Rebekah Vardy has issued legal proceedings against Coleen Rooney for libel.
The dispute centres on what has become known as the ‘Wagatha Christie’ scandal, the two women’s highly public social media fall-out.
In October 2019, Rooney took to Twitter to accuse Vardy of leaking personal information about her to the Sun newspaper, with stories that allegedly could only have been taken from Rooney’s private Instagram account.
Rooney claims to have set a trap by gradually reducing the number of followers on her private Instagram account, until on Vardy’s account remained. Rooney then posted a false story to the private account that her basement had been flooded, and the story was run in the Sun. Rooney went public with the allegation that Vardy was responsible for leaking information to the press.
Vardy has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. She claimed at the time that other individuals may have had access to her Instragram account, and announced a forensic audit of her social media profiles.
She has also spoken of how the stress of the feud has caused her to have severe anxiety attacks and to be hospitalised due to the stress caused by online abuse, which had been exacerbated by Rooney’s accusations.
The Sun has never commented on the origins of its stories on Rooney.
Attempts to mediate the dispute have failed.
Vardy is now suing Rooney for defamation for allegedly posting false statements that were damaging to her reputation. Court listings show that Vardy filed a claim for “defamation – libel and slander” to the High Court on 12 June.
No documents have been filed. The case is likely to be heard in 2021.
Both women are married to Premiership footballers and enjoy high profile careers and profiles in their own rights. The case is set to give unprecedented insight into the women’s relationships with the British tabloid media.
The Sun reports that the combined legal fees are set to cost up to £1m.