allegation and is suing Rooney for libel.
The court heard that Vardy was exposed to “widespread” abuse after the post. Vardy’s lawyers said the abuse she received made her “feel suicidal”, adding: “She suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety which manifested in being scared to leave her house.”
The High Court heard that Vardy “benefitted financially” and through positive coverage from The Sun after leaking stories about Coleen Rooney to the paper.
At a hearing on Friday, Vardy’s lawyers asked the High Court to throw out parts of Rooney’s defence, including allegations of Vardy’s close relationship with The Sun and benefits she received.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Vardy, said: “The purpose of this application is to clear away what we say is a mass of irrelevant or peripheral material to save time and costs.”
Tomlinson denied Vardy wanted those parts of the defence thrown out because they would be embarrassing for her.
“Even if it were established that the claimant has ‘an exceptionally close relationship’ with The Sun, that it gave her positive coverage, that she has a history of self-promotion or is the ‘Secret Wag’, does not mean that it is more likely than not that the claimant had regularly informed The Sun about the defendant’s private posts.”
Rooney’s representative David Sherborne, argued the “exceptionally close relationship” Vardy is said to have had with The Sun is a key part of the case.
He claimed Vardy had a “habitual practice” of providing private information to the press to promote her profile.
“The timing of positive coverage of the claimant in The Sun was strikingly close to the publication of other articles… that were leaked from the defendant’s private Instagram,” he said.
The court heard mediation took place between the two women, but was unsuccessful.
The case (and the drama) continues.