“Wagatha Christie”: The dispute began in October 2019. (AFP Photos)
A UK judge on Friday gave judgement in one of the most high-profile cases involving wives of two of football’s biggest names. The “Wagatha Christie” case had gripped the British public for weeks.
Here are five points on the legal dispute:
- The legal case was about Coleen Rooney, the wife of Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Jamie Vardy, a striker for Premier League club Leicester City. The dispute stems back to October 2019 when Mrs Rooney suspected someone of watching her private Instagram stories and leaking personal details about her to the British press.
- She embarked on some online detective work to find out who was responsible. Making use of Instagram’s features, Mrs Rooney started posting false stories and kept limiting content to specific people to see it the information made it to the press. Eventually, when just one follower remained and the stories continued to leak. She said the account was that of Mrs Vardy.
- Mrs Rooney revealed the results of her investigation on Twitter, after which Mrs Vardy denied accusations and claimed multiple people had access to her Instagram account. In 2020, she filed a case of defamation against Mrs Rooney. People, meanwhile, linked Mrs Rooney’s detective work with Agatha Christie and the term “WAGatha” was born. WAG, in the football world, stands for wives and girlfriends of players.
- The vitriolic and salacious trial was held in the case for two weeks in May, which laid bare tabloid double-dealing and the lives of the rich and famous. Mrs Vardy vehemently denied the claims, arguing that the accusations had caused her “public abuse on a massive scale”. The women’s lawyers had also represented Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and Chelsea Football Club’s former owner Roman Abramovich.
- But, in her ruling on Friday, UK High Court judge Karen Steyn found that allegations made by Mrs Rooney against Mrs Vardy were “substantially true” and that Mrs Vardy was complicit in the release of damaging stories to the press by her agent. Legal costs reportedly ran to around 3 million pounds ($3.6 million), most of which will now fall to Mrs Vardy. Mrs Rooney said in a statement that she was “pleased” by the outcome. Mrs Vardy has, however, not made any comment.
Topics mentioned in this article