Two years ago Coleen Rooney’s lawyers urged Rebekah Vardy to seek a high-profile solution to her defamation claim, warning that the “full public gaze” of legal proceedings would not be a pleasant experience.
Instead, Vardy opted to take the case to court and – after three days on the witness stand cross-examined on very personal matters – told the High Court she felt “intimidated” and “ manipulated” by the process.
It’s not just the two footballers’ wives who have had their personal lives turned upside down in the wake of the defamation case – there have also been a litany of others unwittingly drawn into the proceedings.
In 2004, 22-year-old Vardy sold a story about kissing and telling a one-night stand with André to the now defunct tabloid News of the World. Two decades later, Rooney’s lawyer read the story in court as evidence that Vardy didn’t respect people’s privacy. In the process, Andre faced speculation about the size of his “chipolata” appendage reaching a new audience. Andre said he had put up with being the “butt of every joke” for more than 15 years and asked if people would laugh if the comments were about a woman.
When the Premier League footballer was arrested for drunk driving after crashing his Range Rover in 2019, it made headlines. But the story had faded from memory – until court revelations revealed that Vardy had tried to pass details of the car crash to a Sun reporter. Vardy said she wanted to come out with the story because she hates drunk drivers – but the court heard how Vardy sent the information to her agent and added: ‘I want to pay for this x “.
Riyad Mahrez and the Leicester City squad 2017/18
The court heard allegations that Vardy discussed the Leicester City side’s dislike of ‘on strike’ player Mahrez with his agent. Rooney’s lawyers have suggested that Vardy gleaned information about the state of the dressing room from her husband, Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, and then leaked it to the press. Vardy insisted she was just chatting lazily about how the players might feel and had “never discussed [with her husband] if the guys were fuming”.
The journalists mentioned by Vardy and his agent
The proceedings have been uncomfortable for some journalists who were not even implicated in the stories that sparked the libel case – but found themselves cited in court nonetheless. At one point the high court heard Vardy discuss with his agent whether to leak a story to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett before concluding: ‘I just don’t want this to come back to me’. In another, Vardy’s agent praised Sun reporter Amy Brookbanks for “always writing great stories, doing everything I ask of her and changing stories she didn’t have.” not even written”.
Vardy’s former agent and close friend is the ubiquitous but never seen character in the Wagatha Christie trial. It was Watt’s phone that was dumped over the side of a boat in the North Sea shortly after a legal request was made to search it – and it was Watt who Vardy claimed was unilaterally leaking stories from Rooney’s Instagram page at The Sun. After being allegedly ‘thrown under a bus’ at the last minute by Vardy – and amid reports that she urged Vardy to drop legal charges before trial – Vardy said Watt was too ill to testify in the affair.