Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney unwilling to back down as the WAGatha Christie scandal plays out in court

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Dubbed “WAGatha Christie”, the scandal between British celebrities Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy exploded on social media back in 2019.

Now the saga is continuing to unfold publicly, with a trial before the High Court in the UK.

Where did this start?

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Let's go all the way back to January 2019, when Ms Rooney shared her suspicions that someone following her private Instagram was leaking stories about her to The Sun newspaper — one of the UK's major tabloids: 

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Over the next few months, Ms Rooney said she conducted an investigation, blocking everyone from viewing several staged stories she posted on Instagram — except for one account. 

She said she'd posted false stories to see if they ended up in the press, and they ended up in The Sun.

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The Sun says it checked every one of the stories with representatives for Ms Rooney before they were published.

“[It] only went ahead when she made it clear she did not dispute the details,” the newspaper said.

Ms Rooney detailed the results of her sting operation in a post in October 2019: 

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That last line “It's ……….Rebekah Vardy's account” went viral, being dubbed #WAGathaChristie on social media. 

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Ms Vardy denied the allegation: 

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Why WAGatha Christie?

Ms Rooney is married to former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney and Ms Vardy is married to Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy.

WAG is slang for the wives and girlfriends of soccer stars, a term often used by British tabloids. 

The other part of the hashtag is a reference to crime writer Agatha Christie as a nod to Ms Rooney's alleged sleuthing, worthy of a murder mystery plot. 

Why take it to court?

Ms Vardy wanted Ms Rooney's accusatory post to be removed, with her lawyer Hugh Tomlinson telling the High Court his client made “strenuous but unsuccessful attempts” to settle the matter.

But Ms Rooney refused to take the post down.

Ms Vardy says she has been the target of online abuse over Ms Rooney's allegation. 

“She has been subjected to an undue and unjustified attack that has had, and continues to have, an impact on her,” Mr Tomlinson said. 

He said she had “no choice” but to launch a legal case to prove her innocence and “vindicate her reputation”.

Ms Rooney's lawyer, David Sherborne, said she did not want the dispute to end up in court, but she was “defending the words as true”. 

“She says that Mrs Vardy was responsible,” he said. 

Rebekah vardy and coleen rooney unwilling to back down as the wagatha christie scandal plays out in court

Ms Vardy's legal team says she's trying to “vindicate her reputation” with her libel case. (AP: Victoria Jones)

Judge's plea to resolve the matter privately

There have been reports of multiple attempts to resolve the issue outside of court. 

In May 2020, British tabloid The Sun reported that both parties were “strongly advised to reach an agreement” between themselves.

The newspaper quoted an “insider” who said both of them were “still as determined as ever to be proven right”. 

Reports that Ms Vardy had filed a libel case against Ms Rooney surfaced in June 2020. 

Rebekah vardy and coleen rooney unwilling to back down as the wagatha christie scandal plays out in court

Both parties were urged to resolve the matter outside of court. (AP)

In November 2020, the High Court was told the two sides had agreed to halt proceedings until that coming February to make a final attempt to resolve the case without a trial.

But there was no resolution and the matter went to a pre-trial hearing in March 2021. 

At that hearing, Judge Roger Eastman urged Ms Vardy and Ms Rooney to resolve the case privately.

But Ms Vardy's legal team told the court that, “regrettably this was not possible”, with British newspaper The i reporting earlier attempts at mediation just wracked up more legal costs. 

What's at stake?

Ms Rooney's team has to prove that Ms Vardy was personally responsible for the leaks. 

They argue that Ms Vardy used her agent Caroline Watt as a “hitman” to leak the stories on her behalf, making her responsible even if she didn't “pull the trigger”.

What have we heard so far?

Mr Tomlinson said, “it's possible that Ms Watt was the source” of the leaks, but Ms Vardy denied any knowledge of it or authorising Ms Watt to share the stories with The Sun. 

“I didn't give any information to a newspaper,” she told the court. 

“I didn't leak anything to anyone.”

Rebekah vardy and coleen rooney unwilling to back down as the wagatha christie scandal plays out in court

Ms Vardy has denied instructing her publicist to leak stories about Ms Rooney to the press. (AP: Elizabeth Cook)

Ms Watt has denied being the source, according to the BBC. 

She has been deemed too unwell to testify. 

The court has heard Ms Watt's phone had fallen overboard from a boat on the North Sea after it was hit by a wave.

Ms Rooney's team said this happened “within days” of the court ordering the phone be searched for disclosure, saying it was part of an attempt to make sure “highly relevant and incriminating” information did not come to light. 

Mr Sherborne argued Ms Vardy had conducted a campaign of “deliberate destruction of evidence” by deleting media files and WhatsApp messages.

“Like any good detective story, you never find the person responsible standing over the body with the smoking gun in her hand,” he said. 

Rebekah vardy and coleen rooney unwilling to back down as the wagatha christie scandal plays out in court

Ms Rooney, pictured with her husband, maintains Ms Vardy was behind the leaks.  (AP: Victoria Jones)

What can we expect next?

The trial is expected to go for seven days. 

Ms Rooney and her husband are both set to testify later in the trial. 

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