Coleen Rooney: I tried to resolve libel battle with Rebekah Vardy three times ‘in vain’

We’ve just received Coleen Rooney’s witness statement in full – as she prepares to continue giving evidence in the High Court this afternoon.

Within it, Rooney told the court she had tried to resolve her libel battle with Rebekah Vardy on three occasions “in vain”. 

She said: “I have sought to resolve this matter amicably on various occasions because I was of the view that the time, money, resources and efforts involved could be better spent elsewhere, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, the efforts I made in May 2020, prior to proceedings being issued, in October 2020, after I had filed my defence, and in January 2021, during a stay in the proceedings, were all in vain.

“I have no doubt that this litigation, whatever the outcome, will benefit neither Becky nor myself.”

Court to take lunch break now

The court will now take a one-hour lunch break.

We are told that when we return we will be looking at one of Coleen Rooney’s fake story posts that has been dubbed the ‘TV decisions post’.

This is a post in which she teased that she was in talks with producers of Strictly Come Dancing.

So glitterballs and TV chat when we’re back at 1.55pm!

Coleen Rooney: ‘I didn’t know how my marriage was going to work out’

Coleen Rooney is being asked about a social media post, referred to as “the pyjama post” which she shared at the end of 2017. It was an image of her and three of her children (she was pregnant with her fourth child at the time) wearing matching polka dot pyjamas in the family bed.

She had shared the post on both her private and personal account, but says there were lots of details about her life at the time which she didn’t want to share with the press.

Rooney says that is because: “I didn’t know how my marriage was going to work out” at the time. She goes on to say she: “Me and Wayne was trying to figure out our relationship, and see how things were going”.

Rooney says she had been spending lots of time at her parents’ house, but had decided to go back to her and Wayne’s family home and that was at the time when the ‘pyjama photo’ was taken. At the time, many speculated that it was Wayne who had taken the photo.

Rooney says her return to the family home was one of the examples of private information leaked to The Sun.

She is also asked about posts she made about Soho House and an alleged car crash, which were also leaked to the press.

Elaborating on the ‘car crash post’ Rooney says she had been very homesick at the time, having just moved to America away from her family and friends, and had shared an image of damage to her car. She says she wasn’t used to driving on the wrong side of the road, but that it hadn’t been a crash, a lorry had just scraped the side of the car as she drove.

She says when she was contacted by a journalist asking her about it, she knew immediately it had been leaked from her post. adding: “I was fuming”.

‘I wouldn’t let anyone get abused on my behalf’: Rooney says she did not intend to trigger attacks

Coleen Rooney is now being directed to look at the post she put on social media on 9 October 2019, accusing Rebekah Vardy of leaking her private information.

Rooney is being asked about the way she dealt with her suspicions that Vardy was leaking information, and Rooney says she was led by the actions of Vardy and her lawyers.

Rooney says: “A lot of the impact was off Rebekah’s legal team”.

On the day she shared the post, she says she was given a letter by Vardy’s legal team.

She also says she had seen that Vardy was suffering “a high level of abuse” after the post was made, but that she “would not let anyone get abused on my behalf” and that if that happened “it was not intended”.

Vardy’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, says it was in Rooney’s power to do something about the abuse Vardy was suffering, but that she chose not to. Rooney says it was because she was “under legal instruction”.

Talk now turns to other people controlling celebrity accounts.

We are told that Rooney’s brother manages her social media accounts. Vardy’s lawyer suggests that if her brother wanted to he could post things on her account without her knowledge, and Rooney replies: “He could, but he doesn’t”.

Mr Tomlinson says it’s possible that the person in charge of Vardy’s account could do the same, and she agrees.

Vardy’s lawyer says Vardy believed she too had a “trusted person” in charge of her Instagram account, but goes on: “It’s not unknown for people you trust to turn out to be untrustworthy is it?”

Rooney agrees: “No, it’s sad”.

The post at the heart of the case

‘This was the last resort’: Coleen Rooney explains allegation against Rebekah Vardy

Coleen Rooney is being questioned by Rebekah Vardy’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson QC.

He asks “What were you trying to achieve by putting that post up?”

Rooney answers: “I wasn’t trying to achieve anything, I wanted it to stop [the leaking of private information] and this was the last resort”.

She says: “I was surprised myself on how much interest it caused”.

She agrees she knew it was going to get picked up by the media, and as she says so the word “f***” slips out, for which she apologies to the court.

Describing her vast social media following, she agrees she has lots of followers, but to the suggestion from Mr Tomlinson that they are a loyal following, she says “I’m not so sure about loyal”.

She says she doesn’t get paid for her social media posts.

Mr Tomlinson suggests that Rooney knew that putting up the post would lead to Vardy being abused, but responds: “No, not in any way… That’s not in my nature”. 

She is asked what she did “to mitigate the abuse Mrs Vardy was suffering” after the accusation, and she agrees she did nothing. However, she says at that point she was under the instruction of her legal team and made no more comments about it.

She says: “I’ve been silent… I don’t want to be here… it’s Mrs Vardy who has brought me here”.

Coleen Rooney steps into the witness box

Now it is Coleen Rooney’s turn to give evidence.

She is sworn in, the judge checks she has some water, and she begins giving evidence.

And we’re back

Court is now back in session, and before we get properly started, Vardy’s lawyer is making sure that information that is shared with regards to “Mr X” – discussed yesterday in court – is properly redacted (i.e. his name is not given out in error!).

Five-minute break as Vardy concludes evidence

Now that Rebekah Vardy has finished giving evidence, court is taking a five-minute break.

We’ll be back very soon, when we should be hearing from Coleen Rooney.

‘I feel like I’ve been bullied and manipulated’: Vardy issues emphatic denials

Rebekah Vardy’s lawyer is now summing up his case. He asks Vardy: “Did you personally leak any information to The Sun?

Vardy says no.

Mr Tomlinson QC asks: “Did you speak to or message any Sun journalists about those posts?”

Vardy says “No, I didn’t.”

He asks: “Did you ever ask Caroline Watt if she has leaked any of this information?”

Vardy says: “Yes, I did, pretty much all the way through these proceedings.”

The lawyer asks what Ms Watt replied, and Vardy says: “She said no”.

Vardy says she does not know one way or another if Ms Watt shared any information. She denies “throwing Ms Watt under a bus”, an accusation that been levelled at Vardy over the last few days.

Vardy also denies ever deleting messages and photos, and more specifically deleting any screenshots when she downloaded information from WhatsApp onto her laptop in October 2015.

Vardy’s lawyer asks how she has found giving evidence over the last three days, and Vardy says: “Exhausting, intimidating, I feel like I’ve been bullied and manipulated”.

Mr Tomlinson asks why she brought the case to court, and Vardy sobs: “I didn’t do anything wrong – I wanted to clear my name, and not just for me, for my family and my children.”

And with that Vardy’s evidence is over.