Coleen Rooney, the wife of British soccer star Wayne Rooney, has won the high-profile libel case brought against her by fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy – ending the dramatic lawsuit dubbed “Wagatha Christie” by British media.
After three years of costly legal back-and-forth, Judge Karen Steyn delivered her decision on Friday morning.
In her decision, posted online, Judge Steyn determined it was “likely” that Rebekah Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt “undertook the direct act” of leaking stories from Rooney’s private Instagram account to the British tabloid The Sun.
The explosive row began in 2019 when Rooney sensationally accused Rebekah, the wife of Leicester City player Jamie Vardy, of leaking stories to the newspaper.
Rebecca, who vehemently denied the allegationsresponded by slapping Coleen with a libel suit.
The evidence “clearly shows, in my view, that Ms Vardy was aware of this behavior and condoned it, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to the private Instagram account, sending her screenshots of the messages of Ms Rooney, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press and responding to additional questions raised by the press via Ms Watt,” Judge Steyn wrote.
The legal battle was dubbed the “Wagatha Christie” case, a reference to the famed mystery novelist, in honor of Rooney’s amateur sleuths.
In October 2019, Rooney shared a long post about herself Twitter and Instagram, suggesting that “for the past few years, someone I trusted to follow me on my personal Instagram account has been constantly updating The SUN newspaper on my private posts and stories.”
The TV personality said ‘after trying to figure out who it could be for a long time, for various reasons’, she had a hunch and formulated a plan on how to oust this mysterious person.
“I blocked everyone from seeing my Instagram Stories except ONE account,” Rooney said at the time. “Over the past five months, I’ve published a series of fake stories to see if they ended up in the Sun newspaper. And you know what, they did!
Rooney noted that she “recorded and captured all of the original stories that clearly show only one person saw them”, claiming it was “Rebekah Vardy’s account”.
Vardy addressed the allegations on Twitter the same day, tagging Rooney in his post.
“As I just told you on the phone, I wish you’d called me if you thought that.” she tweeted in October 2019.
“I never talk about you to anyone, as various journalists who have asked me to do over the years can testify. If you thought this was happening you could have told me and I could have changed my passwords to see if it stopped.
Vardy continued that “various people have gained access” to his Instagram account over the years, adding, “just this week I found out that I was following people I didn’t know and never followed myself.” .
“I’m not funny but I don’t need the money, what would I get selling stories about you?” she wrote. “I loved you very much Coleen and I’m so overwhelmed that you chose to do this, especially when I’m heavily pregnant.”
Vardy then filed a defamation lawsuit against Rooney in June 2020, setting the stage for a legal battle that reportedly totaled more than $3.7 million in legal costs.
The case first appeared in court in November 2020, after a judge said Rooney’s post “clearly identified” Vardy as “guilty of the serious and ongoing breach of trust”.