Coleen Rooney sent the viral post accusing “Rebekah Vardy’s account” of leaking her private information as a “last resort”, the footballer’s wife has told the High Court.
In a social media post in October 2019, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.
Mrs 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 Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.
On Friday afternoon, Mrs Rooney started her evidence in the Royal Courts of Justice and was questioned by Mrs Vardy’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC.
Asked what she set out to achieve with the widely shared post, Mrs Rooney replied: “I wasn’t achieving anything, what I wanted was to stop the person who was leaking my private information to The Sun.”
Mrs Rooney added that she had given out warnings “many times”, but “it didn’t stop”.
“This was my last resort,” she continued.
Mr Tomlinson suggested that Mrs Rooney must have known that the social media post would have led to abuse of Mrs Vardy, to which she replied: “No, that was not my intention at all, not at all,” adding: “It’s not in my nature to.”
The footballer’s wife was watched as she gave evidence by her husband Wayne, with Mrs Vardy sitting on the other side of the courtroom.
Mrs Rooney’s post was widely shared and heavily parodied on social media at the time, including by the Twitter account of Jeremy Corbyn, then-leader of the Labour Party.
She told the court that she was surprised by “how much interest” her social media post caused.
“Obviously it was going to get picked up by the media,” she said, explaining that her life had been covered by the media for the last 20 years “no matter how big or small” something was.
Asked by Mr Tomlinson if she had a “large loyal following” on social media, Mrs Rooney replied: “I have a large following, yes – loyal, I’m not too sure about.”
Mrs Rooney is defending the libel claim brought by Mrs Vardy on the basis of truth and public interest.
The libel battle comes after Mrs Rooney publicly claimed that an account behind three fake stories in The Sun that she had posted on her personal Instagram account was Mrs Vardy’s.
The fake stories Mrs Rooney planted on her Instagram during the sting operation featured her travelling to Mexico for a “gender selection” procedure, her planning to return to TV, and the basement flooding at her home.
In the post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she wrote: “I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. “It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
The hearing continues.