British soccer wife Coleen Rooney accused another player’s spouse, Rebekah Vardy, of betraying her by leaking made-up stories to the tabloid press, as the duo’s high-profile libel battle got underway Tuesday.
Rooney, who is married to former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, is being sued by Vardy in London’s High Court after she called her out on Instagram over the alleged leaks.
“This is a case essentially about betrayal,” Ronney’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said in opening written submissions at the start of the trial, the LBC reported.
In court, Rooney’s lawyer claimed Vardy “was responsible for regularly abusing her status as a trusted follower of [Rooney’s] personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun of [Rooney’s] private posts and stories.”
Rooney has said she tried to snuff out the leaker by posting fake tales on purpose over the course of several months. Eventually, Rooney said she blocked everyone apart from an accounting belonging to Vardy from her Instagram stories. When those stories appeared in The Sun, Rooney announced to her followers that Vardy was responsible.
Vardy, who is married to Leicester City player Jamie Vardy, has vehemently denied the allegations.
Her lawyer, High Tomlinson, said that Vardy wants to “vindicate her reputation,” after being slapped with “false allegations.”
He said Vardy and her family had been “subjected to abuse and threats” over the accusations and were “jeered and heckled at football matches,” as well as “made the butt of endless jokes,” the Standard reported.
Vardy’s lawyer told the court there was “no irrefutable evidence” that she was the person behind the leaks.
“Mrs. Rooney was accusing Mrs. Vardy of betraying her and betraying her friends and family by disclosing this private information. That allegation was false, Mrs. Vardy had not done that,” her lawyer said.
Under English defamation law, Rooney and her legal team must successfully prove her post about Vardy was “substantially true.”
Even if Coleen’s legal team successfully makes its case, The Times reports she may still have to foot the bill on some of the legal costs.
Meanwhile, if Rebekah emerges victorious, she could be awarded paltry damages.
The trial is expected to last for six days, with a ruling at a later date.
With Post wires
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