WAGs to riches: Rebekah Vardy wins first round of High Court battle against Coleen Rooney
Rebekah Vardy has won the first round in her ‘Wagatha Christie’ High Court battle against fellow footballer’s wife Coleen Rooney, and will receive an initial £23,000 in costs from Rooney.
London’s High Court ruled that Rooney’s social media post accusing fellow ‘wife and girlfriend’ (WAG) Vardy of leaking false stories about her to the media “clearly identified” her as “being guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust she alleges”.
In social media posts that quickly went viral, Rooney last October pointed the finger at Vardy following a sting operation into who was leaking stories about her to the press.
The wife of former England football star Wayne Rooney claimed Vardy shared fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun.
The now-famous Twitter posts concluded: “It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account”.
Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, has denied the accusations and is suing Rooney for libel.
In the first round of the High Court trial, Justice Warby today ruled that the “natural and ordinary” meaning of Rooney’s post was that was that Vardy had “regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms Rooney’s personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney’s private posts and stories”.
Announcing his decision, the judge said that the meaning he had determined was “substantially the same as the claimant’s meaning”.
Warby added that Rooney’s message was “a considered post, using wording composed with some care”.
“It would be clear to the ordinary reader from the outset that it was meant seriously, and intended to convey a message of some importance,” he said.
Justice Warby ordered Rooney to pay Vardy just under £23,000 in costs for yesterday’s hearing.
Matthew Dando, partner at London law firm Wiggin LLP, told City A.M. the ruling was “a disastrous result for Coleen Rooney”.
“Whilst it is Rebekah Vardy suing for libel, it is Coleen who has to prove the truth of what she said in order to defend the claim,” he said.
“This really raises the stakes and makes the task ahead for Coleen much greater… Suing for libel is always high risk, as Johnny Depp recently discovered. If this case fights all the way to trial it will be yet another example of a celebrity reputation won or lost in the courtroom.”
Vardy’s case against Rooney marks the second high-profile libel case at the High Court this year, after Depp filed proceedings against The Sun’s publisher NGN after the newspaper referred to him as a “wifebeater”.
In a landmark ruling, Depp lost his case against NGN and was found guilty of 12 counts of assault against ex-wife Amber Heard, and was later booted from the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Vardy’s lawyers yesterday argued the meaning of Rooney’s posts was that she had “consistently and repeatedly betrayed the defendant’s trust over several years by leaking the defendant’s private and personal Instagram posts and stories for publication in The Sun”.
The trial continues.