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Wagatha Christie: Coleen Rooney says she was ‘vulnerable’ after husband Wayne’s arrest for drink driving

  • Rebekah Vardy is suing Mrs Rooney for libel over the post dating from October 2019
  • Football star’s wife Rebekah Vardy denies she leaked ‘secrets’

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Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Court artist sketch of Rebekah Vardy wiping away tears as she gives evidence at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, during the high-profile libel battle between herself and Coleen Rooney. Drawing: Elizabeth Cook

Court artist sketch of Rebekah Vardy wiping away tears as she gives evidence at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, during the high-profile libel battle between herself and Coleen Rooney. Drawing: Elizabeth Cook

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain May 13, 2022. REUTERS/John Sibley

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain May 13, 2022. REUTERS/John Sibley

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Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen Rooney has told the High Court in London she was in a "vulnerable situation" following her husband Wayne's arrest for drink-driving.

Starting her evidence as part of her libel battle against Rebekah Vardy on Friday, the TV personality alleged that private information about her marriage to the former England captain had been leaked to The Sun newspaper.

On September 1 2017, Mr Rooney was arrested for drink-driving as a woman was found in the car at the time.

He later received a two-year driving ban and was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to the charge.

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On Friday, the High Court was told Mrs Rooney took the couple's four children and went to stay with her parents following the incident.

She said: "I was in a vulnerable situation, I didn't know how my marriage was going to work out, whether I was going on with my relationship."

Mrs Rooney said that the couple later tried to work out their difficulties privately, but did not want the public to know about their potential reconciliation at the time.

In late October 2017 and early November, Mrs Rooney posted two pictures of her children - one on her public Instagram account and a second on her private account - with only the second photo containing Mr Rooney.

Mrs Rooney told the High Court the pictures of the family in matching pyjamas was part of a campaign to support Alder Hey children's hospital in Liverpool.

She said that despite keeping the photo with Mr Rooney to her "close circle" on her private account, a story was later published in The Sun.

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Mrs Rooney said in her witness statement: "Whilst I was comfortable enough to upload the photograph of Wayne to my private Instagram account, I made a conscious decision not to upload the photograph with him in to my Twitter account or to my public Instagram account because of the difficulties between us at the time."

She later told the court: "That was information that I was happy to share in the private group... but I didn't want the public to know that."

However, she claimed that on November 1, the day of the private post including Mr Rooney, an article was published describing the post.

Mrs Rooney said in her written evidence that she was "really hurt" by the leak, "particularly because I felt as though someone that I trusted was betraying me at a very difficult time".

Mrs Rooney is expected to continue her evidence until Monday afternoon, with Mr Rooney due to step into the witness box on Tuesday.

Earlier, Ms Rooney said she sent the viral post accusing “Rebekah Vardy’s account” of leaking her private information to The Sun as a “last resort”, the footballer’s wife has told the High Court at the start of her evidence.

She also said a message from Ms Vardy to her agent about Ms Rooney’s dead sister “knocked me sick”.

In a viral social media post in October 2019, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.

On Friday afternoon, Mrs Rooney started her evidence in the Royal Courts of Justice and was questioned by Mrs Vardy’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC.

‘Last resort’

Asked what she set out to achieve with the widely shared post, Mrs Rooney replied: “I wasn’t achieving anything, what I wanted was to stop the person who was leaking my private information to The Sun.”

Mrs Rooney added that she had given out warnings “many times”, but “it didn’t stop”.

“This was my last resort,” she continued.

Mr Tomlinson suggested that Mrs Rooney must have known that the social media post would have led to abuse of Mrs Vardy, to which she replied: “No, that was not my intention at all, not at all,” adding: “It’s not in my nature to.”

The footballer’s wife was watched as she gave evidence by her husband Wayne, with Mrs Vardy sitting on the other side of the courtroom.

Mrs Rooney’s post was widely shared and heavily parodied on social media at the time, including by the Twitter account of Jeremy Corbyn, then-leader of the Labour Party.

She told the court that she was surprised by “how much interest” her social media post caused.

“Obviously it was going to get picked up by the media,” she said, explaining that her life had been covered by the media for the last 20 years “no matter how big or small” something was.

Asked by Mr Tomlinson if she had a “large loyal following” on social media, Mrs Rooney replied: “I have a large following, yes – loyal, I’m not too sure about.”

Mrs Rooney is defending the libel claim brought by Mrs Vardy on the basis of truth and public interest.

The libel battle comes after Mrs Rooney publicly claimed that an account behind three fake stories in The Sun that she had posted on her personal Instagram account was Mrs Vardy’s.

The fake stories Mrs Rooney 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 the 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.”

Ms Rooney said wanted to catch the account responsible for leaking her information "red-handed", she told the court in her written evidence.

In her witness statement, Mrs Rooney said she had made two warning posts and temporarily removed Rebekah Vardy from her account "but nothing had worked".

‘Red-handed’

She continued: "I wanted to catch the account responsible 'red-handed' as it were and so I came up with a plan."

Describing her plan, Mrs Rooney said: "I decided that I would invent and fabricate a story, limit accessibility in such a way so that it was only Becky's Instagram account that could view it, upload it to Instagram via Instagram Stories for a period of 24 hours so that it was only 'Seen By' Becky's Instagram account and then I would wait and see whether my fabricated/invented story, which had only been seen by Becky's Instagram account, appeared in The Sun."

She added: "For the avoidance of any doubt, I did not mention this plan or the content of the Sting Operation to anyone or discuss it with any person at any time."

Ms Rooney has said she thought Rebekah Vardy would "try to explain it away or pretend to be my friend" if she confronted her fellow footballer's wife privately about alleged leaks.

She wrote in her witness statement: "Nobody had ever contacted me in advance of leaking my posts and stories to The Sun to ask if I was okay with it - on the contrary, I had made it abundantly clear that I was unhappy about the leaks and they continued regardless.

"I took the view that enough warning had already been given and decided to go public."

She continued: "I had never actually spoken to Becky on the phone before, or met up just the two of us, so we didn't really have that direct kind of relationship.

"I also knew that she had a very close relationship with the media so I thought that if I confronted her privately then she would probably just try to explain it away or pretend to be my friend and supportive, as she had done before, and then spin the narrative publicly.

"I was also fuming at the time."

Rooney sister

Ms Rooney said a message between Rebekah Vardy and her agent about her dead sister “knocked her sick” when it was disclosed.

The 3 year-old took to the stand for the first time on the fourth day of the libel trial between herself and Mrs Vardy.

Mrs Vardy denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her ‘Wagatha Christie’ post was “substantially true”.

In a witness statement Mrs Rooney wrote: “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.”

Earlier evidence 

Rebekah Vardy became tearful several times yesterday in the witness box as she was accused of leaking stories and throwing her agent “under the bus” during her evidence at the High Court in London.

As part of a high-profile libel claim against Coleen Rooney, Ms Vardy wiped away tears on multiple occasions as she was cross-examined by Ms Rooney’s barrister.

Ms Vardy left the witness box for the third day as she finished being questioned by David Sherborne in what has been dubbed the “Wagatha Christie” case.

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Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Cross-examining Ms Vardy, Mr Sherborne, for Ms Rooney, said: “Would you not agree, Mrs Vardy, that if it looks like a leak and smells like a leak and you even use the word leak, it is more likely than not to be a leak.”

He added: “So when Ms Rooney wrote on October 9 that she was right in suspecting you and your account... She was right, wasn’t she?”

“No, she was wrong,” Ms Vardy replied.

The barrister referenced that Ms Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt is not giving oral evidence after it emerged at a hearing last month that she was “not fit” to do so, also withdrawing her written statement.

Mr Sherborne continued: “The journalists you wanted to call knew Caroline Watt was the source and that it came from you but you didn’t want to do the dirty work yourself.

“That’s why Ms Watt couldn’t face coming to court in the end to have been found to have lied.”

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Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

However, Ms Vardy said: “I think she has been driven to suicidal thoughts by these proceedings and the antics of the defendant.”

Mr Sherborne concluded: “I have to put it to you that it’s not her that betrayed you, as you suggest, it’s you that betrayed her by throwing her under the bus.”

The former Dancing On Ice contestant appeared emotional as she said: “That is not true.”

Ms Vardy also appeared emotional when questioned over whether she had seen a so-called “flooded basement” post – one of the Instagram stories Ms Rooney claims were only seen by Ms Vardy’s account during her “sting operation”.

Questioned about alleged inconsistencies in her evidence, Ms Vardy said “there was a lot of abuse during that time” before she started to cry in the witness box.

As the judge left the room after granting a short break, a tearful Ms Vardy put her head in her hands on the desk.

Ms Vardy had previously described the day of Ms Rooney’s viral online post as “such a blur”.

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Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

She will be questioned by her own barrister today before Ms Rooney begins her evidence.

During the third day of the trial, the High Court also heard one of the articles in the case concerned Ms Rooney’s car being damaged in early 2019, with a picture of the damaged Honda being posted on her private Instagram account.

A story was published in The Sun about Ms Rooney’s car three days later, written by journalist Andy Halls.

Mr Sherborne said: “You didn’t object at any stage to the fact that Ms Watt is plainly passing on information from Ms Rooney’s private Instagram account to Andy Halls.”

Ms Vardy said The Sun already had the information, adding: “I didn’t think she was passing on any new information.”

Mr Sherborne asked: “Take the word new out of it. Did you or did you not know that Ms Watt was passing on information from Ms Rooney’s private account?”

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Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London, for the high-profile libel battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney. Yui Mok/PA Wire

Ms Vardy replied: “She was talking to Mr Halls about information that was already being discussed.”

The court heard Ms Rooney later posted a public tweet saying it was “sad” someone who followed her was “betraying” her after the article appeared in The Sun.

While purportedly discussing this tweet in a private WhatsApp conversation, Ms Watt told Ms Vardy “It wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me”, in a message accompanied by a laughing face emoji.

The barrister put it to Ms Vardy that was Ms Watt admitting leaking the information to the journalist.

She replied: “That seems to be what she is saying, but I’m just looking at the times, at 18.47 I’m bathing the children, there is no response from me.”

Mr Sherborne accused Ms Vardy of trying to throw herself a “lifeline” and asked why, after bathing her children, she did not respond to Ms Watt to challenge what she had said, if she did not know about and authorise the leak.

Ms Vardy replied: “Without wanting to make fun of anyone, Gemma Collins face-planting on the ice was the next message, and that’s what I had on while I was bathing my children.”

Ms Rooney is defending the libel claim brought by Ms Vardy on the basis of truth and public interest.

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Derby County manager Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain May 13, 2022. REUTERS/John Sibley

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain May 13, 2022. REUTERS/John Sibley

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain May 13, 2022. REUTERS/John Sibley

The libel battle comes after Ms Rooney publicly claimed that an account behind three fake stories in The Sun that she had posted on her personal Instagram account was Ms Vardy’s.

In the 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.”


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