Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney‘s £3million ‘Wagatha Christie‘ libel battle will draw to a close today as lawyers for each of the women set out each of their cases following an extraordinary six days of evidence.
The High Court trial centres around a viral social media post in October 2019, in which Coleen, 36, said she had carried out a ‘sting operation’ and accused Rebekah, 40, of leaking ‘false stories’ about her private life to the press.
Coleen, the wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, publicly claimed an account behind three fake stories she had posted on a personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper was Rebekah’s.
Rebekah, who is married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, 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’.
Over six days in courtroom number 13 at the Royal Courts of Justice, the pair have each given evidence, as has Rooney, also 36, who played for Everton and Manchester United and now manages Derby County.
Outlining Rebekah’s case on May 10, her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said she had ‘no choice’ but to bring the case against Coleen so she could clear her name and ‘establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation’.
David Sherborne, representing Coleen, told judge Mrs Justice Steyn that the case is essentially a ‘detective story’ and ‘like any good detective story, you never find a person standing over the body with a smoking gun’.
He said there was ‘inference’, adding: ‘You just have to conclude that it is more likely than not that Mrs Vardy was responsible, either directly or through Ms (Caroline – Mrs Vardy’s friend and agent) Watt.’
Both footballers’ wives have been seated just feet apart in court, in front of their barristers, for each day of the hearing. There was no hearing yesterday, but Rooney has attended every day. Vardy only appeared on Tuesday.
The fake stories Coleen planted on her Instagram during the sting operation featured her travelling to Mexico for a ‘gender selection’ procedure, her planning to return to TV and the basement flooding at her home.
In a now infamous post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she wrote: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……….. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
MailOnline readers on either #TeamVardy or #TeamRooney have called for the case to be televised – and joked about bringing out the popcorn rather than doing a day’s work – while completely captivated by three days of Rebekah’s extraordinary evidence, Coleen’s debut in the witness box and star witness Rooney’s testimony.
Others have obsessed over the rivals’ expensive outfits as they arrive and the often comical court sketches of Rooney, whose drawn likeness has been compared to Lenin, Mike Tyson and even the humble Maris Piper potato.
In six days of evidence, Rebekah compared Peter Andre ‘s penis to a ‘chipolata’, and there were tears of laughter when she said arguing with Coleen was like arguing with a pigeon because ‘it’s still going to s**t in your hair’.
There were more laughs when Vardy was bamboozled by a reference to Davy Jones’ Locker when the court heard her phone ended up at the bottom of the North Sea. Then Coleen revealed for the first time that she split from her husband Wayne, who blushed in court as she described how he was caught drink-driving with a ‘party girl’.
Today, the women’s lawyers will summarise the case in closing speeches, following which the judge will reserve her ruling on the case to a later date. Coleen is defending the claim on the basis of truth and public interest.
Here are the highlights of the celebrity libel trial of the year so far:
Day 6 – Jamie Vardy accuses Wayne Rooney of talking ‘nonsense’ about his wife before leaving early after Rebekah falls ill
The Vardys leave early
Rebekah and Jamie Vardy leaving the Royal Courts Of Justice early on Tuesday after another day of high drama
Wayne and Coleen Rooney giggle as they chat to lawyer David Sherborne as they left on Tuesday, after the former England star’s evidence
Jamie Vardy (sketched in court on Tuesday) accused Wayne Rooney of talking ‘nonsense’ about an alleged conversation about his wife’s conduct at Euro 2016
Rebekah Vardy (R) and her husband, Leicester City striker, Jamie Vardy (L) leave the Royal Courts of Justice
Rebekah Vardy dramatically left the Wagatha Christie libel trial early on Tuesday after her husband accused Wayne Rooney of ‘talking nonsense’ about them.
Jamie Vardy led his wife out of the High Court during a ten-minute interval.
Moments later, her legal team told the judge she had gone because she ‘was not feeling very well’.
The Rooneys appeared in good spirits and were smiling as they left court at the end of the day’s proceedings, as legal experts predicted the case was going their way.
Wayne Rooney: Roy Hodgson asked me to speak to Jamie about his wife
Wayne Rooney was the star witness on Day 6 of the Wagatha Christie trial
England manager Roy Hodgson (left) talks to Jamie Vardy (second left) as Wayne Rooney (second right) watches on during a training session at Stade de Bourgognes in Chantilly during the Euro 2016 tournament in France
Wayne Rooney told the High Court there was ‘a lot of negativity’ surrounding Mrs Vardy’s column for The Sun and so he agreed to ask Vardy ‘to ask his wife to calm down’.
Rooney recalled sitting down with his teammate over a can of Red Bull and a coffee in the England squad’s games room during the competition in France.
He said: ‘I remember the conversation I had with Jamie. It was awkward for me to speak to a teammate about his wife. It wasn’t my place to speak to Mrs Vardy. I was asked to speak to Mr Vardy and I followed those instructions.’
Rooney said he did not know whether Vardy had raised the issue with his wife, saying: ‘If Jamie gives that information to his wife or not is not down to me.’ He was asked whether he was certain the conversation took place and replied: ‘I’m sat here under oath. I 100 per cent spoke to Mr Vardy on the situation. Again, if he wants to relay that back to his wife that’s entirely his business.’
…but Jamie brands his evidence ‘nonsense’
After Wayne’s evidence Jamie Vardy put out a statement denying it was true – but stopped short of accusing his former England teammate of perjury
Around two hours later, Vardy issued the statement through his wife’s PR agent. He said: ‘Wayne is talking nonsense. He must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016.
‘There was nothing to speak about, I know this because I discuss everything with Becky.’
The Vardys arrived at court hand in hand, and continued to hold hands throughout most of the morning’s hearing. Mrs Vardy, who wore a £1,100 navy trouser suit by US designer Veronica Beard, briefly rested her head on her husband’s shoulder when they arrived back in the court after the lunch break.
They failed to reappear in court after the ten-minute mid-afternoon break, when Mrs Vardy’s legal team announced she had left because she was feeling unwell. It was the second day in a row that the 40-year-old left early.
Wayne Rooney says Coleen became ‘a different mother and a different wife’ as she ‘struggled’ with fallout from her 2019 Wagatha Christie post
Wayne Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning before he gave evidence
Wayne Rooney claimed his wife Coleen Rooney had become a ‘different mother and a different wife’, adding that she had ‘really struggled’ with the fallout from her notorious ‘Wagatha Christie’ post three years ago.
Rooney also revealed he was asked by England manager Roy Hodgson to request that Jamie Vardy asked his wife Rebekah to ‘calm down’ during Euro 2016 in France, as the £3million trial continued at the High Court in London. Court observers said there was ‘lots of whispering’ between Rebekah and Vardy during Rooney’s evidence.
Rooney, the side’s captain, said he was pulled aside by Hodgson and his assistant Gary Neville and asked to raise the ‘awkward’ issue with Vardy over concerns that Rebekah was ‘causing problems and distractions’ for the team. He told the court about the conversation with Vardy, saying: ‘We were in the games room, there was table tennis. I spoke to him, he had a can of Red Bull and I had a coffee, I remember those details because it was so awkward.’
Speaking about Hodgson’s request, Rooney said: ‘They asked me to, as captain, would I be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife and I think we all knew we spoke about it, it was an awkward subject.’ Among the issues was the idea Rebekah had ‘some kind of column in The Sun’, the court heard. Rooney said the boss wanted him ‘to ask his wife to calm down and not bring any issues off the field that were unnecessary’.
Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC asked him: ‘Ask his wife to calm down… she wasn’t dancing on tables?’ Rooney – who had earlier sworn to tell the truth while holding a Bible in his hand – said: ‘No, I wasn’t aware of that. It was a lot of negativity amongst a lot of media coverage which as a group of players and as the manager of England he didn’t want that to happen, so he asked would I be able to speak to Jamie and I went and done so.’
Rooney added: ‘I think there was a few things at the time with Rebekah which the leaders of the team asked me to speak to Jamie about. I was at the understanding Rebekah had a column in The Sun newspaper and as I state… I obviously had better things on my mind. It was obviously awkward for me.’
Coleen’s ‘fake’ Instagram posts about gender selection in Mexico and a flooded basement
As part of the ‘sting operation’ Coleen Rooney planted three false stories on her private Instagram account, with the viewers restricted to only Rebekah Vardy’s account, to see whether they would be leaked to The Sun newspaper. One of these stories was posted on April 8, 2019, with Coleen claiming she was travelling to Mexico to look into a procedure to determine a baby’s sex. ‘Let’s go and see what this gender selection is all about,’ Mrs Rooney posted, accompanied with a number of heart emojis
The post that resulted in a newspaper article headlined ‘Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s £20million ‘Morrisons mansion’ flooded during Storm Lorenzo’. The court heard that the post, only visible to Rebekah’s Instagram account, showed a bottle of wine and was captioned: ‘Needed after today… flood in the basement of our new house… when it all seemed to be going so well’
On January 22, 2019, Coleen Rooney posted a picture on her private Instagram, showing damage to her car after a collision. The next day Rebekah Vardy says in a WhatsApp message to Caroline Watt: ‘She’s a nasty b***h x’ and ‘I’ve taken a big dislike to her!… Would love to leak those stories x’. Rebekah claims her comments were not about Coleen
The three stories posted by Coleen Rooney on her private Instagram account as part of her ‘Wagatha Christie‘ investigation were revealed in court documents as the bomshell £3million libel trial continued.
Coleen has said she planted the stories – two of which were fake – as part of a ‘sting operation’, with the viewers restricted to only Rebekah Vardy‘s account, to see whether they would be leaked to The Sun newspaper.
The true one of these stories revealed in the High Court papers in London this morning was posted by Coleen on January 22, 2019 when she uploaded a picture on the private account, showing damage to her car after a collision.
The next day Rebekah said in a message to her agent Caroline Watt: ‘She’s a nasty b***h x’ and ‘I’ve taken a big dislike to her!… Would love to leak those stories x’. Rebekah claims her comments were not about Coleen.
Rebekah Vardy ‘gave a photographer access to her Instagram account so he could sell stories’
The court had previously heard Rebekah sat behind Coleen to ‘maximise media attention’
Rebekah Vardy gave a photographer access to her Instagram account so he could sell stories, the court heard.
Public relations consultant Penelope Addarewa told how she was in a bistro with ‘a well known’ person who she overheard discussing the matter with photographer Danny Hayward.
She said she was ‘taken aback’ after hearing the ‘revelations.
Mrs Addarewa said the claim was made during a 10-15 minute conversation which took place in the aftermath of Coleen Rooney’s bombshell post and the ‘media storm that followed in October 2019.
She said: ‘They were talking about Coleen and Rebekah and how it’s all going off here’. Danny said Becky was keeping to her story or words to that effect. He was talking a lot about Becky. He was just so blaze. I was just taken aback. I was really surprised.’
The mystery man, known only as ‘Y’ in the court, was speaking to Mr Hayward had not arrived at the meeting but the conversation took place on a speakerphone.
She said in her statement: ‘The topic of Mrs Rooney and Mrs Vardy came up during their “chat”.
‘I cannot recall what exactly got them on to the topic but I specifically recall Danny mentioning that he had a means of access to Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account and how he had that means of access for a long time.
‘Their discussion of this topic was promoted by Mrs Rooney’s statement some days earlier. Danny seemed to be speaking as though he even had a means of access to Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account at the time of the meeting.
‘Danny also mentioned that he had been involved in the sale of stories using Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account as the source for the story.
‘Y and Danny did not discuss the specifics of any particular story but he spoke openly in general terms about the fact that stories were sold with Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account as the source.
‘I specifically recall Danny saying that Mrs Vardy was not only aware that Danny had a means of access to her account but also that she was well aware that access had been and was being used to take content and pass it to the press.
‘This much was abundantly clear to me from listening to the exchange, though there was no express discussion of Mrs Vardy personally benefitting from a financial perspective and it would therefore be speculative for me to suggest so.’
She said the ‘boasts’ were said in a ‘blaze’ way. Mrs Adaarewa added: ‘From the discussions between them it was clear to me that they all worked closely together regularly, including Caroline Watt, who had been scheduled to attend the meeting but who had not in fact attended, and that they had worked and collaborated together on what seemed like a number of matters in the past. ‘
She declined to give the name of the mystery man saying it was ‘unfair’ and she did not want to ‘upset his work’. She said the meeting was unrelated.
Day 5 – Coleen lays bare her ‘Scousetrap’ plot that saw her accuse rival WAG Rebekah of leaking ‘fake stories’
Euro 2016 seating row behind Coleen that led to a FA official being told to ‘f**k off’
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy at the 2016 Group B match between England v Wales at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens
Rebekah Vardy’s evidence about why she sat behind Coleen Rooney at a football match is “simply untrue”, a former Football Association (FA) employee has told the High Court.
Harpreet Robertson, a former ticketing manager and family liaison officer for the FA, was questioned over the seating arrangements at one of England’s matches at Euro 2016.
Ms Robertson told the court she believed Mrs Vardy made a “choice” to sit in seats behind Mrs Rooney at the match, alleging in her witness statement that Mrs Vardy’s evidence over this was “simply untrue”.
In her own witness statement, Mrs Vardy said: “We went to a game one day and Coleen and her family were sitting in our seats. Rather than make a fuss we sat in the nearest seats available.”
Mrs Vardy denied she had intentionally swapped seats to be seen near Mrs Rooney and in the pictures.
However in her witness statement, Mrs Robertson said: “Becky never expressly refused to take the seats that she had been allocated, her guests did this instead, but it appeared that she wanted to be sat in the seats that were right in the eye line of anyone looking at, or photographing, Coleen’.
Ms Robertson added: “The following morning, the tabloid papers were full of photographs of her sat directly behind Coleen. This was precisely the kind of media attention that the FA, and I, had tried to avoid.”
In her witness statement, Ms Robertson also said that she would reserve seats at matches for her and FA security team members, but found a number of people already sat in those seats.
She continued: ‘I asked them to move but they refused and were incredibly rude and abusive to me, remarking words to the effect of ‘we can sit where we like, f*** off’.
‘Scousetrap’ sting operation revealed by Coleen
A sketch by court artist Priscilla Coleman of Coleen Rooney, watched by her husband Wayne, as she gives evidence at the Royal Courts Of Justice
Coleen said despite never being friends with Rebekah, she became suspicious of the rival WAG when she began ‘fishing for information’.
She said the ‘Scousetrap’ sting was not ‘plucked out of thin air’, saying she had thought long and hard before making the now-infamous social media post accusing Rebekah.
Describing how her investigation began to gain momentum, Coleen said: ‘There were a number of things that added up with the others. I didn’t just pluck it out of thin air.
‘I suspected this person was having a relationship with The Sun so I googled it, looked at past articles and saw the connection between Rebekah Vardy and The Sun.
‘This thing was not just thought of overnight. I did think of it for a long time. As I’ve said I’m not one who just jumps on things.’
She said: ‘I was trying to get more information and put it together with the information I already had. I came up with Rebekah Vardy. There was no other person who my private Instagram who was in a position to give this information to The Sun.
She added she became suspicious of Rebekah as she would ‘regularly’ message Coleen when there was press coverage about Wayne Rooney’s wife.
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.’
Coleen Rooney ramped up her Wagatha Christie ‘sting’ amid reports of husband Wayne’s ‘misbehaving’ with a barmaid
Coleen 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 ‘party girl’ Laura Simpson (pictured)
Coleen revealed how she personally doubled down in her secret ‘Wagatha Christie’ investigation when her husband Wayne was ‘misbehaving’ with a blonde barmaid during a ten-hour bender with teammates in Florida.
Coleen also admitted keeping her probe secret from the former England captain – as well as lying to Rebekah Vardy after being asked why she had unfollowed her on Instagram, as the women’s £3million libel trial continued.
London’s High Court heard the sting gathered momentum at a time when Rooney was ‘misbehaving.’ Asked if that was the case by Rebekah’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC, Coleen replied: ‘There’s been a few unfortunate things that have happened and they have been publicised. It’s happened quite a few times and I’ve dealt with it. We’ve dealt with it as a couple, as a family. There are a few things that have been publicised over a few years.’
Speaking of Rebekah’s response to her ‘troubles’, Coleen said: ‘I did feel that when there’s tough times going on, I felt Mrs Vardy would message more. I felt It’s when there are things in the news, she would message me and say How are you?’. I felt like it was fishing for information.’
The court heard one occasion when Rebekah went ‘fishing for information’ happened hours after her husband allegedly ‘spent time’ with the barmaid in Florida. Coleen told how Rebekah got in contact after The Sun told how she was threatening to quit the US and return to Britain after Rooney’s encounter with Vicki Rosiek when he was playing for DC United in Washington.
Making contact with Coleen at lunchtime on February 11 2019, the day after the article appeared, Rebekah wrote: ‘Hi my love! Hope you are ok! Just saw another s***ty story online! Can they not just leave you guys alone…I don’t know how you do it! It’s relentless…stay strong. Sending hugs.
Coleen replied: ‘Thanks, just a pain in a**e…it’s the kids half term so just gonna come home.’ Messaging Coleen back, Rebekah wrote: ‘It’s a joke! Annoys me someone close to you is clearly selling you out! And for what…I don’t blame you come home and be with your family’.
Rebekah’s ‘evil’ messages
Texts between Caroline Watt and Rebekah Vardy in which they discuss Coleen unfollowing Rebekah and footballer Danny Drinkwater’s arrest for drink-driving
Talking about Rebekah’s frequent exchanges with her publicist Caroline Watt about her private life, which emerged during the libel case, Coleen said: ‘She’s got no need to talk about me. I just felt that the messages that went on between them are evil and uncalled for’.
These included Rebekah apparently calling Coleen a ‘c***’ for unfollowing her on Instagram.
Coleen told the judge: They’re totally the opposite of the truth. I’m not a bad person. It’s totally untrue. I didn’t think there was any need for it/’It’s nothing to do with them.’
She added of Rebekah: ‘I didn’t trust her – I didn’t believe her. I did not believe a word that was coming out of her mouth.’
She said she wasn’t trying to portray Rebekah as ‘a valiant’ and thought much of the response to her post was ‘ridiculous’.
Coleen said she ‘hated every minute’ of the furore which erupted.
She accepted she had images on her phone which made light of the matter including references to the Scooby Doo gang ‘unmasking a villain’ and comparisons with Agatha Christie.
But she insisted she was not ‘delighted’ with the reaction to the post.
Coleen said: ‘No I wasn’t. I have never craved press attention. I have had it and I have accepted it. I have never drawn attention to myself.’
Coleen also told how she kept tabs on whether stories had been published about her during her investigation by making online checks. She said: ‘Sometimes I do Google News and click my name in and articles come up.’
And Coleen told of her shock at receiving a legal letter of complaint about a month after the Wagatha Christie post. She said: ‘I was quite spooked by that, I’ve never been in a position to be sent a lawyer’s letter before. Any lawyer’s letter would be threatening to me, I’ve never had one before.’
Asked about trolling directed at Rebekah after the post, she said: ‘It was disgusting, I would never wish that on anyone.’
Coleen Rooney claims she ‘hated every minute’ of Wagatha Christie fallout
Coleen Rooney claimed that she ‘hated every minute’ of the Wagatha Christie fallout after accusing Rebekah Vardy of leaking ‘fake’ stories to the media, even though her £3million libel trial heard she saved a Scooby Doo meme about her ‘unmasking the villain’ saved on her phone.
The £3million libel trial heard Coleen saved a Scooby Doo meme about her ‘unmasking the villain’ saved on her phone
Rebekah’s barrister last week claimed that fellow Wag Coleen had revelled’ in the national reaction to her bombshell October 2019 post.
But Wayne Rooney’s wife told London‘s High Court that she thought much of the response to her post was ‘ridiculous’ and said she was ‘not delighted’ by the reaction. She insisted: ‘I have never craved press attention in my life, I have had it and I have accepted it and I have tried to cope with it, and I have lived my life as best as I can in the public eye.’
Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC said Coleen had used her fame for ‘commercial purposes’, to which she answered: ‘Yeah I have been fortunate that things have come my way and I have took the opportunities and used them.
She said she had appeared in a Netflix documentary that was about Wayne, then added: ‘I wanted to continue at school but the pressure became quite big at a young age.
‘I felt like that was something that I could then control in a way and I think I have done a lot and obviously I haven’t worked for a while because I have had children and I just wanted to be a mum. But I never wanted to be in the public eye, I was thrown into it and I have worked with it.’
Coleen didn’t confront Rebekah before Wagatha Christie post ‘because she didn’t believe a word that was coming out of her mouth’
Coleen said she did not believe Rebekah would ‘tell the truth anyway, even if I confronted her’. Asked whether the best thing to do would have been to warn her this was going on, she asserted that Rebekah had told a ‘lot of lies’.
Crucially, she added that not only did she think it was Rebekah’s account that was leaking stories to The Sun, but also Rebekah herself was aware. ‘I believe she knew all along’, she said.
In addition, Coleen told how she did not contact her rival after making her Wagatha Christie discovery as ‘did not believe a word that was coming out of her mouth’.
Explaining why she made her ‘It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s Account’ post instead of contacting Rebekah, she told the court ‘I thought maybe if I did approach her she might twist it and cover it up somehow and might not be truthful so I didn’t give her the opportunity.’
Asked about Rebekah’s response to the post she said: ‘She said she had zero interest in what was going on in my life which I didn’t think was true because she talks about me a lot. So that was a lie.’
Coleen used a photo of her niece to give Rebekah Vardy the false impression she was ‘broody’
Coleen Rooney used a photo of her niece as part of the sting operation, the High Court heard.
She posted a photo of herself with her brother’s daughter, captioned ‘Broody’, which she admitted under questioning from Rebekah’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson, was to give the false impression to Rebekah that she longed for a baby girl.
The photographs were of her niece, the court heard, but her family would ‘not know what I was doing with them’.
She said: ‘I have photographs with the little girl but it doesn’t say gender selection.’
Coleen explained that around that time she accepted a friend request, [from footballer Tom Cleverley] which is why some stories show they have been viewed by two people – including Rebekah.
Asked if she unblocked her other followers from her story shortly afterwards, Coleen said: ‘Yes.’
She said this was so she could carry on with her holiday, and post things that she would normally post.
Coleen: I lied to Vardy when I unfollowed her – and wouldn’t be bothered if she did the same to me
Coleen Rooney has admitted keeping her ‘Wagatha Christie’ probe secret from husband Wayne – as well as lying to Rebekah Vardy after being asked why she had unfollowed her on Instagram, as their libel trial continued.
Asked by Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC at the High Court in London this morning why she had not told the ex-England captain about it, Coleen replied: ‘One thing I don’t do is put any troubles or worries on anyone else.
‘I don’t like to put pressure on anyone until I need to. That’s what I’ve always done. I wanted to do it for myself without telling anyone. There’s trust and there’s trust. It was quite hard keeping it to myself but I had to do it if I wanted to find out who was doing it to me.’
During cross-examination about her actions, 36-year-old Coleen also told Mr Tomlinson at the £3million trial: ‘Yes I did lie, it was a cover-up for what I was investigating, I had my suspicions.’
The court heard that Coleen unfollowed Rebekah in early 2019 and received a message a month later asking her if Rebekah had ‘done something to offend you.’ The court heard that on March 3 that year, Rebekah sent Coleen a note saying: ‘I saw you had unfollowed me and I wasn’t following you anymore on Instagram…just wanted to ask if I had done something or offended you in anyway? Literally only noticed the other day’.
Coleen admitted she ‘told her a fib’ in her reply, saying she ‘didn’t even know’ – adding that her children used her phone often and she would check to see what happened. In fact, the court was told that she had deliberately unfollowed her because of concerns that stories were being leaked from her account.
Day 4 – Coleen reveals her marriage was on the rocks due to Wayne’s naughtiness as Mrs Vardy breaks down in the dock over online hate
My marriage almost fell apart after Wayne’s drink-driving, Coleen Rooney tells court
The Rooneys walking through a crowd of photographers as they left the Royal Courts of Justice on day four of the Wagatha Christie trial: Coleen made her first appearance in the witness box after Rebekah Vardy’s tearful evidence
One day four of the trial Mrs Rooney, pictured here with her husband Wayne in a court sketch, battled wits with Rebekah Vardy’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson, QC
Coleen told the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial how her marriage almost fell apart after her husband Wayne was caught drink-driving with a party girl.
Taking to the witness stand for the first time on day four of the £3million trial at the High Court, Mrs Rooney recalled the aftermath of the incident involving former office worker Laura Simpson in 2017, when she and their children stayed with her parents.
Mrs Rooney, who claims fellow Wag Rebekah Vardy leaked stories about her private life to the Press, said: ‘I was in a vulnerable situation… 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 hadn’t settled on: “This is it, we are getting back together.”’
She said she nearly split from former England striker Mr Rooney as she described the upset caused by a newspaper story stemming from a private Instagram post at the time, featuring her husband and their children in pyjamas.
Coleen: Sarah Harding caught Vardy taking pictures inside her handbag
Sarah Harding is said to have got into an argument with Rebekah after spotting her taking photos inside her handbag
The story – which was published in several tabloid newspapers at the time – was mentioned by Coleen Rooney in written documents she submitted to the High Court as part of the £3million Wagatha Christie libel trial.
Coleen claimed: ‘She 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.’
Message about my late sister made me ‘sick’, says Mrs Rooney
On another day of bombshell revelations in the trial, Mrs Rooney, 36, said in written evidence that a message between Mrs Vardy, 40, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, and her agent Caroline Watt referencing her deceased sister ‘knocked me sick’ when it was disclosed.
Mrs Rooney wrote in her statement: ‘While they were discussing her messaging me in order to cover her tracks, Becky says to Caroline Watt, “Maybe I should say something about Rosie”.
‘Rosie is a reference to my sister who suffered with Rett syndrome and passed away in 2013 at the age of just 14.
‘The mere fact that Becky would suggest seeking to use Rosie’s name in conversation with me in order to put me off the scent of suspecting Becky as the person responsible for leaking my private information to The Sun is really low and sad. It actually knocked me sick when I read that message from Becky to Caroline.’
Rebekah: I was bullied and manipulated and need to clear my name
Rebekah Vardy told London’s High Court that she feels she has been ‘bullied and manipulated’ during the Wagatha Christie libel trial, and denied throwing her PR agent Caroline Watt ‘under a bus’.
Jamie Vardy’s wife said she pressed on with legal action despite a letter from Coleen’s solicitors which she perceived as a ‘threat’ because she ‘didn’t do anything wrong’.
Asked how she has found giving evidence this week, Rebekah said: ‘Exhausting, intimidating, I feel like I’ve been bullied and manipulated’.
Explaining her motivation for suing Coleen for libel, she sobbed: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong – I wanted to clear my name, and not just for me, for my family and my children.’
She also denied personally leaking information to The Sun, denied speaking to or messaging any journalists about any of Coleen’s posts, denied asking her agent Ms Watt to pass on information and denied deleting messages from her WhatsApp.
Rebekah also said said the suggestion that she had thrown under agent ‘under a bus’ in the case was ‘not right’.
I was scared I was going to lose the baby, emotional Rebekah tells High Court
An emotional Rebekah Vardy said that she feared she was going to lose her fourth baby after Coleen Rooney accused the WAG of leaking stories to the Press in October 2019.
London’s High Court has heard how Rebekah was subjected to abuse and threats after Coleen’s Wagatha Christie post to Instagram while Jamie Vardy’s wife was heavily pregnant.
Asked to describe her state of mind at the time the allegations were made, she told her laywer: ‘Constant anxiety, panic attacks, and I was scared I was going to lose the baby’.
She began sobbing again when asked about her state of mind when she had her fourth baby, barely two months after Coleen’s Wagatha post.
‘I wasn’t in a good place,’ she said.
Asked when her daughter was born, she said, crying, 28th December, 2019 and repeated the date. She was offered the chance to compose herself, but continued giving evidence.
Rebekah Vardy DENIED telling her PR agent to leak Coleen Rooney’s car crash to the press
Rebekah Vardy has denied instructing her agent Caroline Watt to view Coleen Rooney’s private Instagram account to leak information about the WAG’s 2019 car crash to the Press.
London’s 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.
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’.
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’.
Day 3 – An emotional Mrs Vardy needs breaks after tears on the dock after admitting: ‘I don’t know who Davy Jones is’
Rebekah Vardy on Davy Jones’ Locker
Rebekah (seen in a court sketch giving evidence) asked the High Court ‘who’s Davy Jones?’ following a nautical reference by Coleen Rooney’s barrister as the £3million Wagatha Christie libel trial continued for a third day
London’s High Court burst into laughter after Rebekah Vardy admitted she didn’t know who Davy Jones was while being questioned over a missing mobile.
Her agent Caroline Watt’s phone was dropped in the North Sea after the court asked for it to be handed over for examination.
Coleen’s team have accused Rebekah of deleting key evidence that, it is said, would prove that Rebekah had been leaking stories to the media.
Coleen’s lawyer Mr Sherborne said: ‘We know that Ms Watt’s phone is now in Davy Jones’ Locker, don’t we, Mrs Vardy?’
Rebekah then replied: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know who Davy Jones is’, saying didn’t watch much TV. The judge then had to describe Mr Sherborne’s nautical reference to the sea bed.
Arguing with Coleen Rooney is as pointless as arguing with a pigeon: ‘It’s still going to s**t in your hair
One of the highlights so far was Rebekah Vardy’s comments about arguing with Coleen Rooney was ‘as pointless as arguing with a pigeon’.
Mrs Vardy gave to a newspaper after Mrs Rooney’s ‘Wagatha Christie’ post, in which she denied being behind the leaks and said she was devastated by the abuse she received.
Mrs Vardy told the Daily Mail, when asked if the pair had argued: ‘That would be like arguing with a pigeon.
‘You can tell it that you are right and it is wrong, but it’s still going to s*** in your hair.’
Gemma Collins’ faceplant distracted me from WhatsApping my agent, says Mrs Vardy
Rebekah Vardy has claimed that she was too distracted by Gemma Collins’ Dancing On Ice ‘faceplant’ to respond when her PR agent admitted she was the source of the Coleen Rooney car crash leak.
The court heard that Caroline Watt admitted she had been the source of the Honda car crash story. It came at the end of the pair’s discussion when Ms Watt simply wrote: ‘It was me.’
Rebekah agreed that the message ‘appeared to confirm Caroline Watt was the source of the story’.
She said she did not respond to the message as it was the children’s bath time then she was further distracted by ‘Gemma Collins’ faceplant’ in Dancing on Ice.
She was referring to the moment the celebrity tripped and fell face-first on the ice during one of the routines in the ITV show.
Tears in the witness box
Rebekah Vardy was accused of betraying her friends and her husband’s teammates as she was grilled over WhatsApp messages in the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial.
She broke down repeatedly, leading to two emergency breaks in court.
In five hours of gruelling cross-examination, which at one point left her in tears, Rebekah denied she encouraged her agent to ‘stalk’ Coleen Rooney’s private Instagram and leak stories about her and other Wags.
Rebekah, 40, was confronted with messages in which she discussed leaking and selling stories, and faced repeated accusations that she was lying to the court to protect the ‘last shred’ of her case against Coleen.
She rejected accusations she had revealed ‘juicy information’ to settle scores with rival Wags, while courting positive publicity by arranging staged photographs and interviews to promote her image.
‘If I’m honest, I’d been drinking’: Rebekah blames booze for memory lapses
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 Vardy was dramatically accused of lying after she blamed heavy drinking for failing to remember the details of a 2018 World Cup paparazzi photo she allegedly helped to set up – as the Wagatha Christie libel trial entered its third day.
She denied the allegation this morning. But when asked for details by barrister David Sherborne – acting for her rival Coleen Rooney – she said: ‘If I’m completely honest I had been drinking quite a bit.’
Mr Sherborne cuttingly replied: ‘I would hope you’re honest because you’re sitting in a witness box.’
He then added: ‘Mrs Vardy, this is the first time that you have suggested that your recollection of events has been affected by drinking – that’s a lie, isn’t it?’
The High Court heard how Rebekah received a text from her agent, Ms Watt, announcing ‘it was me’ after Coleen first publicly claimed that someone had been leaking stories from her private Instagram.
Asked by Mr Sherborne why did not challenge her, Rebekah said it was because she had been ‘watching Dancing on Ice’ and was distracted by Gemma Collins’s infamous ‘face-plant’.
In another bizarre exchange, the barrister referred to Ms Watt’s claim that she had lost her phone after it had fallen off a boat into the North Sea.
He said it was now ‘lying at the bottom of sea in Davy Jones’ locker’,’ only for Rebekah to ask the court: ‘Who is Davy Jones?’
Earlier, Mr Sherborne quizzed Rebekah about a series of messages she exchanged with her agent which allegedly show them working together to organise the 2018 World Cup paparazzi photo.
The group of WAGs in the snap included Marcus Rashford’s girlfriend Lucia Loi, Kyle Walker’s partner Annie Kilner and Harry Maguire’s fiancée Fern Hawkins – who was left ‘upset and embarrassed’ when it emerged in the media.
Rebekah said Ms Watt had arranged for a photographer to take pictures of her as she left her hotel but denied giving the photographer the location of either the hotel or the restaurant where the WAGs were having dinner.
The court heard Rebekah texted Ms Watt about travel arrangements from the hotel to the restaurant. There were exchanges about last minute changes in travel arrangements on the night.
Mr Sherborne suggested that a message to Ms Watt which said, ‘I have bought about 10 minutes’ referred to the fact Rebekah was delaying some of the women from posting a group photograph on social media because a photographer hiding in the bushes by the hotel had taken a picture of them all and they ‘didn’t want to lose their exclusive’.
In response, Rebekah said, ‘Well, it reads like that’ but said she ‘couldn’t recall’ the details due to the amount of alcohol she had consumed. ‘The plans changed,’ she added. ‘I recall it may have been raining. No one wants to walk when they’re dressed up in the rain.’
Mr Sherborne accused Rebekah of changing her story about what happened and reminded her that she had signed a statement of truth when she made legal declarations, risking a contempt of court action if she lied.
‘You can’t get your story straight,’ he said to her, adding that this was ‘because you’re lying’.
Mr Sherborne asked Rebekah why she was ‘pulling a face’ when he said he was going to refer to a witness statement made by the FA’s family liaison officer, Harpreet Robertson.
Rebekah – who has claimed the representative took an instant dislike to her – said: ‘Because it was Ms Robertson again.’
Quoting from the statement, Mr Sherborne Ms Robertson said other members of the group and a member of the England squad were upset that they had been ‘set up’ as they were not looking to court publicity.
Rebekah replied: ‘This is the first that I’ve heard of it.’
Rebekah denies making ’embarrassing’ claims there was ‘no sex ban’ imposed on the 2018 England World Cup squad in newspaper article that branded her the ‘unofficial leader of the WAGs’
Mr Sherborne referred to a story in which Rebekah was alleged to have confirmed that there was no sex ban within the England squad during the 2018 World Cup.
The article in The Sun had the headline: ‘Becky Vardy reveals the secret to England’s World Cup success is down to the lads getting to spend time with their WAGs.
It said England’s successful run in the tournament was down to Gareth Southgate ‘giving the lads the freedom to score – with their wives and girlfriends.’
Rebekah is said to have hinted that sex hadn’t been explicitly forbidden as ‘there is no proof it hinders performance’
The article featured an apparently naked Rebekah draped inna flag of St George.
The article described Rebekah as the ‘unofficial leader of the WAGs.
Asked if those were her words Rebekah denied the saying of the journalist who wrote the story: ‘No it was his and it’s quite an embarrassing statement.’
During his cross-examination Mr Sherborne accused Rebekah of ‘having selective amnesia’.
WAGs ‘had to wash their own clothes in the SINK at the hotel during the 2018 World Cup in Russia’, Rebekah claims
Rebekah has claimed that she and her fellow WAGs had to wash their own clothes in the sink at their hotel during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The High Court heard that Rebekah gave an interview with The Sun during the football tournament as Coleen’s lawyer accused her of trying to distance herself from the notion she had ‘strong links’ with journalists.
Referring to this interview, Jamie Vardy’s wife told the court: ‘I was busy with the kids and under so much stress and we even had to wash our own clothes in the sink at the hotel.’
The High Court heard messages Ms Watt sent Rebekah as she was setting up the interview.
Ms Watt told her it was ‘easy s**t’ and that she should talk about how she is having a good time and ‘backing the boys’ but ‘don’t want any attention’.
Rebekah ‘used the anniversary of Coleen’s sister’s death as a peg to contact her after the WAG unfollowed her on Instagram’
Rebekah allegedly ‘used the anniversary of Coleen’s sister’s death as a peg to contact the WAG’ after she unfollowed Jamie Vardy’s wife on Instagram, the court heard.
Coleen unfollowed Rebekah in January 2019 after the car crash story, suspecting she was the ‘grass’ who had leaked her information.
In text messages between Rebekah and her agent Caroline Watt, Rebekah said she would like to contact Coleen and suggested ‘saying something about’ her sister Rosie, who died in 2013 aged 14.
Mr Sherborne put it to Rebecca that she was going to ‘use the anniversary’ of Rooney’s sister dying as ‘the peg’ to message her.
Rebekah said: ‘That’s interpreted wrong’.
In the event, Ms Watts suggested she use a different tack by saying she had recently been on Loose Women and the programme’s booker asked if Coleen might want to appear on the show.
Rebekah – pictured – continued to give evidence after her gruelling five-hour cross-examination was cut short by a fire alarm on May 12
A court drawing of Rebekah as she gave evidence on the third day of the Wagatha Christie trial
Rebekah with her friend and agent Ms Watt (left). On the right is the High Court judge overseeing the case, Mrs Justice Steyn
‘She defo CRASHED’: Rebekah denies leaking story about Coleen’s ‘bad car smash’ in US
Rebekah denied leaking information about Coleen’s 2019 car crash in Washington DC to the media.
Mr Sherborne quizzed Jamie Vardy’s wife over an article in The Sun about how Coleen had narrowly escaped injury in a horror crash while husband Wayne was playing in the US.
Coleen had posted a picture of her badly damaged Honda on her private Instagram account, the court heard.
The story quoted a source who said: ‘Coleen ended up having a bad smash when she was driving the family car. One side of the car was completely caved in. She couldn’t drive it away and it looked like a total write off.’
The day after the message was posted, Ms Watt sent a message to Rebekah saying: ‘Am I imagining it or did you say yesterday that Coleen had crashed her Honda?’
Rebekah replied: ‘She defo has’ – and instructed Ms Watt to go into Coleen’s account. Ms Watt then sent another message saying: ‘She must have taken whatever it is down as it’s not there now.’
Under cross-examination, Rebekah denied leaking the story.
An Instagram post from Coleen showed a photo of the damaged vehicle, which the court has been told about previously. ‘RIP’ and ‘half a Honda’, the post says.
Mr Sherborne referred Rebekah to an article written in The Sun about the car crash.
‘Coleen Rooney narrowly avoids injury in car crash and wrecks 4×4 just weeks after Wayne’s arrest for ‘public intoxication’ in Washington,’ the article, which was published on 25 January 2019, is headlined.
Mr Sherborne brought up the text messages between Rebekah and Ms Watt about the crash, which took place on the 23 January.
Ms Watt asked her about Coleen crashing the Honda and told her she could no longer see the Instagram post.
‘I would have tried to have done a story on Coleen but the evidence has been deleted,’ Ms Watt said in a message to Vardy, the court hears.
The previous evening, Rebekah had been at the National Television Awards. She and Ms Watts were in a box hosted by The Sun, the court heard, and the journalist who wrote the car crash article a few days later, Andy Halls, was also there.
Mr Sherborne accused Rebekah of changing her story on whether or not she knew Halls was there. In her witness statement submitted to the court, she said: ‘Andy Halls may also have been there but I don’t remember seeing him.’
Referring to the texts between her and Ms Watts about the car crash, Rebekah said at one point: ‘I wasn’t paying that much attention, not at half past eight at night.’
Mr Sherborne said: ‘But you don’t say to her it’s half past eight and I want to watch my favourite show on TV, do you?’
‘I don’t really watch television,’ said Rebekah.
Rebekah agrees Ms Watt ‘appeared to be source’ of story on Coleen’s car crash after her agent admitted ‘it was me’ in text… but tells trial she didn’t reply because she was distracted by ‘Gemma Collins’ faceplant on Dancing on Ice’
Rebekah was referring to the moment the celebrity tripped and fell face-first on the ice during one of the routines in the ITV show.
Coleen’s lawyer David Sherborne read out two Instagram posts by his client in London’s High Court about The Sun’s article in the months before she embarked on her ‘Wagatha Christie’ investigation.
In a public post, Coleen wrote: ‘Someone on my private Instagram seen the picture and is telling or selling stories to a certain newspaper. It’s happened several times now over the past couple of years. It’s sad to think someone who I have accepted to follow me is betraying for either money or to keep a relationship with the press.’
Mr Sherborne then took Rebekah to further texts sent between herself and her agent Ms Watt.
‘Such a victim. Poor Coleen,’ Ms Watt said to Rebekah at about 6.28pm on January 27, 2019. Just under 20 minutes later, she sent another message. ‘And it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me’.
Rebekah told the court: ‘That seems to be what she’s saying.’ She said she didn’t replying, adding ‘at 6.35 I would have been bathing my children’ at the time the message was sent.
The court then heard that Rebekah allegedly tried to throw Coleen ‘off the scent’ with ‘disingenuous messages’ to her suggesting her account might have been hacked by journalists.
Rebekah told Coleen in a private message: ‘Oh my God. What the f*** 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 one in their eyes. D***heads. Hope you are OK.’
Mr Sherborne suggested Rebekah sent the message as she ‘knew the finger of suspicion’ was going to be pointed at her.
Her message continued: ‘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.’
‘This was totally disingenuous, Mrs Vardy,’ Mr Sherborne said. ‘You knew perfectly well that you had been the source of this story through Caroline Watt but you presented yourself to her as someone who hates the Sun. You’re trying to throw Mrs Rooney off the scent, aren’t you?’
‘I don’t hate the Sun’, Rebekah interjected.
‘But you knew Mrs Rooney did,’ Mr Sherborne said, and Rebekah agreed.
The trial continues.
Rebekah ‘tried to throw Coleen off the scent with “disingenuous messages” to her suggesting her Instagram account might have been hacked by journalists’
Rebekah allegedly tried to throw Coleen Rooney ‘off the scent’ with ‘disingenuous messages’ to her suggesting her account might have been hacked by journalists, the High Court heard.
The WAG told Coleen in a private message: ‘Oh my God. What the f*** 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 one in their eyes. D***heads. Hope you are OK.’
Coleen’s lawyer Mr Sherborne suggested Rebekah sent the message as she ‘knew the finger of suspicion’ was going to be pointed at her.
Her message continued: ‘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.’
‘This was totally disingenuous, Mrs Vardy,’ Mr Sherborne said. ‘You knew perfectly well that you had been the source of this story through Caroline Watt but you presented yourself to her as someone who hates the Sun. You’re trying to throw Mrs Rooney off the scent, aren’t you?’
‘I don’t hate the Sun’, Rebekah interjected.
‘But you knew Mrs Rooney did,’ Mr Sherborne said, and Rebekah agreed.
Coleen leaving her London hotel earlier this morning – still wearing an orthopaedic boot on her left leg following an accident at home
Coleen left the hotel holding a coffee and an iPhone in a pink case, while her husband Wayne carried a leather handbag with a file inside. Both smiled for the photographers
Day 2: Rebekah’s evidence continues about life as a WAG and anger at Coleen unfollowing her on Instagram
A mock-up of Wayne Rooney walking to court with a court sketch overlaid on his face
WAGs washing their smalls in the sink at the World Cup
Rebekah Vardy claimed she and her fellow WAGs had to wash their own clothes in the sink at their hotel during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
As the Wagatha Christie trial entered a third day, Rebekah was quizzed by Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne about the extent of her contacts with journalists during the tournament.
In response, the WAG claimed she did not have any contact with the media because she was too busy washing her clothes in the sink.
‘I was busy with the kids and under so much stress,’ she said. ‘We even had to wash our own clothes in the sink at the hotel.’
Calling Coleen a ‘c***’ for unfollowing her on Insta
Rebekah Vardy messaged her agent ‘OMG what a c***’ when Coleen Rooney unfollowed her on Instagram after ‘fake’ story about car crash was published, libel trial told
Rebekah Vardy has been quizzed once again at the Wagatha Christie libel trial about a WhatsApp exchange which saw her brand Coleen Rooney a ‘c***’ after she unfollowed her on Instagram.
Coleen, 36, accused Rebekah, 40, of leaking ‘false stories’ about her private life to the media in October 2019, after carrying out what she described as a months-long ‘sting operation’.
She publicly outed Rebekah in an Instagram post, claiming her fellow WAG had shared three ‘fake’ stories she had shared as bait on her personal account. Rebekah furiously denied this and launched her costly libel action which is now into its second trial day.
Before the scandal broke, Coleen stopped following Rebekah on Instagram. ‘OMG what a c***,’ Rebekah texted her agent Caroline Watt after realising what had happened, according to texts read out to the High Court earlier in the trial.
Day 1: From Peter Andre’s ‘chipolata’ penis to fears she would lose her baby after being branded a ‘grass’: Rebekah Vardy’s first day of evidence
Peter Andre’s ‘chipolata’ manhood
Peter Andre’s privates were among the unlikely highlights of the first day of the Wagatha Christie trial
Peter Andre’s privates were among the unlikely highlights of the first day of the Wagatha Christie trial.
Rebekah Vardy was asked an interview she gave to the News Of The World about her claimed sexual encounter with singer Peter Andre.
Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne showed a print out of the article to Rebekah in the witness box before reading the headline: ‘Peter’s hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes’.
The barrister read excerpts from the article, in which it was claimed Mr Andre had managed ‘just five minutes of sex with Rebekah’ and in which she said he had ‘the smallest trouser equipment I’ve ever seen’ that was like a ‘miniature chipolata’.
Mr Sherborne suggested to Rebekah that the News Of The World was the ‘highest circulating newspaper at the time’, read by some four million people, and asked her whether it was ‘respectful’ of Peter Andre’s ‘right not to share this information’.
She replied: ‘I was forced into a situation by my ex-husband to do this.
‘It is something that I deeply regret… It is not nice to read and I understand why this is being used and to me this is mudslinging and I was also threatened with mudslinging by Mrs Rooney’s team.’
Asked the question again by Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne, Mrs Vardy said: ‘The circumstances around it were completely different.’
‘I feared losing my baby after Coleen said I was a grass’, says Rebekah
Meanwhile, Mrs Rooney’s lawyer confronted Mrs Vardy with a newspaper interview in which she gave intimate details of a sexual encounter with pop star Peter Andre and mocked the size of his manhood.
She said she was labelled a ‘grass’ and was subjected to vile abuse and death threats from trolls who said her baby should be ‘put in an incinerator’.
Rebecaa Vardy is aided by a security guard as she leaves the opening day of her libel case against Coleen Rooney
Artist impression of Rebekah Vardy giving evidence (L) with Wayne and Coleen Rooney looking on (R) at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. May 10, 2022
She likened Mrs Rooney, the wife of former Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney, to a ‘school bully’ and said she had effectively turned the other footballers’ wives and girlfriends against her.
Mrs Rooney, 36, glowered at her rival as she denied she was responsible for the leaked stories, saying it was ‘not nice’ to betray other people’s confidences.
She described Mrs Rooney as ‘cold and calculated’ and said she had gloated to her close circle of other footballers’ wives about her detective work, and had created a ‘mob mentality’ against her.
Mrs Vardy said: ‘I was not the source of the three articles Coleen accused me of leaking. I believe that Coleen posted her claims so as to cause me maximum damage.
‘I will never forgive the way in which Coleen ruined my last weeks of pregnancy and the suffering she has caused to my children and my family but I hope that this claim will mean that the whole world will know that I did not betray Coleen’s trust.’
Who’s who in the case? Former friends who had a bitter falling out, the former Virgin Atlantic air hostess, and the celebrity lawyers going head to head
Rebekah Vardy with her agent, Caroline Watt, who had been due to give evidence in the trial but was recently found to be ‘not fit’ to take part, also withdrawing her written evidence
The footballer’s wife bringing the claim, Rebekah’s family was thrust into the limelight after her husband Jamie helped Leicester City on their way to an unlikely Premier League win in 2016.
The model and TV personality, 40, appeared on I’m A Celebrity in 2017 before later appearing on Dancing On Ice in 2021, as well as making appearances on Loose Women.
The mother-of-five recently wrote a children’s book with her husband Jamie, entitled Cedric The Little Sloth With A Big Dream, which follows a little sloth who hopes to become a footballer.
Coleen, the footballer’s wife defending the claim, is perhaps now better known as ‘Wagatha Christie’ after her social media posts at the heart of the libel trial went viral.
The 36-year-old has had a varied career including TV presenting, writing, as well as fronting an exercise DVD.
Coleen met her husband when she was 12, as the couple went to the same school in Liverpool.
They began dating when they both turned 16 and have four sons together – Kai Wayne, Klay Anthony, Kit Joseph and Cass Mac.
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.
Hugh Tomlinson QC (left), who is representing Ms Vardy, is a top-flight privacy silk who has launched a number of battles with the Press in a wide-spanning career. David Sherborne (right), 53, is acting for Mrs Rooney
Hugh Tomlinson QC
An experienced media barrister, Mr Tomlinson is at the front of Mrs Vardy’s legal team in the libel case.
Called to the bar in 1983, his previous clients include the Prince of Wales in his legal battle against the Mail on Sunday over his diaries, easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and oligarch Roman Abramovich.
Mr Tomlinson, who became a QC in 2002, is a board member of campaign group Hacked Off.
Mr Sherborne also has a reputation as the barrister the rich and famous turn to for legal assistance – his previous client list includes Diana, Princess of Wales, Hollywood actor Michael Douglas and former prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.
Mrs Rooney’s barrister is no stranger to high-profile libel trials at the Royal Courts of Justice, notably representing Johnny Depp in the actor’s 2020 libel claim against the publisher of the Sun, News Group Newspapers (NGN).
The barrister, called to the bar in 1992, has also represented dozens of claimants, including celebrities, suing NGN over phone hacking at the News Of The World.
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.
So, who REALLY won the Wagatha Christie trial? With evidence from both sides complete, FEMAIL looks at whether Coleen Rooney or Rebekah Vardy can claim victory on everything from fashion to court sketches and witness box clangers
By JO TWEEDY FOR MAILONLINE
There have been famous footballers, warring WAGs and salacious celebrity revelations.
But now, after more than a week at London‘s High Court, the final whistle is about to be blown on one of the most gripping sporting match-ups of recent years: Rooney vs Vardy.
Both sides of the Wagatha Christie libel trial – which is, surely, a gloriously camp Netflix miniseries waiting to happen – have concluded their evidemce, and after closing statements they must await the judgement of Mrs Justice Steyn, the referee in this particularly acrimonious match involving two of the biggest names in English football.
Before we take a look back at the highlights, a quick recap of the key facts. At the centre of the case is a social media post shared by Coleen Rooney, 36, in October 2019, in which she revealed that she had carried out a ‘sting operation’ and accused her fellow WAG, Rebekah Vardy, 40, of leaking ‘false stories’ about her private life to the press.
Rebekah denies leaking stories to the media and is suing Coleen for libel, while Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was ‘substantially true’.
The trial has been stuffed to the gills with bizarre revelations (Mrs Vardy comparing Coleen to a ‘pigeon that s**ts in your hair’ and her spat with Sarah Harding after she photographed the contents of her handbag); awkward moments (Rebekah’s grilling over how she once branded Peter Andre’s manhood a ‘chipolata’) and comedy, thanks to some unforgiving court sketches that left husband Wayne Rooney looking like a ‘potato’.
Alongside the burly bodyguards and crack legal teams, there has also been the courtroom catwalk. Neither Mrs Vardy nor Mrs Rooney was prepared to let the small matter of a high-profile legal case stand in the way of a chance to show off some of their finest designer garments.
Both plaintiff and defendant have dressed to impress in designer threads, Gucci shoes and power suits as the £3million libel trial reaches its crescendo. Then there are their husbands: both Leicester City striker Jamie and player-turned-manager Wayne have made appearances in court, supporting their wives while throwing jibes at each other.
As celeb commentators and football fans wait with baited breath for Mrs Justice Steyn’s judgement, FEMAIL asks: who has escaped this media circus of a trial most unscathed?
With a Match of the Day style commentary, a look at the match highlights – from who scored the most own goals to who was forced to endure hairdryer treatment brutal enough to make Sir Alex Ferguson proud.
MATCH RESULT: 1-0 TO TEAM VARDY
Their wardrobes are full of plunging necklines, daring hemlines and diamonds the size of small ice skating rinks. So in that sense, Rebekah and Coleen’s designer-clad courtroom ensembles were restrained.
The pair manage to fight against their blingtastic instincts and leave the body-con dresses at home for their daily appearances at the High Court, although there were still plenty of designer outfits on show.
Rebekah opted for a slew of branded pieces, wearing labels beloved by the Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle, and covered her eyes with over-sized designer sunglasses for the short walk into court.
She wore a total of £16,600 over the course of the six day trial, donning a new designer outfit for every appearance.
High Court, high fashion: The WAGS have clearly invested time, money and energy in picking out exactly what they’ve worn during the high-profile trial, with Rebekah Vardy going for all-out couture glamour, showcasing outfits by some of Kate Middleton’s favourite designers including a yellow tweed co-ord from Alessandra Rich priced at £2,095. Right: Coleen has appeared more thrifty, recycling a Kooples pantsuit she debuted in March, costing £605. She’s also sporting a medical boot throughout
As the trial reached its finale, both women opted for the drama of darker colours on Tuesday, with Vardy plumping for a smart navy trouser suit with suede heels and a matching leather bag – plus obligatory bronzed skin and shades – while a bare-legged Coleen wore her Gucci loafers with a little black dress and a Chanel handbag, thought to be worth £3,000
Casual Coleen opted for a £32.99 printed dress from Zara, which she teamed with one Chanel loafer in the first week. Meanwhile Rebekah went for a full-on designer look, pairing a black, high-neck £1,780 Prada dress with a matching £1,245 blazer from Alexander McQueen, yet another Duchess of Cambridge-approved designer
Superstar footballer Wayne Rooney’s wife Coleen, 36, opted for a £580 blouse from French fashion brand Isabel Marant, which featured a round neck and puff sleeves (left) on day three. Meanwhile The wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy , 40, opted for a white and blue vintage £1,316 Chanel patterned dress (right)
On day four, Coleen arrived at London’s High Court wearing a £69.99 blazer and £32.99 cropped trousers from Zara paired with Gucci loafers and Chanel Flap bag (left) Rebekah arrived in a chic monochrome suit which she paired with a white blouse and £1,690 Givenchy handbag (right)
Meanwhile Coleen opted for a more low key, but equally expensive, wardrobe, mixing high street pieces from brands like Zara and The Kooples with expensive Chanel handbags costing up to £4,000. She also spent in the region of £16,600 on the eight-day outing.
Fashion highlights from Vardy, who has worn some of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle’s favourite designers during her High Court outings include a yellow tweed co-ord from Alessandra Rich priced at £2,095, matched with a £1,890 bag.
By contrast on the same day, Coleen showed a comparatively thrifty side, wearing a worn-before Kooples trouser costing £605.
As the case neared its finale on Tuesday, both opted for the drama of darker colours, with Vardy plumping for a smart navy trouser suit while a bare-legged Coleen wore her Gucci loafers with a little black dress.
And it seems Vardy has been inspired by one of the year’s other blockbuster court cases, she appeared to channel Amber Heard in court by sporting a very similar look the actress wore in her own defamation trail earlier this month. Both women styled their jackets, with oversized lapels, with white shirts and black trousers.
Inspiration? Rebekah Vardy (left) appeared to channel Amber Heard in court on Friday by sporting a very similar look the actress wore in her own defamation trail earlier this month. Both women styled their jackets, with oversized lapels, with white shirts and black trousers
MATCH RESULT: 1-0 TO TEAM ROONEY
Stepping up? Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has largely shelved his footballing commitments during the duration of the trial to be by his wife’s side
Meanwhile Jamie Vardy stayed focused on the pitch, turning out for Leicester City several times during the trial’s duration and missing the first week of action in the Royal Courts of Justice (Pictured on May 17, arriving at court with Rebekah Vardy)
When it comes to dedication, Wayne Rooney has, with the cameras glaring, stepped up for teenage sweetheart wife Coleen, even taking the witness stand to defend her honour.
The Derby County manager, 36, has appeared on numerous occasions playing the doting husband, carrying heavy (designer label) bags, apparently containing legal documents, into court.
Meanwhile it’s been largely business as usual for Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, who didn’t appear at the High Court during the first week of the libel trial due to his footballing commitments.
Clearly able to keep his mind on the game, cool as a cucumber Vardy, 35, has scored four times for the Midlands club while the case has been heard.
However he has been by his wife’s side on Monday and Tuesday, taking her hand as they walked into court side-by-side.
The Vardys left court early, shortly after Jamie accused Wayne Rooney of ‘talking nonsense’.
MATCH REPORT: 1-0 TO VARDY
The judge explained to a confused Vardy that the idiom ‘Davy Jones’ locker’ refers to the legendary resting place of sailors who have drowned at sea (as illustrated)
To be fair, it is quite distracting: Gemma Collins falling over on ITV’s Dancing On Ice in January 2019 was the key moment that meant Vardy didn’t reply to her agent after she admitted on ‘It was me’ in a conversation about being a story source
Spat over Sarah Harding’s handbag
Among the most bizarre revelations was one concerning Rebekah Vardy and the late Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding.
The High Court heard how Rebekah got into a heated argument with Sarah at the 2018 National Television Awards after the Girls Aloud singer spotted her rifling through her handbag.
In a written statement, Coleen 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.’
Rebekah is said to have ‘come to blows’ with Sarah hours after the 2018 NTAs had been broadcast on ITV.
Sarah died from cancer last year.
So many moments. And most of the titters in Court 13 have arisen when Vardy has been on the stand.
A definite runner-up would be the moment that the Leicester City WAG revealed that a crucial conversation between Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt was cut short because Vardy had been distracted by reality star Gemma Collins’ ‘faceplant’ on Dancing on Ice.
In court, Vardy agreed that her publicist Caroline Watt ‘appeared to be the source’ of a news story on Coleen Rooney’s 2019 car crash after the agent admitted ‘it was me’ in a text message.
But the WAG has told the libel trial that she did not reply to Watt’s message because she was distracted by the ice skating fall.
Vardy was referring to the moment the celebrity tripped and fell face-first on the ice during one of the routines in the ITV show.
The cup for the funniest moment though would probably go for Vardy’s bemusement at a nautical reference. It certainly raised the biggest laugh.
Vardy asked the High Court ‘who’s Davy Jones?’ after Rooney‘s barrister suggested that a lost mobile phone – thought to be at the bottom of the North Sea – was effectively in ‘Davy Jones’ locker’.
The High Court burst into laughter after the exchange – which concerned the claim that Rebekah’s agent, Caroline Watt, lost her phone containing WhatsApp messages when it fell off a boat into the North Sea.
Coleen’s barrister, David Sherborne, has accused Rebekah of deleting key evidence that, it is said, would prove that Rebekah had been leaking stories to the media.
‘We know that Ms Watt’s phone is now in Davy Jones’ Locker, don’t we, Mrs Vardy?’ Mr Sherborne said.
Rebekah then replied: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know who Davy Jones is’.
The judge then had to describe the idiom, which refers to the legendary resting place of sailors who have drowned at sea.
The incident came 24 hours after Rebekah herself had to explain to Mr Sherborne a rude term that appeared in one of her texts.
Asked by the barrister what the abbreviation ‘FFS’ meant in one message Rebekah glanced nervously at the judge, who indicated it was all right to swear in court when the evidence demanded it.
‘For F**** sake’, Rebekah said.
MATCH RESULT: 1-0 TO COLEEN
A series of bombshell revelations – many sourced from messages between Vardy and her agent – have perhaps done the most damage to Vardy’s reputation in the courtroom…
There were further reveals on how Vardy leaked news to the media of a drink driving incident involving footballer Danny Drinkwater via her agent, Caroline Watt, although the WAG denied asking Drinkwater for his address so she could send photographers and reporters around to his home
Feathered friends: How Rebekah compared Coleen to a ‘pigeon that s**ts in your hair’
Rebekah likened Coleen Rooney to a ‘pigeon that s**ts in your hair’, in comments made in a 2019 interview with the Daily Mail, and read out to the High Court by Coleen’s barrister David Sherborne.
Asked whether she ever argued with her rival, Rebekah told the interviewer: ‘That would be like arguing with a pigeon.
‘You can tell it that you are right and it is wrong, but it’s still going to s**t in your hair.’
January 22, 2019: Coleen Rooney posts a picture on her private Instagram, showing damage to her car after a collision. The next day Rebekah Vardy says in a WhatsApp message to Caroline Watt: ‘She’s a nasty b***h x’ and ‘I’ve taken a big dislike to her!… Would love to leak those stories x’. Rebekah claims her comments were not about Coleen .
January 27 2019: Coleen tweets: ‘It’s sad to think someone who I have accepted to follow me is betraying for either money or to keep a relationship with the press.’ Rebekah sends a WhatsApp message to Mrs Watt: ‘U seen Coleen’s Twitter.’ Mrs Watt replies: ‘Such a victim. Poor Coleen… And it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me.’
February 6: Rebekah in messages to Mrs Watt: ‘She [Coleen] thinks it’s me that’s been doing stories on her!… That c*** needs to get over herself!’
October 1: Rebekah says that in a picture on Coleen’s private Instagram one of the Rooney children ‘looks like he’s go [sic] no seatbelt on’.
Mrs Watt replies: ‘Yeh he is but it’s on her private insta so can’t do anything with it x… She has taken it down now too.’ Vardy responds: ‘She’s such a d**k x’
There were further reveals on how Vardy leaked news to the media of a drink driving incident involving footballer Danny Drinkwater via her agent, Caroline Watt, although the WAG denied asking Drinkwater for his address so she could send photographers and reporters around to his home.
Rebekah Vardy messaged ‘What have you done FFS?’ to the footballer after he crashed his car while drink driving,
She told her lawyer Hugh Tomlinson that she made the comments to Drinkwater in a private message on Instagram after the incident in 2019. The acronym ‘FFS’ stands for ‘For F**k Sake’.
THE EXCRUTIATING OWN GOAL
MATCH RESULT: 1-0 to Coleen
Clearing things up: In the video itself, he said: ‘Hi everyone. Seeing as I haven’t had much of a say in this, and just let everyone have a laugh and whatever, whatever, I’m just going to put it out
Facing Coleen’s lawyers in the first week of the trial at London’s High Court, Vardy was quizzed about a kiss-and-tell newspaper interview she took part in in 2004, in which she compared Peter Andre’s manhood to a ‘chipolata’.
Clearly embarrassed, Vardy said she had been ‘forced’ to take part in the News Of The World article by her ex-husband.
Vardy was being cross examined by Mrs Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne, when he asked her if she respected people’s privacy, to which she replied: ‘Yes, I do.’
As Rooney and her legal team looked on, he then asked her questions about an interview she gave about the claimed sexual encounter with singer Peter Andre.
Sherborne showed what appeared to an A3 print out of the article to Rebekah in the witness box before reading the headline: ‘Peter’s hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes’.
The barrister read excerpts from the article, in which it was claimed Andre had managed ‘just five minutes of sex with Rebekah’ and in which she said he had ‘the smallest trouser equipment I’ve ever seen’ that was like a ‘miniature chipolata’.
Sherborne suggested to Rebekah that the News Of The World was the ‘highest circulating newspaper at the time’, read by some four million people, and asked her whether it was ‘respectful’ of Peter’s ‘right not to share this information’.
Andre, understandably has been deeply unhappy at being a court sideshow, taking to his Instagram in response to say that there would outrage if a man had made a similar slur about a woman’s anatomy.
Andre’s response to the courtroom grilling that Vardy faced over her News of the World article in which she described 90s star Andre’s manhood as a ‘miniature chipolata
MATCH RESULT: 1-1
With reputations at stake, neither party has scrimped on putting together a crack team of lawyers for their very expensive days in court.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, who is representing Team 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.
Even Stevens: David Sherborne, 53, who has been dubbed one of Hollywood’s favourite lawyers, is acting for Coleen Rooney while Hugh Tomlinson QC is fighting Rebekah Vardy’s corner
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.
Also in her 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.
Supporting squad: Paul Lunt, Head of Litigation and partner at Liverpool-based firm Brabners is on Team Rooney, as is, right, commercial litigator Jamie Hurworth (pictured next to Wayne) who joins Coleen’s team from top legal firm Brabners
Also in Team Vardy is Charlotte Harris, 44, who, like Rosa, worked at Hacked Off and for eminent law firm Mishcon de Reya and is now a partner at Kingsley Napley. 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’.
And Coleen’s defence? Equally as illustrious. 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.
Also on board is rising legal star Ben Hamer, who’s assisting Sherborne in the case. 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.
Also on Coleen’s team is Paul Lunt, Head of Litigation and partner at Liverpool-based firm Brabners. Brabners were involved in Ben Stokes acquittal of affray and his successful breach of privacy claim against the Sun.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne (right) questioning Rebekah Vardy as she gives evidence at the Royal Courts Of Justice,
The firm was also involved in securing a not guilty verdict for grime artist Bugzy Malone in his GBH case and is acting for various former international cricketers in relation to the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.
Commercial litigator Jamie Hurworth, from top legal firm Brabners, completes the Rooneys legal team. Jamie, 30, started at the firm as a trainee in 2015 and has worked his way up after graduating from the University of Newcastle and University of Law.
He handles a broad range commercial disputes such as director, shareholder and joint venture disputes, contractual claims, professional negligence actions and cases and deals with urgent injunctions and handles alternative forms of dispute resolution such as international arbitration.
MATCH RESULT: 1-0 Coleen
One of Rebekah Vardy’s most uncomfortable moments in the trial came when Rooney’s lawyers turned on the heat about a 2018 paparazzi shot at the World Cup, which the WAG has strongly denied helping to stage.
The posed-up photo, which showed wives and girlfriends of the then England team gathered outside a restaurant, was a spontaneous photo, Vardy has claimed – however, messages between herself and her agent Caroline Watt appear to undermine her version of events.
Messages between Vardy and her agent appeared to contradict Vardy’s denial over setting up a 2018 World Cup photo of the England WAGS. The image was taken in St Petersburg and featured, from left to right: Millie Savage, Gemma Acton, Megan Davison, Rebekah Vardy, Annabelle Peyton, Fern Hawkins, Shannon Horlock, Annie Kilner and Lucia Loi
The case heard evidence about the 2018 paparazzi photo, with bombshell texts between Vardy and her former agent Caroline Watt said to reveal Rebekah’s key role in setting it up behind her fellow WAGs’ backs.
The court heard an 11th-hour witness statement from FA liaison officer Harpreet Robertson which claimed England footballer Harry Maguire’s wife-to-be Fern Hawkins had been annoyed by the snap.
In testimony read to the court by Mr Sherborne, Ms Robertson said: ‘Fern did express her upset to me, that she had taken part and she was embarrassed, was prepared and had not expected to be put in that position by Mrs Vardy.’
Messages between Rebekah and Ms Watt on the day in question were handed over to Coleen’s legal team as part of their High Court battle.
A last-gasp court statement expressed that Fern Hawkins, now the wife of Harry Maguire, had been unhappy with the apparent staging of the photo by Rebekah Vardy (Harry Maguire and Fern Maguire on holiday in a photo posted to Instagram)
The flurry of messages were exchanged between the two women during a day-out in St Petersburg on June 26, in 2018.
Rebkah was out in the Russian city with Millie Savage, Gemma Acton, Megan Davison, Annabel Peyton, Fern Hawkins, Shannon Horlock, Annie Kilner and Lucia Loi
They were the partners of John Stones, Gary Cahill, Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Harry Maguire, Nick Pope, Kyle Walker and Marcus Rashford.
The restaurant trip was two days prior to England’s first-round game against Belgium.
At 14:37pm, Rebekah messaged her agent: ‘We may have to walk to restaurant from hotel now… so might be a good pic of us walking down it’s about 10/15 mins away’
Ms Watt replied: ‘Ok will let them know thanks’
At 16.12pm, Rebekah messaged: ‘On the way down in the restaurant car… He’s doing two runs’.
Five minutes later, Ms Watt replied: ‘Ok. Hopefully he catches you all! Don’t forget to take a group shot.’
Rebekah then said: ‘If he’s here he is hiding in bushes or behind trees lol’
Half an hour later, however, Rebekah messaged that she is worried the other women will think she has tipped off the photographer after they spot him outside the restaurant.
‘F*** I made everyone go outside for a pic and the pap was there… Looks like I tipped him off now,’ Vardy says.
MOST MUSCULAR TEAM
MATCH REPORT: 1-0 VARDY
Beef: Rebekah Vardy, wife of Leicester City soccer player Jamie Vardy, arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, with a burly security guard close by
The Leicester City WAG has previously discussed how security is important to her and added that she’s faced threats since her feud with Coleen went public
With husband Jamie absent from the High Court for much of the trial, Rebekah’s security team has been front and centre when she’s been pictured arriving at the central London courtroom.
While Coleen doesn’t appear to have any bodyguard alongside her, Vardy’s burly security guard has been ever present. The Leicester City WAG has 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.
BIGGEST HAIRDRYER TREATMENT
MATCH REPORT: 1-0 TO COLEEN
A court drawing of Rebekah as she gave evidence on the third day of the Wagatha Christie trial last week
In the first week of the trial, Vardy faced two intense days of questioning, and at one point was sensationally accused by Rooney’s lawyers of having ‘selective amnesia’ and ‘lying’ in court.
Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne, during a cross-examination asked if she’d styled herself as ‘unofficial leader of the WAGs’, a phrase that had been used in a tabloid story about the England not being asked to abstain from sex with their partners during the World Cup.
In a silent courtroom, Vardy denied she’d said the phrase and claimed it was from the journalist who wrote the story. Rebekah said: ‘No it was his and it’s quite an embarrassing statement.’
Mr Sherborne accused Rebekah of ‘having selective amnesia’ to benefit her case and would later suggest she was lying in her denial that she had set up the 2018 paparazzi shot.
‘You can’t get your story straight,’ he told her, ‘because you’re lying’.
MATCH REPORT: 1-0 TO VARDY
Artist impression of Rebekah Vardy (R) and Wayne & Coleen Rooney (L) at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Sketch from May 10
A sketch by court artist Elizabeth Cook of Wayne Rooney giving evidence at the Royal Courts Of Justice in London on Tuesday
Court artists in UK courts aren’t known for their realism when it comes to capturing the looks of those in the courtoom. But the sketches that have appeared documenting what’s going on in Court 13 have provided a comedic distraction for those following the trial.
Social media users were left in stitches during the first week by the Wagatha Christie drawings – with some saying the artists made Wayne Rooney look like a ‘potato’.
The former Manchester United star and current Derby County manager was gifted a particularly unflattering image in the charcoal images. His wife and her court foe didn’t escape either, with both given ‘hilarious’ caricatures in the images that were released thanks to the High Court’s no photo policy.
An artist impression of Rebekah Vardy giving evidence (left) to Barrister Mr Sherborne (right) with Wayne and Coleen Rooney looking on (centre) at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Sketch from May 11
Because it has been – in almost every instance – illegal under UK law to take photographs and video inside courts, news organisations often commission artists to make court sketches.
The artists are highly skilled and face a difficult task, because they are only allowed a few minutes to make a series of base lines.
They then leave the courtroom, and usually sit in the foyer of the court, where they expand on their marker lines purely from memory.
Court artists also have to work at pace, with the images often needed or finished within an hour or less.
Vardy 6 – Rooney 5