The high-profile libel fight between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney is finally due to go to trial on Tuesday.
rs Rooney accused Ms Vardy of leaking “fake stories” about her private life to the media in October 2019 after she said she underwent months of “stab surgery”.
Former England star Wayne Rooney’s wife was nicknamed “Wagatha Christie” when she publicly claimed her fellow footballer’s wife shared three fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
The fake stories included Ms Rooney’s trip to Mexico for a “gender selection” procedure, her intention to return to television and the basement flooding at her home.
Ms Rooney wrote: “I saved all the original stories and took screenshots clearly showing that only one person saw them.
“It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Ms Rooney’s post was widely shared and heavily parodied on social media at the time, including the Twitter account of Jeremy Corbyn, then Labor Party leader.
Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the allegations and is suing Ms Rooney for defamation.
Under English defamation law, the burden of proof now lies with Ms Rooney to prove that her post was “substantially true”.
Now, after months of preliminary hearings – which neither Ms Vardy nor Ms Rooney attended – the full trial is set to begin at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
video of the day
The case first went to court in November 2020, with a judge noting that Ms Rooney’s post “clearly identified Ms Vardy as ‘guilty of the serious and ongoing breach of trust'”.
The judge, now Lord Justice Warby, also said that “I think the element of suspense introduced by the many points tends to create expectations of a dramatic unveiling”.
Several hearings have since taken place to set up the trial, including one where texts surfaced between Ms Vardy and agent Caroline Watt, in which Ms Vardy called someone a “bad bitch”.
In February, Ms Rooney’s solicitor, David Sherborne, told the High Court that a “series of unfortunate events” had occurred in connection with the evidence in the case, most notably Ms Watt’s phone falling in the North Sea.
Ms Vardy’s lawyers said she had “nothing to hide”.
The High Court was recently told by Mr Sherborne that Ms Vardy was “apparently acceptable” that Ms Watt was the source of the leaked stories about Coleen Rooney published in The Sun newspaper.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Mrs Vardy, told the court that his client’s new testimony contained “no change in the case brought”.
Ms Watt was scheduled to testify at the trial but was recently found “unfit” to attend and withdrew her written testimony as well.
Mr Tomlinson said: “We just don’t know what the real position is in relation to Ms Watt… She doesn’t communicate with anyone.”
The trial before Ms Justice Steyn is expected to last seven days.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/wagatha-christie-libel-trial-involving-footballers-wives-coleen-rooney-and-rebekah-vardy-set-to-begin-41633322.html Soccer players Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy’s “Wagatha Christie” defamation trial is set to begin