Anticipation hung in the air yesterday morning, as paparazzi patiently waited outside London’s Royal Courts of Justice to catch Rebekah Vardy walk into the last day of the so-called “Wagatha Christie” trial.
But it wasn’t exactly giddy anticipation. Hands on hips, heavy-duty cameras hung around necks, sighs stifled, the snappers who were dutifully capturing the WAG battle of the century looked more eager to get the whole thing over with. It was, after all, the seventh day of a tedious argument between Vardy and fellow WAG Coleen Rooney. And, as Rooney’s lawyer, David Sherborne, pointed out in his opening statement, they’ve gathered at High Court “day in, day out” since the trial began on 10th May.
A quick-ish recap for anyone who isn’t glued to gossip columns: Vardy is suing Rooney for libel, following the claim that the former was leaking stories about the latter to The Sun. Rooney came to this conclusion after a bit of social media sleuthing, posting fake gossip on Insta stories on her private account over a period of five months. She suspected Vardy was the culprit, so blocked everyone but her from seeing the fake stories. Lo and behold, the stories soon made it into The Sun’s showbiz pages. In October 2019, once Rooney was sure she’d caught her Judas red handed, she told the world on Twitter, concluding (quite legendarily) that the leak was “.….…..Rebekah Vardy’s account” – extended ellipses and all.
It was, to be honest, an amazing day to be online. We got delicious, juicy goss delivered with creative flair, investigative panache and suspenseful storytelling, direct from the source. The internet aptly lost its shit and christened Rooney “Wagatha Christie”. But despite the fact that Rooney’s investigation seemed pretty watertight (you know, for the receipts-led court of social media), Vardy denied the allegations, claimed her account had been hacked and later decided to take Rooney to court for defamation.
As the trial has unfolded over the past week or so, Vardy’s WhatsApp messages to her agent, Caroline Watt, have been read out in court. In the messages, she appears to pass on information for Watts to feed to the press, such as a female celeb who cheated on her husband with another footballer and Chelsea player Danny Drinkwater’s arrest for drink driving.
Even though there are messages that imply Vardy was open to leaking information (eg. “Would love to leak those stories x”), she and her lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, assert that it was Watts who “may well have from time to time tried to leak bits of information that she had discovered from the private information,” as Tomlinson put it. In any case, as many have pointed out throughout the trial’s duration, it’s absolutely baffling that Vardy herself wanted to take the Wagatha Christie row to court. A classic case of sue now, regret it later.
The public is still pretty excited about it all. And to be fair, those WhatsApp messages do make for good lunchtime reading, sure to get your own WhatsApp notifications pinging once dropped in the group chat. But back at the High Court, the mood was different. It was one of tedium, irritation and lethargy. When the lawyers for both Vardy and Rooney lugged massive boxes of folders containing legal documents and evidence onto the counsel table in preparation for the proceedings, you couldn’t help but wonder how many hours had been spent pouring over messages calling various WAGs bitches, all signed with kisses and heart emojis. And for what? Clearing Vardy’s name in the eyes of the public? That ship sailed and got lost in the Bermuda triangle a long time ago.
Sure, the live-tweeted highlights of the trial seemed juicy. And some of the quotes have been entertaining, particularly Rebekah Vardy saying “If I’m honest…” while being cross examined by Sherborne, to which he retorted, “I would hope you’re honest because you’re sitting in a witness box.” Yet in the flesh, surrounded by the mahogany and solemnity of the High Court, it all seemed mind-numbingly petty. In fact, the trial was so boring that both Coleen and Wayne Rooney didn’t even turn up for its last day (busy taking their kids on a trip, apparently). As both lawyers delivered their closing statements with painstaking detail – like, it was literally painful to listen to – it almost felt as though we were watching the most boring Real Housewives reunion episode of all time. This is the kind of drama that should be moderated by Judge Andy Cohen or that one friend who never takes sides, not lawyers wearing fancy wigs.
By the end of the day, the trial ended and Ms Justice Steyn informed the court that she will reserve her judgement. That means many more months may pass before we find out whodunnit. Great. If our tolerance for tedium hasn’t already been tested throughout the duration of this saga, it sure as hell will be by the time we get a result.
The gossip flew too close to the sun, burned out and revealed itself to be ultimately quite boring. Scrap among yourselves, people. The court of law doesn’t care.