Rebekah Vardy was not talking about Coleen Rooney when she called someone
a “nasty b****” in a text to her agent, her lawyer has said.
Vardy, 39, is suing Rooney, 35, for libel after she publicly accused her of leaking stories about her private life to The Sun.
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney carried out a months-long “sting operation” in which she posted fake stories on her personal Instagram page in a bid to catch out the culprit – earning the nickname “Wagatha Christie”.
She eventually pointed the finger at Vardy, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie, who denies the allegations.
At the beginning of a preliminary hearing yesterday, the High Court heard that WhatsApp messages between Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt had been disclosed to Rooney’s legal team.
Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne claimed that “abusive” messages were sent about her – including one in which Mrs Vardy referred to someone as a “nasty b****”.
But Vardy’s barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, disputed the accusation today, saying: “This is not a passage about Mrs Rooney, it is a passage about someone else.”
Mr Tomlinson previously said the messages that supposedly reveal that Vardy and Ms Watt are responsible for the leaking were “selective” and left out parts of the exchanges which showed the opposite.
The barrister quoted messages from Vardy to Ms Watt in which she said she was “offended” that Rooney thought she was disclosing her personal information.
He added: “If one reads these messages in full, what one sees is that Mrs Vardy expresses shock at being accused and she is here communicating with the person that Mr Sherborne says is her co-conspirator.
“These are obviously candid personal messages, and if she was really concerned – ‘Oh, this is terrible, we have been found out’ – then it would have been completely different.”
Rooney is bringing a claim against Ms Watt for misuse of private information and is asking for it to be joined to the libel case.
Rooney’s team asked for further information from the WhatsApp messages between Vardy and Ms Watt – but Ms Watt said she lost her phone.
Shortly after the last hearing, Ms Watt’s phone fell into the sea after a boat she was on hit a wave, the court was told.
“[It was] most unfortunate, because it was only a short time after the court ordered that the phone should be specifically searched,” Mr Sherborne said.
Vardy’s barrister said: “That is what happened. Mrs Vardy was not present when that happened. She (Ms Watt) was on holiday, she lost her phone.”
Vardy’s lawyers have opposed the application to add the claim against Ms Watt to the libel case.
“If the defendant had genuinely wished to bring a misuse of private information claim against Ms Watt in order to vindicate her rights this claim could have been brought 15 months ago,” Mr Tomlinson said.
Ms Watt’s representative, Ian Helme, also opposed the application, saying his client has given “clear and consistent” denials against the allegations.
The trial is expected to start in early May but is likely to be delayed.