Yesterday Colin Rooney looked across the courtroom at Rebecca Vardy when a £ 3 million defamation trial began with a series of humorous and sensational claims.
Mrs. Vardy said she was afraid of losing her unborn child after her rival Wag accused her of leaking stories.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Rooney’s lawyer confronted Mrs. Vardy with a newspaper interview in which she recounted intimate details of sexual contact with pop star Peter Andre and ridiculed his masculine nature.
The warring Wags have finally come face to face in the High Court in London in a lawsuit in which “dilution of dirt” threatens to tarnish their reputation.
Ms. Vardy, who was seven months pregnant at the time, said she suffered from “strange palpitations” and “pain contractions” after Mrs. Rooney took to Twitter to publicly accuse her of betraying her trust.
Giving evidence on the first day of the trial, she said she had been hospitalized three times in the last two months of her pregnancy and she had committed suicide and was very worried.
The 40-year-old Mrs. Vardy, who is married to Leicester and former England footballer Jamie Vardy, has filed a lawsuit after Mrs. Rooney accused her of leaking stories from her private Instagram account to The Sun.
She said she was called “grass” and subjected to heinous bullying and death threats by trolls who said her child should be “put in the bedroom.”
She compared Mrs. Rooney, the wife of former Manchester United captain and England striker Wayne Rooney, to a “school bully” and said she had in fact turned the wives and girlfriends of other footballers against her.
Mrs. Rooney, 36, looked at her rival, denying that she was responsible for the leaked stories, saying it was “unpleasant” to betray other people’s trust.
During the hearing, Mrs. Vardy was confronted with an article on the front page of the News of the World entitled “Peter hung like a little chipmunk,” in which she described Mr. Andre’s physique and shaved hair.
Ms. Vardy admitted that she did not ask permission to disclose such personal information, and did not warn the reality TV star that she had done so.
She was asked if she considered it “respectful” for her to discuss intimate details, and said she had been forced to give an interview by an abusive ex-partner, and claimed he had been paid for the 2004 article.
She told the High Court: “I was forced by my ex to make this story. This is something I deeply regret, and something that is largely a part of my past. It’s unpleasant to read. “
Attorney David Sherborn for Mrs. Rooney read excerpts from the article, which claimed that Mr. Andre managed to “in just five minutes of sex with Rebecca” had “the smallest trouser outfit I’ve ever seen.”
He asked if she respected other people’s privacy.
She replied, “Yes, yes.”
Mr Sherborn said: “The problem is that you think you decide for yourself whether someone’s private information should be leaked or not.”
Ms. Vardy insisted that she was forced to discuss her meeting with Mr. Andre, adding: “I understand why this is being used. It’s dirt for me, and Mrs. Rooney’s team also threatened to cover me with dirt. “
She denied discussing the leak of a separate story about another celebrity through allegations that the unnamed star used the computer program Photoshop to look slimmer in photos.
Ms. Vardy said she did not intend to reveal the story of the celebrity Photoshop, but wanted to write her own article about body positivity.
It is estimated that former friends of Mrs. Vardy and Mrs. Rooney spent up to £ 3 million to pay for lawyers to fight the case.
Both arrived in designer clothes for a legal showdown, although Mrs. Rooney was forced to combine her Mugler jacket for £ 1,565 and a diamond bracelet with a plastic medical boot after a broken foot during a fall in March.
Mrs. Vardy chose a navy dress worth £ 890 from British-Canadian designer Edeline Lee and scraped her dark hair into a restrained bundle.
She said she felt compelled to file a defamation lawsuit after Mrs. Rooney refused to drop her charges, and said the tweet in 2019 led to a frenzy on social media that made her fear for her family’s safety.
The mother of five said: “It felt like the whole world had succumbed to me. I must have been shocked. I remember getting out of the car, trembling and thinking I would be sick. “
“I started having very severe stomach pains when we got back to the hotel. It was a fight, and I panicked that the child was in danger … I was so afraid for our child.
Ms. Rooney was dubbed “Rich Christie” after she revealed that she put fake stories in her private Instagram account, trying to expose who gave about her stories.
In a dramatic series of posts, she said she blocked other subscribers until only one Instagram user could see her posts, adding: “This is … Rebecca Vardy’s account.”
Ms. Vardy said the publications caused heinous abuses on the Internet and death threats, and that fans were now chanting “Vardy, your bird is grass” when her husband was playing.
She said: “I experienced severe panic attacks and was petrified from being in public because I felt people were looking at me and judging me. The thought of going on the road or taking my children to school was enough to drive me over the edge at one point. ”
“In the early days it made me go to a very dark place and I even felt like a suicide.”
She said she immediately contacted Mrs. Rooney to deny her responsibility and ask her to withdraw the lawsuit.
But she described Mrs. Rooney as “cold and calculated” and said she had arranged for her close circle the wives of other footballers about her detective work and created a “crowd mentality” against her.
Ms. Vardy said: “I was not the source of the three articles that Colin accused me of leaking.”
“I believe Colin has published his claims to do me the most harm.”
“I will never forgive the way Colin has ruined my last weeks of pregnancy and the suffering she has caused to my children and my family, but I hope this statement will mean that the whole world will know that I have not betrayed Colin’s trust. ».
Ms Vardy denied allegations that she conspired with her agent Caroline Watt to highlight the stories in The Sun, and said she was “shocked and horrified” by allegations that Mrs. Watt used her Instagram login to gain access. to Mrs. Rooney’s private account.
The court heard WhatsApp reports between two women in which Mrs. Vardy allegedly called Mrs. Rooney a “nasty fool” and said she “would like” to highlight stories about her.
Mr. Sherborn, a mother of four, Mrs. Rooney, argued that Mrs. Vardy knew and effectively approved of her agent’s actions, and compared it to using a hitman to commit murder.
He said the two women then conspired to ensure that “highly relevant and incriminating evidence” was destroyed or lost in a “series of most incredible events”, including the alleged removal of photos and screenshots and the apparent loss of Mrs. Watt’s phone while on the boat. a trip to the North Sea.
He claimed that Mrs. Vardy now agreed that she had given information about other sports stars and celebrities, and asked why the High Court should dedicate seven days ago to decide whether her reputation had been damaged, adding: “Why are we here? »
Ms. Rooney is due to testify later this week.
The court also made a series of unusual allegations about the application to the world of Libra – wives and girlfriends – the stars of England. Ms Vardy said their lives were a “national obsession” and described how she lived in a “strange world of celebrity gossip” after her husband joined the national team.
Mrs. Vardy was known for cheering for the England national team at the Euros in 2016 together with Mrs. Rooney.
It was one of the first meetings of the two women, but Mrs. Rooney’s lawyers said they should not sit together. As the wife of the Captain of England, a seat was reserved for Mrs. Rooney and her entourage, and Mrs. Vardy and her friends had to sit further.
In her witness statement, Mrs. Vardy said she was sitting behind Mrs. Rooney because it was the nearest available place.
But Mrs Rooney’s lawyers said she had deliberately demanded a place to ensure she would appear in photos with the more famous woman, and said it was proof that she was “thirsting for fame”.
They said Mrs. Vardy and her friends refused to move, telling an FA official, “We can sit anywhere and fuck.”
Mrs. Vardy denied looking in the spotlight.
She allegedly helped put up a photo of the paparazzi, in which she and other Libra are at a restaurant at the 2018 World Cup in Russia – after being asked to keep in mind so as not to distract.
The court heard Mrs. Vardy send a message to her agent: “We may have to go to a restaurant from the hotel now … so there may be a good photo of us walking.”
Mrs. Vardy claimed that other scales turned to her after Mrs. Rooney accused her of leaking information. “There was a feeling that the school bully was pointing at me and all her friends were pointing at me,” she said.
“It was like the mentality of the crowd and that I was attacked and humiliated from all sides.”
According to her, some fraudsters have resorted to public attacks, accusing her of writing a column “Secret Wag” in The Sun.
In her statement to the court, Ms. Vardy said: “I think Colin and her PR advisers have made me a scapegoat for past“ leaks ”of stories that have been published about her and Wayne and the state of their marriage. I believe they did, in part, to try to change the story in the press that Colin was a rug after her husband was accused of drunk driving and numerous accusations of treason. ”
She said she felt sorry for Mrs. Rooney, “because it seemed to me that she was not happily married.”
It is said that Mrs. Rooney liked the advertisement caused by her search for “Wagatha Christie”.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mrs. Vardy, said she shared reports depicting her as the author of criminal articles by Agatha Christie or her fictional detective Miss Marple.
He said the goods celebrated her “bite” on Instagram.
But her “thorough investigation was flawed from the start.”
He said Mrs. Rooney’s post on social media identified Mrs. Vardy’s Instagram account, but did not take into account that other people had access to Vardy’s account.
He told the court: “Although Mrs. Rooney saw hostile abuse against Mrs. Vardy as a result of the report and was found to be false, Mrs. Rooney did nothing.”
“She continued to publish the post and privately reveled in the news she created.”
The case continues.