Tearful Vardy accuses Rooney of driving agent to ‘suicidal thoughts’

When barrister David Sherborne, for Rooney, suggested Vardy’s agent, Caroline Watt, had withdrawn from the case to avoid supporting her, Vardy angrily replied: “She has been driven to suicidal thoughts by the proceedings and the antics of the defendant.”

Earlier, Vardy had accused Rooney of “weaponising her fanbase against me” with the Wagatha Christie bombshell accusation.

In a viral social media post in October 2019, Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.

Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.

Mr Sherborne said Vardy said she had sought to place the blame for leaks to The Sun on Ms Watt after “years of dutiful service”, adding: “I have to put it to you that it’s not her that has betrayed you, as you suggest, but it’s you that has betrayed her by throwing her under the bus.”

Vardy broke down and cried as her evidence ended, muttering “that’s a joke” at the barrister’s final suggestion.

She was then accompanied across the courtroom, just feet away from Rooney and husband Wayne, by one of her legal team, still wiping away tears.

Vardy, who complained of being tired and needed two breaks when she broke down crying, was tearful for the final 15 minutes of her third day of evidence.

She was accused of deliberately deleting key messages that would have been evidence in the case, allegedly knowing they would include evidence of her leaking information to the media.

Mr Sherborne mentioned a story on Danny Drinkwater being arrested for drink driving – which Vardy has accepted helping to leak to The Sun – as well as two stories about extra marital affairs involving footballers.

“We have seen from the disclosure we have managed to get from you and Ms Watt that you were consistently discussing, seeking to and intending to pass on information to The Sun about a number of people”, said Mr Sherborne.

“Would you not agree Mrs Vardy that if it looks like a leak, it sounds like a leak, and you even use the word leak, it’s more likely than not to be a leak.”

Vardy replied; “No.”

“That’s what you were – a leak”, he said, and Vardy again said “no”.

Earlier Vardy dismissed as “fantasy” claims that she was The Sun’s ‘Secret Wag’ as she branded the gossip column “absolute garbage”.

Vardy faced claims she fuelled the short-lived column in 2019, dishing the dirt on footballers under the veil of anonymity.

The High Court was shown a series of extracts from the column, mentioning teammates of her husband, their wives and girlfriends, as well as unnamed players from the Midlands.

“This is ridiculous”, exclaimed Vardy, when it was suggested goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s wife was part of “her circle”.

“My circle would have been people I socialise with and have regular contact with”, she said.

“Some of these people I’ve never met.”

One of the ‘Secret Wag’ columns was about an unnamed footballer who was accused of cheating on his wife, but a planned tryst with another woman was thwarted when he removed his shirt to reveal a tattoo of his marriage vows.

“If you believe everything of what’s written here, it’s crazy”, said Vardy, giving evidence at the High Court ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel battle. “It’s a rehash of stuff in the public domain, gossip.

“I’ve never been to Las Vegas”, she said of a tale from the Nevada destination. “It is not the sort of place I would want to go to either.”

Asked to comment on the source of the story, Vardy exclaimed: “How would I know?

“It’s absolute nonsense, it’s garbage.”

Vardy engaged in a bizarre exchange with Mr Sherborne, when he suggested there could be a link between a Secret Wag story about an unnamed player from the Midlands and Vardy’s husband playing for Leicester FC.

“Leicester is in the West Midlands, isn’t it?”, he said.

“It’s Leicester”, retorted Vardy. “That’s speculation.”

Mr Sherborne replied: “I think it’s a question of geography, isn’t it?”, and Vardy replied: “It’s in the Midlands, yes.”

Mr Sherborne suggested: “You were providing information to the Secret Wag column”.

“No, that’s absolutely nothing but fantasy”, says Vardy.

Earlier on her third day of evidence, Vardy accepted she knew her agent was leaking information on Rooney to The Sun newspaper.

The ‘WAG’ was privately messaging agent Caroline Watt about a February 2019 private Instagram post by Rooney, in which she had revealed damage to a car.

When a story appeared in The Sun and Rooney suspected a friend of leaking to the media, Ms Watt privately told Vardy “it was me”.

Vardy told the High Court on Thursday she believed Ms Watt was only passing on information which The Sun already knew, and had not challenged the agent about her activities because she was distracted by Gemma Collins falling over on Dancing on Ice.

It was also revealed that Vardy suggested to Rooney directly that her Instagram account may have been hacked by the newspaper, and was accused by Rooney’s barrister of trying to “throw her off the scent”.

Rooney first made her suspicions public about a leak in February 2019, after a story had appeared in The Sun about damage to a car she was driving in Washington DC.

The High Court heard Vardy contacted her fellow WAG, telling her: “This is so bad and The Sun of all people as well.”

Asking if she had scoured her followers for signs of a leak, Vardy said: “What about being hacked?” and later added: “You don’t think the paper has been hacking your account?”.

Mr Sherborne told Vardy: “That’s totally disingenuous, isn’t it?”

He accused Vardy of “reaching out” when she “realised you are a suspect”.

“You knew perfectly well you have been responsible through Ms Watt for passing information to The Sun”, he said.

“You are presenting yourself as someone who hates The Sun, someone coming up with excuses, maybe hacking, suggesting someone with celeb links – you are throwing her off the scent.”

“No”, replied Vardy, who added: “I knew she didn’t like The Sun.”

On the car crash story, Vardy and Ms Watt had exchanged messages about Rooney’s Instagram post which showed detail of the damaged car.

Vardy replied “she defo did” when the agent suggested Sun journalist Andy Halls was looking for confirmation that Vardy was driving at the time.

Vardy confirmed in her evidence that she was involved in leaking information, but insisted she “didn’t think (Ms Watt) was passing on any new information. The information she had was what they already had heard.”

After the story was published, Rooney took to her public Instagram to correct it: “Thank you for the messages asking if I am ok… the car crash story was completely wrong…. I wasn’t involved in a crash …the car was damaged by another car.

“Someone on my private Instagram seen the picture and is telling or selling stories to a certain newspaper.”

Afterwards, Ms Watt and Vardy discuss the correction, and the agent makes the comment: “It wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me.”

Asked why she did not challenge her agent’s statement, Vardy said she had been distracted by TV programme Dancing on Ice and was bathing her children.

“I have seen the conversation that follows, and without wanting to make fun of anyone, it was Dancing on Ice and Gemma Collins face-planting on the ice which was the next message.

“That was what I had on when I was bathing the children.”

Vardy was questioned on Thursday on her alleged habit of staging paparazzi images, but denied claims that she had orchestrated a WAGs image when they dined out in St Petersburg during the 2018 World Cup.

Mr Sherborne accused her of “selective amnesia” when Vardy could not remember having Sun journalist Andy Halls’ phone number.

And she insisted she had not leaked the car crash story to him at the 2019 National Television Awards.

“You and her had been telling Mr Halls about this at the NTAs when he was popping in and out”, said Mr Sherborne.

Vardy replied: “It was openly being discussed by lots of individuals”, saying Rooney’s post was not a secret. “Lots of people saw that.”

She said Mr Halls “may have been there but I don’t remember seeing him”, prompting Mr Sherborne to pull out a social media post by Vardy – including an image of her “stuffing my face with a burger” – in which she thanks the journalist personally for the invitation.

“In the very crowded room we see, somehow you have forgotten that you actually knew perfectly well Mr Halls was there”, said the barrister.

“No”, replied Vardy, suggesting the originally invitation may have come from Mr Halls “but I’m not 100 per cent sure about that”.

Sherborne accused Vardy of trying to “distance herself” from the journalist and claimed she was delivering “rehearsed answers” to his questions.

The trial continues.

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