The post on Coleen Rooney’s Instagram account was a warning. “Don’t play games,” she wrote. “With a girl who can play better.” During this week’s “Wagatha Christie” defamation trial this week, Rebekah Vardy must have at times wished she’d paid attention.
ardy filed this lawsuit to clear her name after Rooney accused her of being the “weed” who leaked stories from her private social media account to a tabloid. But during three grueling days of cross-examination, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy’s wife resembled a defendant – and one who on occasion seemed to struggle to get her story straight.
With the half-time whistle on Thursday it looked like the end of the game.
But as every football fan knows, you can never rule out a surprise. After Rooney’s first day on the witness stand on Friday, the outcome seems a little more uncertain.
The Royal Courts of Justice has seen nothing like it. When Mrs Justice Steyn dreamed of becoming a High Court judge, did she envision it?
Presiding over a slanging match between two wags (an acronym that, in case you don’t know, stands for “wives and girlfriends”), with evidence coming in the form of WhatsApp messages, Instagram posts, expletives, and Emojis are presented in which a One of the topics of the legal debate concerned Peter Andre’s masculinity and its alleged resemblance to a chipolata.
However, many people can’t get enough of this case – just ask those who queued hoping for a seat in the public gallery, including a mother with a newborn baby strapped to her chest and a middle-aged man a Liverpool FC tracksuit, eager to take a selfie with Wayne. Fame, football, money and class is a powerful combination – throw in a crime thriller and it is The footballers’ wives meets Poirot (A Netflix documentary is said to be in the works).
Each day’s battle begins not when negotiations begin in Court 13, but when the rival Wags get out of their cars just after 10am. Vardy is dressed in designer clothes from head to toe, accompanied by a minder the size of an American fridge.
Her facial expression is stony. Rooney cuts a more approachable figure, often in high-street fashion, save for a lone Gucci mule (her left leg is inexplicably encased in a surgical boot).
Dutifully behind her is Wayne, who is tasked with carrying her purse and who, one suspects, would rather be somewhere else. But his wife helped him through…well, quite a bit. It’s payback time.
Their respective attorneys are also cut from very different stuff. Rooney has hired David Sherborne, a showboat champion with a wag-tastic teak tan, to represent Johnny Depp in his 2020 defamation lawsuit The sun. Vardy’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson QC, who previously represented the Beckhams, is more reticent, although he too is swept up in the celebrity silliness.
To illustrate the difference between believing something is true and having evidence, he couldn’t help but glance at Wayne’s managerial career: ‘You’d think Derby County would win the Premiership in two years’ time, but it is it’s not evidence they’re going to pursue.” Ouch.
It all started, in case you missed it, with Rooney’s bombastic social media post in 2019. She revealed that she undertook an elaborate sting operation to find out which of the 300 followers on her private Instagram account information was shared with The sun, posting a bunch of fake stories to smoke out the culprit. She changed the settings so only one follower could see those posts before making the big reveal: “It’s … Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
As a result, Vardy has sued for defamation. She denies being the leaker or greenlighting her agent, Caroline Watt, who had access to her account and thus could see Rooney’s private posts.
Ms Watt is too unwell to appear and key evidence stored on her mobile phone has been lost. The court heard she was filming the Scottish coast from the deck of a boat when the phone plunged into the North Sea shortly after Rooney’s lawyers asked for it to be handed over. Bad luck.
Rooney’s anger that someone close to her tipped off the newspapers is understandable. But the leaked stories were hardly state secrets: a dent in the side of her Honda while she was living in Washington DC; tipsy riding a bike during a party at the Soho Farmhouse. Their triviality makes it all the more amazing that this case ended up in the High Court.
Vardy’s claim is based on her assertion that the leaks were unrelated to her account. However, awkwardly, some of the received WhatsApp messages between her and Ms Watt were read out to the court. Speaking of Rooney’s fears of being betrayed by someone she trusted, Mas Watt said: “It wasn’t anyone she trusted. It was me,” followed by a laughing emoji.
There’s also some cognitive dissonance between the Rebekah Vardy who presents herself on the witness stand – a dignified figure who insists she has no “beef” with anyone – and the Rebekah Vardy of private WhatsApp messaging.
A woman she doesn’t like (possibly fellow Wag Danielle Lloyd, she can’t remember exactly) is called a “bad bitch”. Rooney is a “C***”. And then there was the quote from an old interview brought to court, in which Vardy was asked if she had pleaded innocence in a phone call to Rooney.
“Arguing with Coleen is like arguing with a pigeon,” she said. “You can tell him you’re right and he’s wrong, but it’ll still shit your hair.”
An undeniable fact about Vardy: She’s tough. Lesser mortals would have collapsed under Sherborne’s onslaught, but his insults bounced off her until the final day of cross-examination, when she slumped over the table.
And she’s hot. When questioned, she admitted hiring a paparazzi to lurk outside Leicester Maternity Hospital and was supposed to catch her seemingly unsuspecting as she showed up with her new baby. Wouldn’t it have been more honest, Sherborne asked, to sit down with a photographer for a proper shoot? “I’m not sure I was even able to sit down,” Vardy shot back.
The collaboration with the paparazzi is an example of Vardy’s public zeal. She reportedly parked in someone else’s seat at Euro 2016 to secure a place in the row behind Rooney and make sure they were photographed together.
“Becky definitely struck me as someone who actively wanted to be famous,” Rooney said, painting himself as someone who actively wanted the opposite. Some achieve wag-dom, and others have wag-dom pushed on them: while Vardy has grafted her way into the Premier League of footballers’ wives through photo opportunities and telltale interviews, and bagged a spot I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!Rooney never had to try.
She found herself in the limelight as a 16-year-old schoolgirl who happened to date a talented young player. Almost 20 years later, media interest is greater than ever.
In bearing her testimony, she exuded calm and confidence: smiling where Vardy was stern, and speaking clearly where Vardy was barely audible. She was shiny but down to earth and even put the files in neat piles before leaving the witness stand. When Tomlinson apologized for using the term “wags” if it seemed disrespectful, she calmly replied, “It’s not disrespectful, it’s just a word I don’t use.”
Her styling sent a message that she has nothing to prove. She only does that from a legal point of view: she has to show that she was right with her Instagram claim.
When asked what evidence she had that Vardy was the leaker, Rooney had no answer other than to say that “it all belongs together” — Vardy’s desire to be famous, her close relationship with her The sun, their habit of “fishing” for personal information. Rooney hasn’t offered a possible motive either, aside from hinting that Vardy was looking to garner favorable coverage in Britain’s biggest tabloid, and one way to keep that on the side would be to leak juicy nuggets about other people. Vardy denies the claim.
If looks could kill, it’s safe to say Rooney wouldn’t be returning tomorrow for another day of testimony. Vardy glared at her from the front row of the court.
The parties sit only a few meters apart, but enter and leave the room via separate entrances and never look each other in the eye. According to Rooney, the two women were never good friends, and she always thought Vardy was “trying a little too hard” to sneak into her world.
Jamie Vardy was notable for his absence, probably delighted at being stuck in training. And what about Wayne?
Not once did he look up to the witness stand, either during Vardy’s or his wife’s testimony. Instead, hands clasped on the desk in front of him, he stares into space. Maybe he’s silently counting up how much this Farrago costs.
Or maybe he was practicing his poker face in anticipation of the day on Day Four that his wife revealed she’d moved back in with her parents because of “some wrongdoing” on his part (an uncomfortable incident in which he was arrested for drunk driving). , with another woman in his car). Wayne kept his inscrutable expression but was slowly blushing.
If Vardy loses, she will be ended up with a multi-million pound note. But there will also be a flood of interview offers after a week of widespread media coverage.
Her team includes a reputation management consultant who once worked at News from all over the world. He cut out his work. But if there’s one thing Vardy doesn’t approve of, it’s relegation to the lower leagues.
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Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/wagatha-half-time-report-grudge-match-of-the-season-at-the-uk-high-court-is-not-game-over-yet-41650782.html Wagatha Mid-Term Report – Grudge match of season in UK High Court is not ‘game over’ yet