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It’s not exactly Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, but we’re loving how the feud between the ridiculously wealthy Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney – or Wagatha Christie – is shaping up in the High Court in London. While the only financial winners are likely to be Coleen and Rebekah’s teams of megabucks-per-hour lawyers, the case is chiefly about reputation. Rooney has alleged that Vardy leaked private information about her to The Sun – and said so publicly – and Vardy denies the allegation. 

But what exactly is going on? Here’s our handy guide.

What is a WAG?

Not a phrase that we like as it has slightly snooty, derogatory undertones but, as it’s cropping up frequently in the mainstream press, we’d better explain. First coined by the British tabloids during the FIFA World Cup in 2006, the acronym stands for the players’ “wives and girlfriends” because, obviously, these women (who at the time include the highly successful Spice Girl and fashion designer Victoria Beckham and Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole) are only worth talking about in relation to their husbands and boyfriends. 

Who is Coleen Rooney?

Coleen is the childhood sweetheart and wife of Wayne Rooney, England’s record goalscorer. She and Wayne first met when she was 12 and they started dating at 16, well before Wayne’s riches from football started rolling in, and she stood by him in the face of lurid headlines at the start of his career. Coleen has presented a TV series on ITV called Coleen’s Real Women and has released a bestselling fitness DVD.

Who is Rebekah Vardy?

Model Rebekah is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, whose lightning pace and prolific goalscoring record helped propel Leicester to an unlikely Premier League title in 2016. Occasionally popping up on Loose Women, Rebekah was previously married to another footballer, has co-written a children’s book and appeared on Dancing on Ice in 2021.

How did it start?

Coleen had suspected that somebody had been leaking stories about her to The Sun and set about unmasking the mole. Her probe took five months, following which she revealed the results of her investigation with great dramatic flourish on her social media accounts. Here is what she wrote (the paragraph breaks are ours for ease of reading): 

“For a few years now someone who I trusted to follow me on my personal Instagram account has been consistently informing The SUN newspaper of my private posts and stories.There has been so much information given to them about me, my friends and my family – all without my permission or knowledge.

“After a long time of trying to figure out who it could be, for various reasons, I had a suspicion.To try and prove this, I came up with an idea. I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account. (Those on my private account must have been wondering why I haven’t had stories on there for a while.)

“Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper. And you know what, they did! The story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV and then the latest story about the basement flooding in my new house.It’s been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all, especially when the stories have been leaked, however I had to. Now I know for certain which account / individual it’s come from.I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account”

How did Rebekah respond?

On social media, obvs. (We shall leave the question of whatever happened to discretion for another day). Rebekah fired back with a statement, directed at Coleen but issued publicly. Here goes (again, our paragraph breaks):

“I never speak to anyone about you as various journalists who have asked me to over the years can vouch for. If you thought this was happening you could have told me and I could have changed passwords to see if it stopped. 

“Over the years various people have had access to my insta and just this week I found out I was following people I didn’t know and have never followed myself. I’m not being funny but I don’t need the money, what would I gain from selling stories on you? 

“I liked you a lot a Coleen and I’m so upset that you have chosen to do this, especially when I’m heavily pregnant. I’m disgusted that I’m even having to deny this. You should have called me the first time this happened.”

Sooooo, if Rebekah was the only person viewing Coleen’s Insta account, and the false stories were leaked, isn’t she bang to rights?

Hold your horses, cowboy. It appears that computers and phones belonging to Rebekah and her trusted agent and friend Caroline Watt have fallen victim to a series of catastrophic technical failures which make proving (or disproving) Coleen’s allegations tricky. Watt’s phone fell into the North Sea during a boat trip while Rebekah’s WhatsApp conversations were mysteriously lost at the time that her husband’s WhatsApp account was hacked.

At about the same time, Rebekah’s laptop broke down. Well, they say that back luck happens in threes.

Does this mean that it’s all over for Coleen?

We’ve already told you, hold your horses. Some text messages between Rebekah and Watt have managed to see the light of day. In 2019, when discussing a minor car crash that had befallen the Rooney family, Rebekah commented, “she’s a nasty bitch” before adding “Would love to leak those stories.” Of course, saying that you’d love to do something isn’t proof of actually doing it.

On another occasions, a text from Watt to Rebekah reads, “I would have tried to have done a story on Coleen but the evidence has been deleted”. Then, in February 2019, it appears that Watt and Rebekah may have been discussing how to explain the leaks, with Watt telling Rebekah, “If she does try to say it or that it was me and it’s undeniably obvious what we’ll do is say I left the company I was working for in jan and one of the girls in the office has my old laptop that had your passwords saved on it so it will have been them and now you will have to change everything.”

In October 2019, after Coleen – aka Wagatha Christie – had revealed the result of her investigations, Rebekah texted Watt “That’s war”. In response, Watt advises, “You will have to say that you don’t speak to anyone about her but that recently your insta has even been following people you don’t follow. And she should [have] come to you first and asked you about it. So you could have changed your password.

“Just say you have allowed a company to access it for sponsored posts and a former social media agency that you worked with too”.

It has also been alleged by Coleen’s team that Rebekah had a very close relationship with The Sun’s showbiz reporter Andy Halls, and a judge has ordered that Mr Halls’ messages can be searched for evidence. 

Couldn’t this be settled out of court?

Frankly, yes. Neither party is short of cash but it’s been reported that legal bills – even before going to court – were already in excess of £3 million. The loser will likely be ordered to settle their opponent’s bills as well as their own, while the winner (and whoever wins, they don’t really need the money) fills her lungs with the sweet smell of victory and will doubtless milk their triumph until we’re all cold in our graves. Can’t wait.

Who should wIn?

Careful now! Until the case is over, we’re only allowed to report the facts. But we do like the look of Coleen.

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