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Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney The Defamation Trail Explained

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The wives of two British soccer superstars are at the center of a libel case in London this month. In 2019, Coleen Rooney, wife of soccer star Wayne Rooney, accused Rebekah Vardy, wife of fellow soccer star Jamie Vardy, of leaking stories about her to the tabloids. Vardy denies the accusation and is currently suing Rooney for defamation.

As the BBC wrote, “Forget The crown. The only British drama you need right now is the real-life feud between two Wags – wives and girlfriends of football stars – which is currently playing out in the UK High Court. “

Here’s everything you need to know about the case.

What is a “WAG”?

Ashley Cole’s girlfriend Cheryl Tweedy and David Beckham’s wife Victoria Beckham at the 2006 World Cup.

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Wag is the oft-used but sexist acronym for ‘wives and girlfriends’, referring to the wives and girlfriends of British football stars. As the BBC explains, “on the fringes of a professional soccer field, these women might as well be royalty.”

The OG of this group was Victoria Beckham. As journalist Elizabeth Paton explained to New York Times“The phrase made headlines in 2006 at the FIFA World Cup in Germany, where a group of British WAGs – all frosted hair extensions, vaguely orange limbs and barely there outfits – staged a sideshow of champagne-running and partying exploits in historic Baden-Baden. Their leader was Victoria Beckham (or Posh Spice, as she was still known), with a loyal clique of lieutenants made up of pop stars , beauty therapists, fitness instructors and a fresh-faced 20-year-old named Coleen McLoughlin, star player Wayne Rooney’s teenage sweetheart.”

Who are Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy?

coleen rooney and rebekah vardy
Coleen Rooney (in red) and Rebekah Vardy (in England shirt) sit next to each other during the Euro 2016 competition.

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Coleen Rooney is more established, the wife of Wayne Rooney, a former Manchester United striker, and Rebekah Vardy is more recent on the scene, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy. Wayne and Jamie played together for the England men’s national team.

wayne rooney and jamie vardy from england
Wayne Rooney (L) and Jamie Vardy (R) on Team England, June 2016.

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What does “Wagatha Christie” mean?

In October 2019, Coleen Rooney took to her social media to share that someone had leaked stories about her and her family to the press. She explained that she blocked everyone from seeing her private stories on Instagram, except for one person, and posted a series of fake stories, to see if they would end up in the Sun. They did, and Rooney felt justified in sharing who leaked, writing, “This is…Rebekah Vardy’s account,” an instantly iconic line.

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His detective skills earned him the nickname “Wagatha Christie”, a portmanteau of “WAG” and the famous British crime novelist Agatha Christie. It was coined by Phoebe Roberts:

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“It was this amazing story with the ending dot dot dot,” Roberts told the BBC. “There was a lot of drama in it. So, I was just like, this is a mystery novel or something, and that’s where I found Wagatha Christie.

“It’s probably my only good joke I’ve ever done, so I’m glad I can share it around me,” she added with a laugh.

What is a defamation lawsuit?

Vardy denied Rooney’s claims, writing on his own social media, “I’m not funny but I don’t need the money, what would I get selling stories about you.”

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In June 2020, Vardy filed a civil defamation lawsuit, claiming she was not personally the source of the leak. “Mrs Vardy doesn’t actually know what happened, she doesn’t know how this information got to the press, all she knows is what she did and she knows it didn’t happen. wasn’t her,” her attorney said, according to the Independent.

What happens in court?

coleen rooney and rebekah vardy libel trial day 3
Rebekah Vardy arriving in court, May 12, 2022.

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The civil trial began on May 10 and is expected to last seven days. “I didn’t divulge anything,” Vardy told the High Court in London on the first day of the trial, per Reuters. “I did not give any information to a newspaper.”

It’s possible that Vardy’s agent, Caroline Watt, was responsible for the leaks. According to BBCwatt” lost her phone in the North Sea after being hit by a wave before Ms Rooney’s team could see WhatsApp messages that could potentially help her case.” Watt denied being the source.

Rooney’s lawyer said of Watt’s possible involvement in the leaks: “Just because you’re not the person getting your hands dirty doesn’t mean you’re not also responsible.”

We will update this as the trial continues.



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