The high-profile defamation battle between Rebekah Vardy and Colleen Rooney is finally set for hearing on Tuesday.
Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of leaking “false stories” about her personal life to the media in October 2019, when she said she had conducted a month-long “sting operation”.
Former England star Wayne Rooney’s wife was dubbed “Vagatha Christie” after she publicly claimed that her fellow footballer’s wife had shared three fake stories on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
Fake stories included Mrs. Rooney’s trip to Mexico for the “gender selection” process, her plans to return to TV, and a basement flood at her home.
Mrs Rooney wrote: “I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories, which clearly show that only one person has seen them.
“Its ………. Rebekah Verdi’s account.”
The Indo Daily: Playing Detective – Vagatha Christie and the long-running Rooney Vardy feud
Mrs Rooney’s post was widely shared and heavily parodied on social media at the time, including the Twitter account of then Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the allegations and is suing Mrs Rooney for defamation.
Under English defamation law, the burden of proof would now be on Mrs Rooney to prove that her post was “substantially true”.
After months of preliminary hearings the full trial is now expected to begin at London’s Royal Court of Justice – neither of which Mrs Vardy or Mrs Rooney has attended.
video of the day
The case first went to court in November 2020, with a judge finding that Mrs Rooney’s post “clearly identified” Mrs Vardy as “guilty of a serious and persistent breach of trust”.
The judge, now Lord Justice Warby, also said that “the element of mystery introduced by several points seems to me designed to raise the expectations of a dramatic revelation”.
Since then, there have been several hearings to prepare for the trial, with texts erupting between Mrs. Vardy and agent Carolyn Watts, in one of which Mrs. Vardy called someone a “bad bitch”.
In February, Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne told the High Court that evidence in the case had led to “a series of unfortunate events”, most notably when Ms Watt’s phone fell into the North Sea.
Mrs Vardy’s lawyers have said she has “nothing to hide”.
More recently, the High Court was told by Mr Sherborne that Mrs Vardy “appears to admit” that Ms Watt was the source of leaked stories about Colleen Rooney that were published in The Sun newspaper.
Hugh Tomlinson QC for Mrs Vardy told the court that her client’s new witness statement did not include “any changes to the pleaded case”.
Ms Watt was supposed to testify at trial, but was recently found “not fit” to participate, with her written evidence withdrawn.
Mr Tomlinson said: “We just don’t know what the exact situation is with regards to Ms. Watt … she is not communicating with anyone.”
The hearing before Mrs Justice Stan is expected to last for seven days.