Coleen Rooney, the wife of British soccer star Wayne Rooney, has won the high-profile defamation case against her by fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy – bringing to an end the dramatic trial dubbed “Wagatha Christie” by the British media.
After three years of expensive legal back-and-forth, Judge Karen Steyn handed down her ruling on Friday morning.
In his ruling, published online, Steyn ruled it was “likely” that Vardy’s agent at the time, Caroline Watt, “took the direct action” of leaking stories from Coleen’s private Instagram account to British tabloid The Sun.
The explosive feud started in 2019 when Rooney sensationally accused Vardy, the spouse of Leicester City player Jamie Vardy, of leaking stories to the newspaper.
Rebekah, who vehemently denied the allegationsresponded by hitting Coleen with a libel suit.
The evidence “clearly shows, in my view, that Vardy knew and condoned this behaviour, actively engaged in it by directing Watt to the private Instagram account, sending her screenshots of Rooney’s posts, and drawing attention to matters of potential interest to the press, and answer further questions from the press via Watt,” Steyn wrote.
The legal battle has been dubbed the “Wagatha Christie” case, a reference to the renowned author of detective novels, in honor of Coleen’s amateur search.
In October 2019, Coleen shared a long post about her Twitter and Instagram accounts, suggesting that “for a few years now, someone I trusted to follow me on my personal Instagram account has consistently informed the SUN newspaper about my private posts and stories.”
The TV personality said “after a long time of trying to figure out who it could be, for various reasons,” she had a gut feeling and formulated a plan on how to take down this mystery person.
“I blocked everyone from seeing my Instagram stories except for ONE account,” Rooney said at the time. “Over the last five months I’ve been running a series of bogus stories to see if they’ve made it into the Sun newspaper. And guess what, they did!”
Rooney noted that she “saved and screenshotted all the original stories clearly showing that only one person has seen them,” claiming it was “Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Rebekah addressed the claims on Twitter the same day, tagging Coleen in her post.
“As I just told you on the phone, I wish you had called me if you believed this,” she tweeted in October 2019.
“I never talk to anyone about you as various journalists who have asked me over the years can vouch for. If you thought this was happening, you could have told me and I could have changed my passwords to see if it stopped.”
Rebekah continued that “different people have had access” to her Instagram account over the years, adding, “just this week I found myself following people I didn’t know and never followed myself.”
“I’m not funny, but I don’t need the money, what do I want to make selling stories about you?” she wrote. “I really liked you Coleen and I’m so upset that you’ve chosen to do this, especially when I’m heavily pregnant.”
Rebekah later filed a defamation claim against Coleen in June 2020, setting the stage for a legal battle estimated to have cost over $3.7 million in legal costs.
The case first appeared in court in November 2020, after a judge said Coleen’s post “clearly identified” Rebekah as “guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust”.