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Coleen Rooney sent viral ‘Wagatha Christie’ post ‘as last resort’, court hears

Rebekah Vardy earlier told the court that a “shameful” article about Peter Andre is “one of my biggest regrets”.

Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London.
Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London.
Image: PA

Updated Fri 5:41 PM

COLEEN ROONEY 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.

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

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 Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.

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

Rooney told the court she was in a “vulnerable situation” following her husband Wayne’s arrest for drink-driving.

On 1 September 2017, 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.

On Friday, the High Court was told 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.”

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, 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.

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.

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 1 November, the day of the private post including Mr Rooney, an article was published describing the post.

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”.

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

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

“This was my last resort,” she continued.

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

featureimage Rebekah Vardy arriving at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London. Source: PA

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

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

‘Biggest regrets’

Concluding her evidence earlier, TV personality Vardy was asked about a 2004 interview in the defunct tabloid about a sexual encounter she said she had with singer Peter Andre.

Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne showed what appeared to be an A3 printout of the article to Vardy in the witness box, before reading the headline: “Peter’s hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes.”

However, Vardy previously said that she was “forced into a situation by my ex-husband” to do the interview.

Today, Vardy was asked questions by her barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, about the article.

Tomlinson asked: “Looking back now all these years, nearly 20 years since, can you remember whether the things presented in the article were things you actually said?”

Vardy replied: “There’s a lot of things in there that did not come out of my mouth that were misrepresented in the circumstances around that article I’m deeply sorry for.

“It’s shameful reading that, and one of my biggest regrets.”

embedded240666707 Mrs Vardy said the article about Peter Andre was ‘shameful’ Source: (Steven Paston/PA)

After the article was mentioned in court, Andre said he has taken “hit after hit” for 15 years in an Instagram post yesterday.

He said: “If a man had said this about her anatomy and made up something, you can use your imagination, saying something very unflattering, there would be absolute outrage.

“But because it has been said about me it’s been the butt of all jokes, I’ve taken it for 15 years.”

Vardy was also questioned over the access her agent Caroline Watt had to Rooney’s private Instagram account.

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The former model explained that Watt had access to her Instagram account password from 2017 when she appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

Vardy told the court she “didn’t give it a second thought” that Watt was able to see Rooney’s private Instagram account.

Asked if she was told by Watt that she was looking at Rooney’s account, Vardy said: “No she didn’t,” adding that it “was not even on my radar” when asked if she knew Watt was “monitoring” Rooney’s account.

Yesterday, Vardy appeared emotional on several occasions during her cross-examination – including when she was accused of throwing Watt “under the bus”.

Sherborne 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 Mrs Rooney wrote on the October 9 that she was right in suspecting you and your account… She was right, wasn’t she?”

“No, she was wrong,” Vardy replied.

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

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

The fake stories 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.”

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