The mystery of the Instagram Story. When Coleen Rooney believed one of her friends was leaking rumors about her to the press, she used a very 21st-century method to catch the alleged culprit: social media.
Rooney made headlines in 2019 when she claimed to have caught an acquaintance who was sharing false stories about her to the U.K. newspaper The Sun. She allegedly discovered the betrayal by posting fake information about herself via Instagram after blocking all but one person from viewing her Stories.
The technique was clever, but that’s not why the story went viral. The would-be sleuth is the wife of English soccer star Wayne Rooney, who is Manchester United’s top goal-scorer of all time. The alleged perpetrator wasn’t a nobody, either: Coleen claimed that the leaker was Rebekah Vardy, who is married to Jamie Vardy, another very famous soccer player.
“Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper,” Coleen tweeted in October 2019. “And you know what, they did! … Now I know for certain which account/individual it’s come from. I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Rebekah immediately denied Coleen’s claims, saying that she “never” speaks to journalists about her friends’ personal lives. She blamed the alleged Story views on unnamed people who had access to her Instagram account.
“Just this week I found I was following people I didn’t know and have never followed myself,” the Dancing on Ice alum tweeted in October 2019. “I’m not being funny but I don’t need the money, what would I gain from selling stories on you? I liked you a lot Coleen & I’m so upset that you have chosen to do this.”
Less than one year later, Rebekah filed a libel lawsuit against Coleen, claiming that the accusations against her had caused “extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment.” When the trial began in May 2022, Rebekah again denied that she was behind the alleged leaks.
“I didn’t leak anything,” she told the U.K.’s High Court of Justice. “I didn’t give any information to a newspaper.”
Coleen’s legal team suggested that Rebekah’s assistant, Caroline Watt, could have been the source of the leaks, but she has not been present in court — and her phone was lost in the North Sea shortly before the proceedings began. David Sherborne, a lawyer for Coleen, has argued that holding the trial without Watt is “like Hamlet without the prince of Denmark.”
Rebekah’s own WhatsApp messages were also not available because of what her attorneys called a “credible, ordinary, boring” reason.
“It’s a very well-known and common feature in everyone’s life that from time to time electronic documents are lost for all kinds of reasons,” Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson told the court in May 2022. “This is something that happens to us all, that sometimes documents are lost.”
Keep scrolling for more info about the drama between Coleen and Rebekah.