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Rebekah Vardy ‘benefited financially from leaking Coleen Rooney stories’

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Rebekah Vardy benefited financially after leaking stories about Coleen Rooney to The Sun by receiving a split of commission and revenue, the High Court has heard.

Mrs Rooney, 35, accused Mrs Vardy, 39, of leaking “false stories” about her private life in October 2019.

It followed a months-long “sting operation” which saw her dubbed “Wagatha Christie”.

Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy
Image: Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy

The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney claimed her fellow footballer’s wife shared fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with the newspaper.

She claimed the stories were about her desire to revive her TV career, the basement flooding in her new house and her travelling to Mexico to “see what this gender selection is all about”.

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for libel.

At a hearing on Friday, lawyers for Mrs Vardy asked the court to throw out parts of Mrs Rooney’s defence, arguing it would save time and costs.

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This included claims about Mrs Vardy’s close relationship with The Sun and benefits she allegedly received.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mrs Vardy, denied she wanted them thrown out because they would be embarrassing for her.

He argued the central issue was whether Mrs Vardy was leaking posts from Mrs Rooney’s Instagram and the other issues would not be necessary.

Most of the claims made by Mrs Rooney’s lawyers were in dispute and denied, he added.

He said: “Even if it were established that the claimant has ‘an exceptionally close relationship’ with The Sun, that it gave her positive coverage, that she has a history of self-promotion or is the ‘Secret Wag’, does not mean that it is more likely than not that the claimant had regularly informed The Sun about the defendant’s private posts.”

Mrs Rooney opposed the move.

Coleen Rooney made the allegations in October 2019. Pic: AP
Image: Coleen Rooney made the allegations in October 2019. Pic: AP

Her lawyer, David Sherborne, argued the “exceptionally close relationship” Mrs Vardy is said to have had with The Sun is a key part of the case.

He claimed Mrs Vardy had a “habitual practice” of providing private information to the press to promote her profile.

Mr Sherborne said: “The timing of positive coverage of the claimant in The Sun was strikingly close to the publication of other articles… that were leaked from the defendant’s private Instagram.

“This supports the inference that the claimant was benefiting from the leak of private information about the defendant to the newspaper.”

He said Mrs Vardy used her close relationship with The Sun or its journalists “for the purposes of promoting or financially exploiting her public profile”.

The barrister claimed she would receive a split of commission and revenue for stories given to The Sun through the Front Row Partnership, a PR agency where Mrs Vardy was a client.

The court heard mediation took place between the two women, but was unsuccessful.

Mrs Vardy has also applied for summary judgment – a legal step which would see that part of the case resolved without a trial – in relation to Mrs Rooney’s claim she leaked a story about her returning to TV presenting.

The hearing continues.