Rooney triumphs in UK’s ‘WAGatha Christie’ soccer wives’ libel battle

Coleen Rooney, the wife of former England football captain Wayne, was right in accusing Rebekah Vardy, the wife of one of his ex-teammates, had leaked stories about her to the media, London’s High Court ruled Friday.

Vardy had sued Rooney for defamation on charges that she had leaked details of her private life to the press. It came after Rooney staged an extensive sting operation to find out who was passing stories about her private life to the Sun tabloid.

The judge, Judge Karen Steyn, said in her ruling that Rooney had successfully proved her allegation to be “substantially true”.

She said the court had concluded that Vardy was aware of details being leaked to the Sun by her agent Caroline Watt.

The legal feud has been dubbed the “WAGatha Christie” case, a reference to the “WAG” name given to the glamorous group of soccer player wives and girlfriends, and to the famous author of detective novels, in honor of Rooney’s amateur detective work.

Their lawsuit in court has drawn equal fascination and media attention to their husbands’ soccer games.

Wayne Rooney holds the record for most international goals for his country, while Jamie, husband of Rebekah Vardy, has been one of the top scorers in the English Premier League in recent years, also playing and scoring for the national team.

Both women are well-known figures in their own right – Coleen Rooney, 36, has 1.2 million followers on Twitter and nearly 925,000 on Instagram – and the libel case has the lid on the glittering and less flattering aspects of the lives of the rich and famous football stars and their families.

The intrigue began nearly three years ago when Rooney became suspicious of stories appearing in the Sun tabloid containing information she posted on her personal Instagram account. She became a detective to try to find out who was to blame.

She said she blocked everyone except one person from accessing her account, then posted a series of fake stories to see if they had been leaked, which she said she did.

She wrote on her social media accounts that only one person had seen the fake stories, closing with the dramatic revelation: “It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

“I haven’t leaked anything,” Vardy told the High Court in London during hearings in May.

Vardy, who says that the result of Rooney’s public outing was that she and her family were abused and threatened, has accepted that her agent Caroline Watt may be responsible for the leaks, but denies having ordered her to do so.

The court was shown message exchanges she had with Watt, including some disparaging comments about Rooney, while Rooney’s attorney says Vardy had deleted other media files and WhatsApp messages.

Meanwhile, Watt’s phone ended up at the bottom of the North Sea after she accidentally dropped it over the edge of a boat.

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