Coleen Rooney today admitted for the first time that she split from her husband Wayne and feared her marriage was over after he was caught drink-driving with a US ‘party girl’- as she took to the stand during the £3million Wagatha Christie libel trial.
Describing the aftermath of the incident involving former office worker Laura Simpson in 2017, Coleen told the High Court: ‘I was in a vulnerable situation – there had been some wrongdoing by my husband. I was spending a lot of time at my parents’ house. I didn’t know how my marriage was going to work out.
‘Me and Wayne were trying to figure out our relationship and where we were going. But I didn’t want the public to know that – I know how quick the papers are to jump onto things. I hadn’t settled on: ”This is it, we are getting back together”.’
Coleen’s sensational disclosure during her court battle with bitter rival Rebekah Vardy came as she discussed ‘the pyjama post’, which she shared at the end of 2017.
It was an image of her and three of her children (she was pregnant with her fourth child at the time) wearing matching polka dot pyjamas in the family bed. But on her private account she shared another image showing husband Wayne in the bed.
She explained when she saw a story she believed was based on the post, it upset her.
She also said that when she and Wayne moved to the US she was homesick and ‘cried every night and couldn’t do Facetime with my parents – it was horrific.’ She added it was the first time she had moved ‘more than 45 minutes up the road’ from her family and said her parents had both helped her enormously bringing up her children.
Today, the WAG also claimed she offered Rebekah ‘three olive branches’ to end their £3million legal war but her efforts were ‘in vain’.
In a now famous post from October 2019, Coleen, 36, accused Rebekah, 40, of leaking ‘false stories’ about her private life to the press. Rebekah denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Coleen is defending the claim on the basis her post was ‘substantially true’ and in the public interest.
Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC asked her what she wanted to achieve from her Instagram ‘expose’.
‘I wasn’t achieving anything,’ she said, adding: ‘What I wanted was to stop the person who was leaking my private information to The Sun.
She told the court that she had given out warnings ‘many times’, but ‘it didn’t stop’. ‘This was my last resort,’ she said.
Coleen provoked laughter at several moments during the cross-examination. ‘To be honest with you…’ she said, before stopping herself and adding: ‘Sorry to be using that.’
It came after her lawyer told Rebekah yesterday he’d ‘rather you’d be honest since you’re in the witness stand’ when she said the same thing.
In another exchange, Mr Tomlinson suggested to Coleen that Rebekah’s agent, Caroline Watt, had abused her trust by allegedly leaking stories she accessing her client’s Instagram.
Mr Tomlinson suggested Ms Watt abused her trust, saying: ‘It’s not nice when people abuse that trust, is it Mrs Rooney?’ ‘No, it’s sad,’ she replied, tilting her head and looking at Rebekah.
Among the key claims heard in the High Court on day four of the gripping case –
- Famous ‘Wagatha Christie’ Instagram post was a ‘last resort’ and ‘wasn’t an attempt to get Rebekah trolled’;
- Coleen ‘offered an olive branch’ to Rebekah to stop her legal action but it was ‘in vain’;
- Rebekah ‘leaked details of Wayne Rooney’s marital woes after he was caught drink-driving with a woman he met in a bar’;
- Rebekah would ‘regularly’ message Coleen when there was press coverage about the WAG;
- She ‘was ‘fishing’ for information as she checked in on Coleen after Wayne’s marital woes leak’;
- News story about Wayne’s drink-driving ‘quoted Coleen’s Instagram caption word-for-word’;
- Rooneys’ attempts to patch things up after the drink-driving arrest were also made public;
- Rebekah tried to convince Coleen journalists had hacked her private Instagram account;
- Coleen admitted for the first time that she split from husband Wayne and feared her marriage was over after he was caught drink-driving with party girl Laura Simpson in 2017;
- Rebekah ‘got into a spat with Sarah Harding at National Television Awards after she was caught going through the Girls Aloud singer’s handbag’;
- Leaks ‘strained Coleen’s relationships with fellow WAGs and ‘those close to me who thought that I suspected them as potentially being responsible”
- Wayne Rooney’s mother messaged Coleen ‘because press had been knocking at their house to see whether they had any comment about Becky leaking stories about me’;
- Rebekah’s alleged Secret Wag column ended ‘abruptly’ after bombshell Wagatha Christie post;
- Coleen says she’s ‘always been confident in the truth’ of her social media ”sting”’
Coleen and Wayne Rooney walked through a crowd of photographers as they entered the Royal Courts of Justice for the fourth day of the Wagatha Christie libel trial
Rebekah, meanwhile, bore a stern expression as she walked up to the steps of the famous court accompanied by her bodyguards
Coleen today admitted for the first time that she split from her husband Wayne and feared her marriage was over after he was caught drink-driving with US ‘party girl’ Laura Simpson (pictured)
As the toxic feud between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy spilled out in public for a fourth day, here is a summary of the evidence as it was heard in court:
Rebekah ‘got into a spat with Sarah Harding at National Television Awards after she was caught going through the Girls Aloud singer’s handbag’
Rebekah allegedly got into a spat with Sarah Harding at the National Television Awards after she was caught going through the Girls Aloud singer’s handbag, the High Court heard.
In her written statement, Coleen Rooney said that she was ‘aware’ that Rebekah had ‘provided various pieces of ‘behind the scenes’ footage for The Sun’.
Coleen claimed: ‘She also got in a spat with former Girls Aloud group member Sarah Harding during the 2018 event because Sarah apparently caught Becky taking photographs of the contents of Sarah’s handbag when Sarah had dropped it on the floor. Their dispute subsequently appeared in The Sun.’
Wagatha Christie post was a ‘last resort’
Coleen has claimed that she made her bombshell social media post in October 2019 about carrying out her so-called ‘sting operation’ as a ‘last resort’.
Mr Tomlinson asked her what she wanted to achieve from the post.
‘I wasn’t achieving anything,’ she said, adding: ‘What I wanted was to stop the person who was leaking my private information to The Sun.’ She told the court that she had given out warnings ‘many times’, but ‘it didn’t stop’.
I’m surprised by how much interest my Wagatha Christie post caused, Coleen tells the High Court
Coleen told the High Court she was ‘surprised’ by ‘how much interest’ her social media post caused.
‘Obviously it was going to get picked up by the media,’ she said, explaining that her life had been covered by the media for the last 20 years ‘no matter how big or small’ something was.
Wagatha Day 1 to 3 RECAP: ‘Doing the dirty’ on Leicester changing room wars, social media spats… and Peter Andre’s ‘chipolata’ manhood
ACCORDING TO TEAM VARDY
- Rebekah was ‘deeply sorry’ for describing Peter Andre’s manhood as like a ‘chipolata’;
- Said she feared she would lose her baby when Coleen made her allegations and ‘will never forgive’ her for ‘ruining my pregnancy’;
- Lawyer said she ‘had no choice’ but to bring the libel claim against Coleen to ‘establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation’;
- She’s been ‘jeered and heckled at football matches’ and ‘made the butt of endless jokes’ since the allegations emerged;
- Coleen’s famous Instagram sting was ‘flawed’, rather than a ‘careful investigation’ that produced ‘irrefutable’ evidence as she suggested;
- Coleen ‘revelled’ in comparisons to Miss Marple, Agatha Christie and the Scooby-Doo gang;
- Rebekah ‘has no knowledge’ of an incident that saw agent Caroline Watt’s phone fall into the North Sea and ‘doesn’t know’ if she was a leaker;
- Claim Rebekah was involved in ‘conspiracy’ and ‘campaign of deletion’ of evidence is ‘completely baseless”;
ACCORDING TO TEAM ROONEY
- Coleen’s barrister, David Sherborne, told the court the case hinges on ‘betrayal’ – whether it was by Rebekah who betrayed Coleen by leaking information to The Sun or Coleen’s agent, Caroline Watt, who was responsible;
- Suggested that if Ms Watt leaked the stories ‘she was doing Rebekah’s dirty work like a hitman’ – and accused Rebekah of ‘lying’ for suggesting otherwise;
- Rebekah’s claim she sat behind Coleen at the 2016 Euros because they were the ‘nearest seats available’ was ‘untrue’, according to a new witness statement;
- ‘Harry Maguire’s fiancée Fern Hawkins was ‘upset and embarrassed’ by Rebekah’s WAGs paparazzi photo at 2018 World Cup’;
- Rebekah ‘had the means, motive and opportunity to leak stories about Coleen’;
- WhatsApp messages between Rebekah and her agent where Rebekah referred to Coleen as a ‘c***’ were re-read to the court.
CLAIMS MADE DURING REBEKAH’S CROSS-EXAMINATION
- Rebekah and Ms Watt worked to improve the WAG’s media coverage and plotted to leak several stories to The Sun;
- Ms Watt once ‘boasted’ that a Sun journalist ‘always writes nice stories’ about Rebekah and ‘does whatever I ask her’;
- Rebekah tried to leak model Danielle Lloyd’s miscarriage to the media following a ‘spat on Instagram’ – an allegation which she has denied;
- It was ‘standard practice’ for Rebekah to give her publicist information to pass on to journalists, and that Ms Watt would do Rebekah’s ‘dirty work’ for her;
- Jamie Vardy’s wife tried to leak news of footballer Danny Drinkwater’s drink-driving arrest to The Sun newspaper and ‘wanted paying’ for any information that reached the Press;
- She and Ms Watt discussed leaking a story about a female celebrity accused of cheating on her husband with a ‘well-known footballer’ – but the WAG insisted that she was just ‘joking’;
- Rebekah ‘tried to ‘do the dirty’ and spill the beans on unrest in the Leicester City dressing room when star player Riyad Mahrez went ‘on strike’ – but denied she had leaked the story to The Sun and had been ‘gossiping’;
- The WAG told her publicist Ms Watt to look at Coleen’s private Instagram account through her own personal account, but denied that she ordered her to ‘monitor’ the page;
- Agent ‘boasted’ that a journalist ‘always writes nice stories’ about Rebekah and ‘does whatever I ask her.;
REBEKAH’S CROSS-EXAMINATION CONTINUED…
- Rebekah denied branding herself ‘the unofficial leader of the WAGs’ in Sun interview about axing of ‘sex ban’ for England stars during Russia World Cup;
- Claimed she was too busy ‘washing her clothes in a sink’ during the 2018 World Cup to have time to speak to journalists;
- Denies leaking information about Coleen’s 2019 car crash in Washington DC to the media after seeing story on her private Instagram;
- Claimed she ‘doesn’t really watch’ television and asked ‘who’s Davy Jones?’ while being questioned about alleged leaks and her publicist’s North Sea incident;
- Rebekah accused of ‘using the anniversary of Coleen’s sister’s death as a peg to contact her after the WAG unfollowed her on Instagram’;
- Denied being behind ‘Secret Wag’ column that included lurid claims of Chelsea ‘love rats’;
- Was unable to explain what had happened to nine months of messages she exchanged with Ms Watt which have disappeared.
Asked by Hugh Tomlinson QC if she had a ‘large loyal following’ on social media, Coleen replied: ‘I have a large following yes, loyal I’m not too sure about.’
Coleen DENIES making Wagatha Christie post to make Rebekah subject to abuse
Coleen has denied making her 2019 Wagatha Christie post to make Rebekah subject to abuse.
It was put to her by Rebekah’s barrister Mr Tomlinson at the High Court this afternoon.
She said: ‘No that’s not my intention at all. I wouldn’t ever, it’s not in my nature to cause abuse or trolling in any way at all.’
When asked if she would have tried to mitigate any abuse with a post, she replied: ‘Maybe I would have liked to have said that but I have never been in a court, I have never been in a legal case before, this is the first time I have gone under instruction of my legal team.’
Rebekah would ‘regularly’ message Coleen when there was press coverage about the WAG, court hears
Rebekah would ‘regularly’ message Coleen when there was press coverage about Wayne Rooney’s wife, the High Court has heard.
Saying Rebekah was ‘not in my circle’, Coleen said: ‘I felt like when she contacted me it was to try and get information out of me.’
Rebekah’s messages to her came ‘when something not nice was going on in my personal life’, Coleen claimed.
She said Rebekah’s messages were ‘generally nice’, but added that ‘towards the end its was a bit unusual’.
‘Someone who was not that close to me… constantly checking in with me all the time,’ Coleen said.
Coleen ‘offered an olive branch’ to Rebekah but it was ‘in vain’
Coleen told how she offered ‘an olive branch’ to Rebekah in a bid to end their bitter public despite in the wake of her ‘Wagatha Christie’ revelations.
Coleen, 36, said she made three attempts to bring their legal battle to a close as she believed it would ‘benefit neither Becky nor myself’.
But she said her efforts had all been ‘in vain’.
In a written statement submitted to the court she said: ‘I would like to highlight at the outset of this witness statement that I have sought to resolve this matter amicably on various occasions because I was of the view that the time, money, resources and efforts involved could be better spent elsewhere – particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She told how she made three separate attempts to call a truce, the first in May 2020 before proceedings were issued.
Coleen tried again after filing legal documents in October 2020 then made a further attempt in January 2021.
But she said: ‘The efforts I made were in vain.’
She added: ‘I have no doubt that this litigation, whatever the outcome, will benefit neither Becky nor myself.
Coleen continued: ‘I should, however, highlight that those attempts to compromise this dispute were not made due to any concern with the underlying merits or an absence of confidence in my position.
‘I was seeking to be pragmatic and to consider the bigger picture in order to enable both parties to move on with our respective lives – essentially an olive branch if you will.
‘I have always been confident in the truth of what I posted on October 9 2019.
She said Rebekah’s WhatsApp conversations with her agent Caroline Watt, had ‘only further reinforced my view on that’.
Rebekah ‘leaked details of Wayne Rooney’s marital woes after he was caught drink-driving with a woman he met in a bar’
Rebekah Vardy allegedly leaked details of Wayne Rooney’s marital woes after he was caught drink driving with a woman he had met in a bar, Coleen Rooney has said in court documents.
The former England star’s wife told how she was left ‘really hurt’ after details of how she had moved out of the family home with her sons in the wake of the incident were made public. She said she felt ‘as though someone that I trusted was betraying me at a very difficult time.’
Coleen posted a picture of herself with her sons on her private Instagram account after her husband was pulled over by police as he drove home with single mother Laura Simpson.
The following day The Sun newspaper published an article which said Coleen had ‘dropped a heavy hint that she would keep the kids with her if she and Wayne do split’.
It revealed how Coleen ‘uploaded two poignant photos of the boys on her Instagram account and wrote: ‘No matter where I am they always follow me, and I hope that lasts forever’.’
Rebekah ‘was ‘fishing’ for information as she checked in on Coleen after Wayne’s marital woes leak’, court hears
Rebekah allegedly ‘fished’ for information after the Rooneys’ marital woes were leaked, the High Court has heard.
In her written statement, Coleen told how Rebekah exchanged WhatsApp posts with Rebekah over the next two days ‘in which she checked in on how I was doing and even offered for me to stay at her house if I wanted to get away from things’.
Coleen said: ‘On the face of things, this was obviously a nice gesture, but I did think at the time that it was a bit over the top because Becky and I weren’t particularly close friends.’
Coleen told how she believes Rebekah had been ‘fishing for information’ in previous exchanges between them. She said there had been discussions between the pair from August 2016 to February 2017 ‘in which she would directly ask me about topics involving me that had been mentioned in the press.
Coleen said: ‘For instance, she asked me about an attempted burglary at my house, about a potential midwife documentary and about my house build. At the time I just thought she was trying to be friendly but was a bit too keen.
‘In hindsight, I do wonder whether her messages – and indeed all of the messages that she sent to me subsequently were just fishing for information to pass to the media.’
News story about Wayne’s drink-driving ‘quoted Coleen’s Instagram caption word-for-word’
Coleen said in her witness statement: ‘No other content had been uploaded to my social media platforms about the incident and I hadn’t mentioned the Marriage Post to anybody else.
‘It was obvious to me that a follower on my private Instagram account had leaked the Marriage Post to The Sun and that the source of the marriage article was the Marriage Post.’
Coleen continued: ‘There was so much going on at that time that I didn’t take any action or do anything about the leak but I definitely took note of it and was really hurt by it, particularly because I felt as though someone that I trusted was betraying me at a very difficult time.’
Rebekah is due to finish her evidence today, with Coleen then taking her place in the witness box in Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice
‘I split from Wayne’, Coleen admits for the first time
Coleen today admitted for the first time that she split from husband Wayne and feared her marriage was over after he was caught drink-driving with party girl Laura Simpson in 2017.
Her sensational disclosure came as she discussed ‘the pyjama post’ which she shared at the end of 2017. It was an image of her and three of her children (she was pregnant with her fourth child at the time) wearing matching polka dot pyjamas in the family bed.
But on her private account she shared another image showing husband Wayne in the bed.
She explained when she saw a story she believed was based on the post, it upset her.
‘I was in a vulnerable situation –there had been some wrongdoing by my husband.
‘I was spending a lot of time at my parents’ house. I didn’t know how my marriage was going to work out.
‘Me and Wayne were trying to figure out our relationship and where we were going.
‘But I didn’t want the public to know that – I know how quick the papers are to jump onto things.
‘I hadn’t settled on: ‘this is it, we are getting back together’
She also said that when she and Wayne moved to the US she was homesick and ‘cried every night and couldn’t do Facetime with my parents – it was horrific.’
She added it was the first time she had moved ‘more than 45 minutes up the road’ from her family and said her parents had both helped her enormously bringing up her children.
Leaks ‘strained Coleen’S relationships with fellow WAGs and “those close to me who thought that I suspected them as potentially being responsible”‘
Leaks about Coleen’s life ‘strained her relationships with fellow WAGs and “those close to me who thought that I suspected them as potentially being responsible”‘, the court has heard.
In her written statement, Coleen wrote: ‘I would get people coming up to me to say things like ‘I hope you know that it isn’t me’ or ‘I hope you know that I would never do that to you’.
‘It was horrible having friends think that they were under the microscope and needed to explain themselves. I recall having such conversations with close friends who I have known for years.
‘No doubt there would be countless others who felt in a similar position but were too embarrassed to bring it up with me direct. ‘
She said Shauna Muamba – the wife of former Premier League player Fabrice Muamba – who she described as ‘a friend who I have known for years’ messaged her because ‘she she was worried that I suspected it was her.’
I have always been confident in the truth of my Wagatha Christie post, Coleen says
Coleen said she has ‘always been confident in the truth’ of her viral post accusing Rebekah Vardy of leaking her private information to The Sun.
She wrote in her witness statement: ‘I have always been confident in the truth of what I posted on October 9 2019 and the documentation which Becky has disclosed as part of these proceedings, in particular her WhatsApp conversations with her agent Caroline Watt, has only further reinforced my view on that.’
Coleen continued: ‘Friends and family are the most important to me and it was messing with my head that someone who I trusted was doing this to me. It annoyed and hurt me.
‘It even messed with my friends and family because they felt like I suspected them of being responsible.’
Rebekah’s alleged Secret Wag column ended ‘abruptly’ after bombshell Wagatha Christie post
Rebekah’s alleged Secret Wag column ended ‘abruptly’ after Coleen made her bombshell Wagatha Christie post in October 2019, the High Court.
In her written statement, Coleen claimed: ‘Following the post, the Secret WAG column only released a further three articles – two of which had no doubt already been prepared prior to my post – and came to an abrupt end.
‘One was about footballer manager Jose Mourinho, another was about Georgina Cleverley and one was about my dispute with Becky.
‘The Secret WAG article about my dispute with Becky began with the wording “OMG! HOW could she!!?? Coleen Rooney has created the biggest WAG fallout since Nicola McLean whipped off her 32FF superbra”.’
Wayne Rooney’s mother messaged Coleen ‘because press had been knocking at their house to see whether they had any comment about Becky leaking stories about me’
Wayne Rooney’s mother Jeanette messaged Coleen ‘because press had been knocking at their house to see whether they had any comment about Becky leaking stories about me’, the court has heard.
Coleen said: ‘Jeanette explained that she had no idea what was going on because she didn’t know anything about Becky leaking information about me.
‘I told Jeanette that it had been going for ages but I hadn’t been able to say anything previously because I had been trying to catch out the person responsible.’
Coleen, who wore an all-white outfit, arrived in a silver Mercedes van with her husband, who donned a blue suit for the proceedings
Rooneys’ attempts to patch things up after the drink-driving arrest were also made public, court hears
Coleen and Wayne Rooney’s attempts to patch things up after the drink-driving arrest were also made public, the High Court has heard.
An article in The Sun claimed Rooney has been forgiven for his night out with Laura Simpson after being ‘allowed back into the marital bed by Coleen’.
The article on November 1, 2017 told how ‘the shamed footballer has been reunited with wife for the first time at home.’
It said Coleen had shown a photo to friends of Wayne cuddling up to their three sons Kai, Klay and Kit and wearing matching pyjamas as the family celebrated Halloween together.
Coleen published the image on her private Instagram account but only showed one of herself and her sons on her public account.
Coleen wrote in her statement to the court: ‘Whilst I was comfortable enough to upload the photograph of Wayne to my private Instagram account, I made a conscious decision not to upload the photograph with him in to my Twitter account or to my public Instagram account because of the difficulties between us at the time.’
Coleen told how she was ‘really shocked and disappointed’ that there had been another leak from her private Instagram account.
She said that in response she took a screenshot of a section of the article with the caption: ‘The GRASS strikes again!!!….I put that picture on wondering if it would appear in that HORRIBLE newspaper …Your accepted as one of my friends if you really needed the money that bad you could have always just asked instead of being SLY!!!’.
Rebekah tried to convince Coleen journalists had hacked her private Instagram account, court hears
Rebekah tried to convince Coleen that journalists had hacked her private Instagram account, according to court documents.
In her written statement, Coleen described a WhatsApp exchange with Rebekah which she said was ‘peculiar’.
It began when Rebekah sent her a message at 2.36pm saying: ‘Omg wtf is wrong with people! Why have they taken that one of you and the kids and not of wayne in bed! That would have been an even better story in their eyes… d***heads! Hope you are OK’.
Rebekah then said: ‘That is so bad! And The Sun of all people as well! Have you been through all your followers? No one with any celeb mag links? What about being hacked? I would be chomping if that was me! Not on at all’.
Coleen replied: ‘Yeh been through all but can’t remember in point anyone. Got a few people onto it trying to source but if there getting the info there not going to tell. Had things like this in the past and never got to find out.’
Rebekah texted: ‘Yeah that’s true! You don’t think the paper has hacked your account do you?’
Coleen said: ‘No very much doubt it’.
Rebekah discussed Coleen’s private Instagram account with her agent ‘a handful of times’
Rebekah insisted that she only discussed Coleen’s private Instagram account with her agent Caroline Watt ‘a handful of times’.
Rebekah explained that the publicist had access to her own Instagram account password from 2017 when the TV personality appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
Under questioning from her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC, Jamie Vardy’s wife said she ‘didn’t give it a second thought’ that Ms Watt was able to see Coleen’s private Instagram account.
Asked if she was told by Ms Watt that she was looking at Coleen’s account, Rebekah said: ‘No she didn’t’, adding that it ‘was not even on my radar’ when asked if knew Ms Watt was ‘monitoring’ Coleen’s account.
Peter has gamely laughed off Rebekah’s comments, before adding on Instagram how ‘most people saw in the jungle how an acorn turned into an oak so I think I’m ok’
WAG texted ‘FFS’ message to footballer Danny Drinkwater after his drink-drive crash before leaking the story
Rebekah today admitted plotting to leaking information about Danny Drinkwater’s drink-drive arrest to the media and sent the footballer a ‘FFS’ message after his 2019 car crash, the High Court heard.
Wagatha Christie timeline: How Coleen and Rebekah’s long-running, vicious war unfolded before the eyes of the world
September 2017 to October 2019 – The Sun runs a number of articles about Coleen, including that she travelled to Mexico to look into baby ‘gender selection’ treatment, her plan to revive her TV career and the flooding of her basement.
October 9, 2019 – Coleen uses social media to accuse Rebekah of selling stories from her private Instagram account to the tabloids.
Coleen says she spent five months attempting to work out who was sharing information about her and her family based on posts she had made on her personal social media page.
After sharing a series of ‘false’ stories and using a process of elimination, Coleen claims they were viewed by one Instagram account, belonging to Rebekah.
Rebekah, then pregnant with her fifth child, denies the allegations and says various people had access to her Instagram over the years.
She claims to be ‘so upset’ by Coleen’s accusation, later adding: ‘I thought she was my friend but she completely annihilated me.’
The public dispute makes headlines around the world, with the hashtag #WagathaChristie trending.
How it all began: On October 9, 2019, Coleen Rooney, now 36, accused Rebekah Vardy, 40, of leaking ‘false stories’ about her to the press in an Instagram post (above)
Shortly after Coleen’s public accusation, Rebekah – who was pregnant and on holiday in Dubai at the time – denied any involvement (above)
February 13, 2020 – In a tearful appearance on ITV’s Loose Women, Rebekah says the stress of the dispute caused her to have severe anxiety attacks and she ‘ended up in hospital three times’. Coleen says in a statement that she does not want to ‘engage in further public debate’.
June 23, 2020 – It emerges that Rebekah has launched libel proceedings against Coleen.
Rebekah’s lawyers allege she ‘suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed’.
November 19-20, 2020 – The libel battle has its first High Court hearing in London. A judge rules that Coleen’s October 2019 post ‘clearly identified’ Rebekah as being ‘guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust’.
Mr Justice Warby concludes that the ‘natural and ordinary’ meaning of the posts was that Rebekah had ‘regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Coleen’s personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun of Coleen’s private posts and stories’.
February 8-9, 2022 – A series of explosive messages between Rebekah and her agent Caroline Watt – which Coleen’s lawyers allege were about her – are revealed at a preliminary court hearing.
The court is told Rebekah was not referring to Coleen when she called someone a ‘nasty bitch’ in one exchange with Ms Watt.
Coleen’s lawyers seek further information from the WhatsApp messages, but the court is told that Ms Watt’s phone fell into the North Sea after a boat she was on hit a wave, before further information could be extracted from it.
February 14 – Coleen is refused permission to bring a High Court claim against Ms Watt for misuse of private information to be heard alongside the libel battle. A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, says the bid was brought too late and previous opportunities to make the claim had not been taken.
April 13 – Ms Watt is not fit to give oral evidence at the upcoming libel trial, the High Court is told as the case returns for another hearing.
The agent revokes permission for her witness statement to be used, and withdraws her waiver which would have allowed Sun journalists to say whether she was a source of the allegedly leaked stories.
April 29 – Rebekah ‘appears to accept’ that her agent was the source of allegedly leaked stories, Coleen’s barrister David Sherborne tells the High Court. He argues that a new witness statement submitted by Rebekah suggests Ms Watt was the source but Rebekah claims she ‘did not authorise or condone her’.
Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson says the statement did not contain ‘any change whatever in the pleaded case’, with her legal team having no communication with Ms Watt.
May 10 onwards – The trial begins.
Rebekah told her publicist Caroline Watt that she ‘wanted paying’ for information about the former Leicester City player leaving police custody after his arrest. Earlier in the case she denied she actually wanted money for the tip.
Drinkwater was banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to complete 70 hours of community service after pleading guilty to drink driving.
Rebekah told her lawyer Mr Tomlinson that she sent Drinkwater a private message on Instagram asking: ‘What have you done FFS Danny?’.
The acronym ‘FFS’ stands for ‘For F**k Sake’ – and earlier this week the court heard Rebekah explain this to Coleen’s lawyer David Sherborne.
Rebekah has also denied asking Drinkwater for his address so she could send paparazzi photographers and reporters around to his home.
Rebekah calls her Peter Andre ‘chipolata’ 2004 kiss-and-tell interview ‘one of my biggest regrets’
Rebekah has apologised to Peter Andre and his wife for her infamous comments about his ‘chipolata’ manhood, the High Court heard today.
The WAG’s barrister asked her about the comments – made in a kiss and tell story in the News of the World in 2004 – as the trial got underway.
Asked whether the quotes in the article were all from her, Rebekah replied: ‘There are a lot of things in there which didn’t come out of my mouth.’
She said of the article – which compared Andre’s manhood to a ‘small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes’: ‘It’s shameful really, one of my biggest regrets.’
Rebekah said she was ‘very young at the time’.
When asked if she has spoken to Andre about it since, she said: ‘I haven’t spoken to him but I sent both his wife and him personal messages a couple of years ago.’
Mysterious Girl singer Andre has since spoken out about the claim, insisting his ‘acorn’ has ‘grown into an oak’.
‘I wasn’t’: Rebekah DENIES telling her agent to leak Coleen Rooney’s car crash to the media
The WAG was also questioned today about whether she conspired with her agent to leak a story about Coleen crashing her car in Washington DC to the media after spotting it on her private Instagram.
The High Court has heard how Ms Watt texted Rebekah admitting that she had given information about Coleen’s crash in Washington DC to The Sun newspaper.
Yesterday Rebekah said it ‘appeared’ that Ms Watt was the source of the story, but said she didn’t reply to her text because she was too engrossed watching Gemma Collins’ Dancing On Ice ‘faceplant’.
Today, Mr Tomlinson asked: ‘Were you instructing Caroline Watt to go into the Instagram to obtain information to leak to The Sun?’
Rebekah replied: ‘No, I wasn’t’.
‘I don’t know’: Rebekah suggests she didn’t know what her agent was implying when she said ‘it’s on her private Instagram so we can’t do anything with it’
Rebekah was questioned in relation to a WhatsApp exchange with Ms Watt in which they discussed Coleen’s child allegedly not wearing a seat belt in a photo from Coleen’s private Instagram.
Mr Tomlinson said that, in a text, Ms Watt said: ‘It’s on the private Instagram so can’t do anything with it.’
He asked Rebekah what she understood Ms Watt to be saying at this point.
‘I don’t know, I didn’t really give it much consideration or much thought,’ Mrs Vardy replied, adding: ‘I was probably doing the school run myself at that time.’
Mr Tomlinson asked: ‘Did you think that Caroline was leaking stories from Coleen’s private Instagram account?’
‘No, I didn’t,’ she said.
Wayne Rooney told Rebekah a newspaper story claiming he wanted her to keep a lower profile was a ‘load of b*******’
A 2016 story claiming Wayne Rooney wanted Rebekah to keep a lower profile was described by the footballer as ‘a load of bollocks’, the High Court heard.
The story in the Independent claimed that then England captain told Jamie Vardy his wife was getting too much publicity and it was affecting team morale.
But Rebekah told the court: ‘Jamie was quite angry [about the story] that conversation never took place.
‘I had a conversation with Mr Rooney on Facetime about it and he said it was a load of b*******.’
She added: ‘I thought the media was trying to cause problems and stir up trouble, creating a drama and problems where they didn’t exist.’
Rebekah says she was scared she could lose her baby after Coleen’s ‘social media sting’ post
Rebekah told the court she was scared she was going to lose her baby in the days following Coleen’s bombshell Wagatha post.
She was seven months pregnant at the time, and was asked by her solicitors to export her WhatsApp messages onto her laptop on October 15, 2019, just six days after the post.
Asked to describe her state of mind at the time, she sobbed as she said: ‘Constant anxiety, panic attacks, and I was scared I was going to lose my baby.’
She denied deliberately deleting the information which the court has heard was lost during the export.
WAG denies deleting her WhatsApp messages to get rid of evidence
Rebekah has denied ever purposefully deleting her WhatsApp messages.
The court previously heard swathes of messages were unavailable because they had been accidently wiped, while others did not show images, video, or audio they contained.
Mr Tomlinson asked: ‘Have you at any stage deliberately deleted anything from your WhatsApp messages?’
‘No, never’, she replied.
Moments earlier she spoke of her emotional state at the time she was exporting her messages, during which she claims many were inadvertently deleted.
She said: ‘I wasn’t very well, I was having constant panic attacks, anxiety, I was scared I was going to lose my baby.’
‘I feel like I’ve been bullied and manipulated’: Rebekah slams barrister David Sherborne after ‘exhausting’ cross-examination
As Rebekah’s lawyer closed her case, Mr Tomlinson asked her how she had found the experience of being cross-examined by Mr Sherborne.
‘Exhausting, intimidating – I feel like I’ve been bullied and manipulated,’ she said through tears.
He asked her why she had continued with the case and again she became emotional as she said: I wanted to clear my name, not just for me, but for my family and my children.’
Team Rooney vs Team Vardy! Rebekah is supported by crisis manager who’s an expert in online reputation and a VERY burly bodyguard in Jamie’s absence – while Coleen has Hollywood’s favourite barrister
By Bridie Pearson-Jones for MailOnline
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy have enlisted some of the country’s finest media experts and legal minds as they go head to head in the celebrity trial of the decade.
Yesterday was the second instalment of the £3million ‘Wagatha Christie‘ libel trial between the two footballer’s wives which featured a tearful appearance in the witness box, Whatsapp ‘gossip’ about a mystery celebrity affair and yet more foul-mouthed text messages – all brought to an end by a fittingly dramatic fire alarm.
Coleen publicly ‘outed’ her fellow WAG when she accused her of sharing three fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram with The Sun as part of what she described as a social media ‘sting’ operation. Rebekah vehemently denied the allegation – leading her to launch the pricey legal action which saw its second day on Wednesday.
While Tuesday’s hearing dredged up Peter Andre‘s alleged ‘chipolata’ manhood, yesterday focused on Rebekah’s relationship with her agent Caroline Watt.
In the Vardy corner is Hacked Off founder Hugh Tomlinson QC – as well as two glamorous members of the legal team, including one who was once named one of the ‘sexiest lawyers’ in the UK, and another who is a crisis manager who’s experienced in online reputation.
Vardy has also appeared alongside a security guard – whereas Coleen doesn’t appear to have any bodyguard by her when entering court.
Meanwhile, Coleen has been joined in court by her football superstar husband Wayne as well as Hollywood’s favourite lawyer David Sherborne and rising legal mind Ben Hamer.
Here, FEMAIL reveals who’s who at the trial that’s kept the nation gripped…
Dr Rosa Malley
In Rebekah’s legal team is Dr Rosa Malley, 37, an Associate in the Dispute Resolution team at top law firm Kingsley Napley.
Rosa was a part of the Hacked Off campaign and specialises in reputation and media matters, according to her online bio.
She previously worked as a paralegal at top city law firm Mishcon de Reya, who led the High Court bid to stop Boris Johnson triggering Brexit.
One of their barristers, Anthony Julius, acted for Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles.
In Rebekah’s legal team is Dr Rosa Malley, 37, an Associate in the Dispute Resolution team at top law firm Kingsley Napley
Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City soccer player Jamie Vardy, leaves the Royal Courts of Justice in London
The firm also represented Heather Mills in her divorce case against Beatles star Paul McCartney, before separating ‘amicably’ from their client.
The company also acted for former Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister Chris Huhne when he faced allegations of perverting the course of justice by ‘swapping’ speeding points with his wife. Mr Huhne was later sentenced to eight months in prison.
Rosa got her PhD studying the Representation of Women in British Politics at University of Bristol in 2011.
She works in pre and post-publication for broadcast media, and has also worked in crisis management with politicians, sportspeople, celebrities and high profile criminal defendants.
Before her legal career, Rosa worked in politics, as a researcher at the ThinkTank Institute for Government and as a Special Projects Manager for the Hacked Off campaign. She also taught British Politics at Birkbeck, University of London.
Fittingly for the case in question, Rosa has experience in online reputation and abuse on social media.
Like Rosa, Charlotte Harris, 44, worked at Hacked Off and for eminent law firm Mishcon de Reya.
Described as ‘one of the most sought out privacy lawyers in the land’ she boasts a client base of ‘MPs, celebrities, PR experts, sports agents, sports people’.
In 2013, she married investment banker James Burr, with a very star-studded guest list including Hugh Grant, MP Tom Watson, MP Chris Huhne, and Max Clifford.
Like Rosa, Charlotte Harris (pictured), 44, worked at Hacked Off and for eminent law firm Mishcon de Reya
At the wedding millionaire former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne enjoyed his last night of liberty before he was sentenced the next day at Southwark crown court to eight months’ imprisonment.
Writing in the Diary column for the New Stateman at the time, Mr Watson said he ‘entertained’ the gathering of celebrities, MPs, bankers and highly remunerated senior Mishcon staff with a karaoke rendition of the new wave anthem Teenage Kicks.
Clearly beauty and brains, she was named one of the country’s sexiest lawyers in 2015 in a list put together by the website Legal Cheek.
Charlotte has appeared before Parliamentary Select Committees throughout her career, including the Leveson Inquiry and was described as a ‘force of nature and always ready for a fight’ by Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide in 2020.
Hugh Tomlinson QC
Hugh Tomlinson QC, who is representing Ms Vardy, is a top-flight privacy silk who has launched dozen of battles with the press in his four decade career.
The Leeds-born, Oxford-educated lawyer last year advocated successfully in a claim against a journalist and author after she made false allegations that Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC on Vladimir Putin’s orders.
He was one of several lawyers representing Russian oligarchs whose ethics were questioned in parliament by the Conservative MP Bob Seely following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, who is representing Ms Vardy, is a top-flight privacy silk who has launched dozen of battles with the press in his four decade career
The lawyer was on the side of Jeremy Clarkson’s ex-wife Alex Hall when he tried to – but dropped – efforts to stop her claiming they had an affair during his later marriage.
He also successfully represented Prince Charles as the royal sought to stop the publishing of his Hong Kong travel diaries, saying public interest justifications were ‘far-fetched’.
And in an earlier case, he won substantial damages for Christopher Jefferies after press coverage incorrectly associated him with the murder of his tenant Joanna Yeates in 2010.
A year later he co-founded Hacked Off, the group campaigning for tighter media regulation, which he now chairs, and which has backers such as Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan.
Tomlinson was born in Woodhouse in Leeds where he went to Leeds Grammar School and then Balliol College, Oxford, leaving with the top first in PPE.
He then took up philosophical studies at Sussex University before going to the University of Paris in 1977. In 2000 he was a founding member of Matrix Chambers in London.
Who else is supporting Rebekah?
Rebekah has also been seen going into court accompanied by a burly security guard – whereas Coleen doesn’t appear to have any bodyguard alongside her.
She’s previously discussed how security is important to her and added that she’s faced threats since her feud with Coleen went public.
She told OK! magazine ahead of the 2018 World Cup that she and her family were bringing their own security to the games.
Rebekah has also been seen going into court accompanied by a burly security guard.
Fellow WAG Nicola McLean has seemingly thrown her support behind Mrs Vardy several times – once stating that Mrs Rooney is ‘not as private’ as she is considered while also insisting Mrs Vardy is not interested in the fame game.
Nicola is married to Tom Williams, who now plays for Hashtag United of the Essex Senior League. Tom is a defender and midfielder and made nearly 300 appearances in the Football League playing for numerous clubs, including QPR and West Ham.
The I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here star, who has been married to Tom since 2009, told Closer Magazine in 2020: ‘I’ve had different experiences at different clubs but the WAG world can be a b****y mean girls like existence…
‘There can be rivalry and unfriendliness with someone in the group and the top dog and there can be a lot of drama. It isn’t just amazing holidays and designer clothes there can be a lot of behind-the-scenes politics between the girls.’
On some of the most famous WAGS, she went on: ‘A lot of women want to emulate Victoria Beckham, Alex Gerrard, Elen Rivas – they dine out on the fact they’re a WAG and it can consume you.’
Nicola then pointed out that it is not all it seems with Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney: ‘I know some WAGs will only be interested in the hierarchy, fame and drama but I don’t believe Rebekah is like that. She’s not fussed about the press or limelight.
‘Everyone thinks Coleen is really private – but remember she’s done countless interviews, books and even her own TV show.’
Mrs Vardy’s friend and agent, Ms Watt has featured in some of the preliminary hearings, despite not being a party to the claim or giving evidence at the trial.
She is a former Virgin Atlantic air hostess who has been Rebekah’s agent for the past seven years, helping to build her profile in the national media.
Reports that she no longer represents her following the current controversy engulfing the two have been dismissed as inaccurate with Ms Watt remaining close to Ms Vardy both professionally and personally.
Ms Watt, 39, is married to former footballer Steve Watt, who played briefly for Chelsea, making one Premier League appearance for two minutes in 2005 and Swansea City. He is currently manager of Kent non-league side Hythe Town and they have two children.
After leaving the airline industry, Ms Watt began working as an agent in the world of entertainment, quickly developing a reputation for her communication skills and ability to network.
She was formerly employed by talent agency The Frontrow Partnership but left in 2019 to go it alone and took her main client and close friend, Ms Vardy with her.
Ms Watt has been credited with building Ms Vardy’s public profile by ensuring that she regularly featured in the national media and also brokered the deal for her to appear on the hit reality TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2018.
Ms Watt started representing the high-profile WAG in 2015, when her husband, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy shot to fame.
She is a regular visitor to the Vardy’s Lincolnshire home and also socialises with Ms Vardy, attending glitzy parties and bars.
Her other clients include the former Page 3 girl Nicola McLean but it is Ms Vardy that has been the biggest asset in her career as an agent.
Unlike Rebekah, Coleen arrived at court with just her husband and not an entourage of lawyers.
However, her legal team is just as impressive and versed in the world of celebrity as her fellow WAG’s.
David Sherborne, 53, who has been dubbed one of Hollywood’s favourite lawyers, is acting for Mrs Rooney.
He was lead counsel for victims of press intrusion in the Leveson inquiry, and represented Johnny Depp in his libel suit against The Sun. In November 2020, the High Court ruled that Depp had lost his case.
In September 2020, Sherborne was dropped from the Duchess of Sussex’s legal team in her case against The Mail on Sunday following an early setback.
Sherborne’s previous clients also include Princess Diana, Melania Trump, Sir Paul McCartney, Sienna Miller, Kate Moss and Harry Styles.
His father was a QC, but while he comes from a legal family, he is seen as a ‘rebel’ in many ways due to his apparent fondness for the limelight.
A former colleague told The Times: ‘He likes to present a fun, outgoing persona and is very limelight-seeking. All the other barristers in chambers were hyper-critical of him breaking the rules.’
While he’s known for rubbing shoulders with A-listers, Tattler and Evening Standard both commented he is ‘so handsome’ he could be a celebrity himself.
The twice-married barrister was revealed to be having an affair with a member of Lord Leveson’s junior counsel, Carine Patry Hoskins in 2013-.
Ms Hoskins, dubbed the ‘thinking man’s Pippa Middleton’ -was Lord Leveson’s number two, while Mr Sherborne was defending Hugh Grant and other hacking victims.
There was a rare moment of light relief amidst the morning’s fierce cross-examination when Mr Sherborne mentioned that his junior, Ben Hamer, 29, was ‘very adept at searching online through social media on his phone.’
Rebekah shot back, without smiling: ‘I know, Mr Hamer follows me on Twitter’ to laughter in the court.
But this isn’t Ben’s first celebrity case. He’s previously Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard and acted for the claimant in Blackledge v Person(s) Unknown where libel and harassment damages of £70,000 were awarded against the Defendant.
The Durham University graduate was first called to the Bar in 2017 at Lincoln’s Inn, where he was a Lord Bowen and Lord Denning scholar.
Very accomplished at a young age, he’s previously was presented with the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize for his work on free speech and fake news.
He now provides pre-publication advice to various publications such as The Times and The Sunday Times as well as HarperCollins and Bloomsbury publishers. He is security cleared to SC level.
Ben began as a tenant at 5RB after successful completion of pupillage at Chambers. His supervisors were Adam Wolanski QC, Jonathan Barnes QC, Richard Munden and Adam Speker QC.
Ben was called to the Bar in 2017 at Lincoln’s Inn, where he was a Lord Bowen and Lord Denning scholar.
In 2017, Ben was presented with the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize, run in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph, for his writing on free speech, social media and ‘fake news’. As an undergraduate, he edited Palatinate, where he won the Hunter Davies Prize for Student Journalism.
Mrs Justice Steyn
The High Court judge overseeing the case, Mrs Justice Steyn (pictured right) was appointed in 2019 and sits in the Queen’s Bench Division – the part of the High Court which deals with defamation, personal injury and breach of contract claims.
As well as overseeing the ‘Wagatha Christie’ claim, other prominent cases she has heard include Arron Banks’ libel claim against journalist Carole Cadwalladr and the FDA union’s unsuccessful legal challenge over Boris Johnson’s decision to support Priti Patel following bullying accusations.
The daughter of former Law Lord Lord Steyn, Mrs Justice Steyn covered a variety of cases as a barrister, including a case over the expansion of Heathrow airport.
Who else is on Team Coleen?
Coleen has been joined in court by supportive husband Wayne, with whom she shares four children, while Jamie Vardy is yet to be pictured in court.
Wayne, who has been with Coleen since the age of 16, last played with Jamie for England in 2016.
Both husbands have kept mostly quiet on the clash, however Wayne did note in his Sunday Times column before last year’s European championships that he would have drafted Jamie Vardy into the England team.
He added: ‘Some people may be surprised at this, especially with the legal case between my wife and Jamie’s wife.’
The former Premier League and England striker will take to the witness stand at London’s High Court where he will be questioned under oath over how much he knew about his wife’s ‘Wagatha Christie’ investigation.
Coleen has been joined in court by supportive husband Wayne, with whom she shares four children, while Jamie Vardy is yet to be pictured in court.
A source close to the case told MailOnline: ‘Wayne is 100 per cent going into the witness box and this is just going to add to the drama of the whole occasion. Hugh Tomlinson is a very experienced barrister, and this could be one of the toughest opponents Wayne has ever faced.
‘Rebekah’s lawyers are adamant that he should be cross examined under oath about how much he knew about what Coleen was getting up to and that the truth will emerge.’
Ms Rooney has always maintained that nobody was aware of her ‘sting operation’ when she decided to post a number of fake Instagram stories and eventually limit who could see them to just Ms Vardy. Three of these were later published in The Sun and are at the centre of the sensational libel battle.
But Ms Vardy’s lawyers insist that several people could have been the source of the leaks and that Ms Rooney told Wayne and others about what she was getting up to while also sharing details of the false posts with them.
In addition to giving evidence, Wayne, the former Manchester United striker who is currently manager of Derby County, is also expected to accompany his wife when she attends the High Court for the trial, which is expected to last a week.
Meanwhile, when Rebekah furiously denied the allegation in a lengthy Twitter statement, her husband showed his support by liking her post.
Mrs Rooney thanked her fans and said there ‘are a lot of really good people’ in the world in an Instagram story in February 2022.
And along with her devoted fans, the WAG has also been publicly supported by Danielle Lloyd, who came forth with similar claims about Mrs Vardy leading to a row between the duo on social media in 2019.
Mrs Lloyd made a thinly-veiled dig at Mrs Vardy after weighing in on the Mrs Rooney row during an episode of This Morning.
Mrs Rooney thanked her fans and said there ‘are a lot of really good people’ in the world in an Instagram story in February 2022. And along with her devoted fans, the WAG has also been publicly supported by Danielle Lloyd, who came forth with similar claims about Mrs Vardy leading to a row between the duo on social media in 2019.
The TV personality detailed her ‘similar run-ins’ with the footballer’s wife, before Mrs Vardy claimed Mrs Lloyd was only upset because she didn’t ‘recruit’ one of Jamie’s footballer pals for her after her divorce from Jamie O’Hara
This came amid reports that many of the WAGs had distanced themselves from Mrs Vardy at the time and were busy ‘scrutinising’ past conversations with her, following the fallout from her feud with Mrs Rooney.
Following Mrs Lloyd’s appearance on This Morning, Mrs Vardy was quick to retaliate, as she took to Twitter to claim that the TV personality’s admission was ‘utter b******s’ and their feud was sparked by her refusal to try and find Mrs Lloyd a man following her split from Jamie [O’Hara].
She wrote: ‘Danielle Lloyd making false claims on @thismorning that we have had ‘similar run-ins’ is utter b****cks. She is just fuming that I ‘didn’t get Jamie recruiting’ for her like she asked me to…’