Rebekah Vardy is suing Coleen Rooney as a “last resort…to vindicate her reputation”, her lawyer has told a hearing at the High Court.
Mrs Rooney, 34, accused Mrs Vardy in October last year of leaking stories about her private life to the media – with Mrs Rooney swiftly dubbed “Wagatha Christie” on social media for her apparent sleuthing work.
The wife of Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy has always denied any involvement and Hugh Tomlinson QC has insisted the leaks did not come from her.
He said the events of October 2019 have been “trivialised” in the media and dubbed “Wag Wars”, when what happened “continues to have an adverse impact” on Mrs Vardy.
Mr Tomlinson told Mr Justice Warby: “The fact that both women are married to professional footballers has led to this action being trivialised in some media coverage as ‘Wag wars’ but the impact on Mrs Vardy was not trivial.”
He added: “She has been subjected to an undue and unjustified attack that has had, and continues to have, an impact on her.”
Hugh Tomlinson QC said Mrs Rooney’s posts were an “untrue and unjustified defamatory attack” which was “published and republished to millions of people”.
He said Mrs Rooney’s accusation “leaves the reasonable reader in no doubt that the defendant is accusing the claimant of consistently and repeatedly betraying her trust over several years”.
He added: “In fact, she did nothing wrong. Whatever leaks there were did not come from her.”
Mr Tomlinson said Mrs Rooney’s post featured “a build-up to the ‘big reveal’ of the identity of the person responsible”, adding: “The description of the defendant’s detective work makes it clear that the claimant is being said to be responsible for the leaking of the three specific stories mentioned.”
Mrs Rooney claimed Mrs Vardy leaked three “false stories” she posted on Instagram about “gender selection in Mexico”, Mrs Rooney returning to TV, and the basement in her new house flooding.
Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne, who also represented the Duchess of Sussex in her privacy case, said “we can defend it as true” that it was Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account that was responsible for leaking posts.
He said the people with authorised access to Mrs Vardy’s account were her agent, husband and his social media manager.
Mr Sherborne said people reading Mrs Rooney’s posts which consistently used the word “account” would have known the posts could have been from “someone using her account”.
He added that it’s “common knowledge” that agents have access to celebrities’ Instagram accounts.
Mr Justice Warby must determine the “natural and ordinary” meaning of Mrs Rooney’s posts on Instagram and Twitter, which accused Mrs Vardy of leaking stories about her before deciding whether the case should go to trial.
Ms Vardy did not attend the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the hearing but was seen arriving for Dancing On Ice rehearsals in Nottingham.