Yesterday’s edict from the judge in the “Wagatha Christie” trial spoke volumes.
Ahead of the verdict in the Rebekah Vardy v Coleen Rooney libel case, which Vardy lost, the judge had said she would not make the outcome known in advance, for fear that one of the parties might leak t to the media.
After a trial in which salacious revelations spilled forth at a rate of knots, Rooney has emerged victorious in the social media spat that became the ultimate War of the Wags.
When Rooney was revealed as the winner, she headed off on the high road, saying that while she was “pleased” with the ruling in her favour, the case – which had been pursued doggedly by Vardy for three years after out-of-court mediations went nowhere – should never have gone to court.
“It was not a case I ever sought or wanted. I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others,” she said in a statement.
It’s a canny statement from a woman who, let’s face it, many people had previously dismissed as a shopaholic doormat.
In case you’ve recently returned from Mars (or have consciously left the two footballers’ wives to their catfight), here’s a quick recap.
After months of opening the tabloids to find someone had sold stories on her private life, Wayne Rooney’s wife, Coleen, came up with an ingenious plan to identify the culprit.
Blocking all but one account on her private Instagram, she concocted some false rumours about a flooded basement.
Later, in a tale even a seasoned scriptwriter could barely have dreamed up, she fabricated a story about a gender selection trip to Mexico.
She then identified the stories as having been seen by only one account – that of fellow Wag Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Jamie.
Taking exceptional umbrage at the slight, Vardy vowed to clear her reputation.
When her day in court came, the grubby stuff wasn’t long in coming – it was publicly revealed that Vardy had described the manhood of her former lover Peter Andre as a “chipolata”.
In a classic example of the “Streisand effect”, information that was supposed to remain private became public because someone had tried to hide it.
Later, vital evidence was said to be on a mobile phone at the bottom of the sea.
She’s come across as a nasty person who cannot be trusted. Her brand is very badly tarnished and she’s totally unrelatable.
The High Court in London heard Vardy had said of her adversary: “Arguing with Coleen is like arguing with a pigeon. You can tell it that you are right and it is wrong but it’s still going to s**t in your hair.”
All the while, and at a time when the world was in dire need of some light relief, the internet commentariat was having a field day.
Now that we’ve come out the other side of the Wagatha Christie trial and the dust has somewhat settled, it’s worth asking: What now for intrepid sleuth Rooney and litigious Vardy?
First up for Vardy, at any rate, is the eye-watering £3m (€3.6m) legal bill she faces, now that she has to pay both sets of lawyers.
To say she instigated one of the most ill-advised libel cases in legal history is one thing, but where might this leave her?
Walking into court in a different designer outfit each day during the trial, Vardy may have enjoyed the sort of PR only the very rich can afford.
She’s not exactly suffering from a lack of interest.
Whether she will be able to parlay this new profile into a lasting career is anyone’s guess.
In court documents released after the final day of the trial, Vardy claimed she had lost work due to the accusation she had leaked stories about Rooney to the tabloids.
She also revealed she had missed out on a book deal as well as a brand endorsement.
“She’s come across as a nasty person who cannot be trusted. Her brand is very badly tarnished and she’s totally unrelatable,” PR agent told Closer magazine recently.
“The truth is, it’s going to be very difficult for her to claw back because of how badly she’s come across.”
If Vardy was selling stories from within the inner sanctum of football to the media, it’s safe to assume that particular sideline has dried up too.
Don’t be surprised if she attempts a bout of reputation rehabilitation – showing the public a “very different side to her”, in TV speak, with a stint on a big-audience reality TV series.
Rooney, meanwhile, looks set for a lucrative pay day – if she wants it, that is.
She may have won on the steps of the High Court, but in the race to win the public’s affection she has left her rival in the dirt.
As another British PR guru, Mark Borkowski, told BBC News: “Rooney understands the game. Vardy doesn’t.”
Above all, Rooney has proved herself more than able to deal with whatever slings and arrows come her way.
Rumours of her husband’s infidelities, libel cases – no one can say she hasn’t handled them all with aplomb and kept her cool.
For someone seen largely for years as a serial holiday-taker and designer-handbag collector, she has proved her mettle.
What became most evident from the libel trial is that Rooney – who met her future husband at the age of 12 in the Liverpool suburb of Croxteth – values her inner circle, not to mention her privacy, at a premium.
It is, after all, a break in that trusted inner circle that kick-started this entire sorry chain of events.
The wallet-busting deals are there for the taking, no doubt from family-friendly giants such as supermarket chains or tour operators.
Eagle-eyed followers of the trial might have noticed a documentary film crew trailing the Rooneys as they arrived at court over the summer.
It has since been revealed that Rooney signed on to make a documentary on her take on the trial.
Yet given her form up until now, it looks more likely that she will continue to keep out of the public eye and focus on being a wife and mother in her low-key, if incredibly gilded, life.
Should any of the Rooneys’ celebrity peers currently engaged in social media spats be thinking of taking the litigious route in pursuit of satisfaction, the outcome of the War of the Wags will have given them plenty of think about.