Rebekah Vardy has denied being prepared “to lie under oath” when she said conversations with her agent about leaking information and receiving payment were “never serious”, the High Court has heard.
The mother-of-five, giving evidence on the second day of the “Wagatha Christie” libel trial, claimed she had no knowledge that agent Caroline Watt might be “constantly monitoring” Coleen Rooney’s Instagram account.
In a viral social media post in October 2019, Coleen 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 Wednesday, Mrs Vardy was questioned by Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne about what he suggested were inconsistencies between her evidence in court and her witness statement.
In her written statement, Mrs Vardy said: “I have sometimes been caught up in the heat of the moment during conversations with Caroline where I have talked about ‘leaks’ and payment, but these conversations were never serious, and Caroline would have understood that.
“I have never been paid for private information about anybody apart from myself or my family.”
The court earlier heard Mrs Vardy told her agent she “wanted paying” for information about then-Chelsea player Danny Drinkwater leaving police custody after crashing his car in 2019.
Drinkwater was banned from the roads for 20 months and ordered to do 70 hours of community service after pleading guilty to drink driving.
Mr Sherborne asked Mrs Vardy whether she still stood by witness statement evidence, to which she replied: “Yes, apart from the Danny Drinkwater one.”
Mr Sherborne said: “So, there’s an exception.”
The barrister said: “I put it to you that when you say in that witness statement that these conversations were never serious and Caroline would have understood that, that’s completely untrue isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not,” she replied.
He continued: “What this shows, Mrs Vardy, is that you are prepared to lie under oath.”
She replied: “No.”
Mrs Vardy conceded in court that it was “undeniable” that her agent had seen something on Mrs Rooney’s Instagram account but said she had no knowledge of Ms Watt “monitoring” it.
Mr Sherborne highlighted that on the first day of the trial, Mrs Vardy had agreed it would have been “wrong” if Ms Watt was looking at people’s private Instagram accounts through the use of Mrs Vardy’s account.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mrs Vardy told the court that she was “just joking” when questioned about an allegation she told Ms Watt to leak a story about a celebrity having an affair with a footballer.
Mr Sherborne told the court Mrs Vardy had texted her agent: “Omg have you seen how badly Mrs F is behaving x … I’m actually disgusted by her x” followed by a message “leak the story about her shagging G behind H’s back”.
Asked about the messages, Mrs Vardy said: “I was just joking when I said this comment.”
“Ms Watt doesn’t think you’re just joking when you say that,” Mr Sherborne replied.
Mrs Vardy later denied a suggestion that it was “standard practice” for her to leak private information to The Sun newspaper via Ms Watt.
Mrs Rooney is defending the libel claim on the basis of truth and public interest.
The court previously heard that both women have spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” on the case so far, with the total costs of the case expected to be at least £2 million.
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.”