SoccerJamie Vardy’s wife loses to Wayne Rooney’s wife
The defamation lawsuit turned against Rebekah Vardy in favor of Coleen Rooney.
End to a battle by influencers and footballers’ wives that has gripped the UK: the judiciary ruled in favor of Coleen Rooney in Rebekah Vardy’s incredible defamation lawsuit on Friday.
An investigation based on false stories on Instagram, celebrity settlements, a multi-million dollar lawsuit… The case is attracting such interest that it has earned its own nickname: “Wagatha Christie”, a nod to WAG (Wives and Girlfriends), an acronym used , to refer to the companions of famous athletes and to the famous novelist.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, is suing Coleen Rooney, wife of former England soccer star Wayne Rooney, after he accused her of leaking information about her to the tabloids.
Leaks curated by Rebekah Vardy
But Judge Karen Steyn sided with Ms Rooney on Friday, saying it was “probable” as she claimed the leaks came from Ms Vardy’s PR agent Caroline Watt, who acted with the support of his boss. “Ms Vardy was aware of this behavior and tolerated it by taking an active part in it,” the judge said.
London’s High Court, which delivered its verdict in May after a 10-day trial, had refused to give either side advance notice over fears the verdict would leak out.
Coleen Rooney’s trap
It all started in October 2019 when Coleen Rooney accused Rebekah Vardy of telling The Sun tabloid “fake stories” about her.
In a posting on Instagram and Twitter, which was widely shared and ridiculed by netizens, Ms Rooney explained that she realized what she posted on her private account was published regularly in the newspaper, which at the time had a section on the wives of soccer players.
Suspicious of Ms Vardy, she explained that she conducted the investigation by “banning every one of my stories except ONE account”. She then published fake stories about her life — including a trip to Mexico over alleged sex-selective treatment of her child — to see if they ended up in the tabloids, which they did.
“I took screenshots that clearly show that only one person saw the stories,” she said. “This is… Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Mrs Vardy had said no and decided to sue Mrs Rooney for defamation. Under British law, it was up to Ms Rooney to prove the truth of the allegations made. “I gave no information to the newspapers,” Ms Vardy assured the court.
Rebekah Vardy says she is ‘devastated’
In her ruling, the judge acknowledged that the information disclosed “was not deeply confidential and could be described as trivial”.
“But it doesn’t have to be confidential or material to be libel,” she said. “This was information from private publications which Ms. Rooney did not want published.”
Rebekah Vardy said she was “extremely saddened and disappointed” by the decision. “I brought this lawsuit to restore my reputation and I am devastated by the judge’s conclusion.” Hinting that she has no intention of appealing, she said the “thing is over” and pleaded with those who insult her and her family to “stop now”.
Coleen Rooney “happy”
For her part, Coleen Rooney said she was “happy” with the verdict. “This is not a deal I was looking for or wanted. I never thought she (Mrs Vardy) should have gone to court at such a price,” she replied in a statement.
The case intrigued netizens so much that they took to social media to resist with #TeamRebekah or #TeamColeen during the trial.
If Coleen Rooney, 36, and Rebekah Vardy, 40, became public figures because of their relationships with footballers, they’ve since been “people” in their own right. Followed by hundreds of thousands of subscribers on Instagram, they regularly share photos of their respective children.
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