Coleen Rooney did not libel Rebekah Vardy when she accused Vardy of leaking stories about Rooney and her footballer husband. So ruled a High Court judge in London on Friday, bringing to a close the three-year spectacle between the WAGs (wives-and-girlfriends) and former friends.
Justice Karen Steyn ruled that Rooney proved her Vardy-as-leaker accusation to be “substantially true.” The allegation emerged in 2019, when Rooney was suspicious that someone on her Instagram “close friends” list was sharing stories about her life to British tabloids. (The legality of breaking the sanctity of the “close friends” list has yet to be determined.) To test her theory, Rooney blocked every one of her 300 followers from viewing her stories, except for one person ……….Vardy.
She wrote on Instagram:
For a few years now someone who I trusted to follow me on my personal Instagram account has been consistently informing The SUN newspaper of my private posts and stories. I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account.
Now, reasonable people might have stopped there, maybe simply unfollowed each other. However, I think it’s reasonable to say no one involved in the Wagatha Christie trial is reasonable. Instead, Vardy sued Rooney for libel, alleging Rooney’s post caused “suicidal” feelings and brought on “extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment.”
Because she’d become a party to a lawsuit, Rooney couldn’t just quietly end their friendship. She had to respond—thus, the ensuing court battle. Among the best details from the absurd-compared-to-other-celeb-trials case: Lawyers sought to present text conversations between Vardy and her agent, Caroline Watt, who was accused of helping to pass along stories to the tabloids. However, the complete history of the messages became inaccessible after Watt was on a boat trip off the British coast and her phone—allegedly—fell into the North Sea. The ever-skeptical judge said that these actions were “likely” carried out “deliberately.”
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In her ruling, Steyn wrote that Vardy’s testimony was unreliable, while Rooney reliably defended her accusation. There was “a degree of self-deception on [Vardy’s] part regarding the extent to which she was involved” in the leaking, Steyn wrote. It’s hard to win your libel trial if the judge doesn’t believe the story you’re telling.
I can only imagine that husbands Jamie Vardy, a Leicester City striker, and Wayne Rooney, the square-headed English legend, are pleased to see this whole thing to come to an end. The legal fees—which are rumored to be more than £1 million per side—will be sorted out at yet another hearing. After that, the WAGs can start spending money on literally anything else.