Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy met in an intense face-to-face mediation on Zoom today as they attempted to settle their high-profile dispute.
The warring pair were accompanied by their lawyers on the second day of mediation as they attempt to find an agreement without having to go to court.
The mediation hearing started on Wednesday and was overseen by an expert mediator, believed to be a senior barrister whose identity is confidential.
Proceedings began with both sides reading out a statement and then breaking off into separate virtual rooms as the mediator spoke to the Wags and their legal representatives independently.
The Wag, dressed in black leggings and pink jacket with her hair swept back, looked happy and relaxed before the three-hour training session, after which she is believed to have gone straight home for the mediation.
Rebekah Vardy, dressed in black leggings and pink jacket with her hair swept back, was seen smiling today as she took part in a rehearsal for ITV’s Dancing on Ice (left). On the right is Coleen Rooney at a local coffee shop in Cheshire
Vardy and Rooney celebrate England’s win against Wales at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France
Today’s mediation was ordered by a High Court judge at the start of the libel trial last November, with both women given a deadline of 8 February to try and reach agreement.
If they remain in deadlock, then the matter will be settled at a full trial expected to take place later this year.
Rebekah, 38, launched a £1m High Court libel action after Coleen, 34 accused her in an Instagram post more than a year ago of being the source of leaks to the media.
The mediation is set to finish today with both sides then expected to release statements revealing if an agreement has been reached or not.
Going into this week’s crunch talks, it was revealed that Coleen has handed Rebekah an ‘olive branch’ and made her an offer to ‘agree to disagree’ as they head into mediation.
If accepted, the last-minute peace deal would see both parties make a substantial donation to charity.
They would also pay their own legal costs, a move known in legal circles as a ‘drop hands’ settlement.
The row between the high-profile Wags erupted after Coleen revealed that she had set a trap to see who was responsible for them, which earned her the nickname ‘Wagatha Christie’ as the row between the two Wags simmered, culminating in legal action.
Accusation: Vardy was accused by her former friend of leaking false stories about her personal life to the media last year
In November, the High Court ruled Coleen’s post ‘clearly identified’ Becky as being ‘guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust’ – but minutes later she hit back with a statement via her representative, saying she was ‘keen’ to hear what her rival has to say in court.
The ruling related to the wording in the final sentence of the post, with the former reality star claiming she simply referred to Becky’s Instagram account.
But the judge said an ordinary reader would not take the word ‘account’ to ‘indicate that she remains in doubt about who the wrongdoer was’.
He also disagreed with her claim that using multiple ellipses in the final line diluted the meaning.
This means the court has no doubt as to who the accusation was made against – Becky – which will be a consideration if the libel case goes to trial this year.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Warby said Coleen’s message was ‘a considered post, using wording composed with some care’, adding: ‘It would be clear to the ordinary reader from the outset that it was meant seriously and intended to convey a message of some importance.’
Passions remain high between the two Wags, with Rebekah adamant that she was not responsible for leaking stories about Coleen to the media (pictured with Jamie in 2017)
He wrote: ‘Indeed, the element of suspense introduced by the multiple dots seems to me designed to raise expectations of a dramatic revelation.
‘It tends to emphasise the importance of the name that is then provided. It would be a poor denouement if all that was being said was that the named individual was to be suspected of the wrongdoing but it might be someone else.
‘The reader is told straight away that the message is about bad behaviour by ‘someone who I trusted’. The post then takes the form of a ‘whodunnit’.’
He added: ‘I certainly do not think that the ordinary reader would take that single word (account), albeit repeated, to indicate that Mrs Rooney remains in doubt about who the wrongdoer was.
‘There is nothing in these words, apart from the word ‘account’, that in any way suggests that the behaviour of which Mrs Rooney is complaining might have been carried out by anyone other than the account holder, Mrs Vardy.’
Coleen (pictured with Wayne in 2016) said she discovered the alleged betrayal by carrying out a months-long ‘sting operation’
TIMELINE OF THE WAGATHA CHRISTIE ROW
October 9, 2019: Coleen Rooney accuses Rebekah Vardy of ‘leaking stories about her’ to The Sun.
Coleen famously 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.’
October 9, 2019: Rebekah takes to her social media to deny being the leaker as Coleen’s post goes viral, while a Sun spokesman refuses to comment on the source of their stories.
June 22, 2020: It emerges that Rebekah has launched a case to sue Coleen for £1m.
November 20, 2020 Rebekah wins the first round of her High Court libel battle.
January 18, 2021: Reporters emerge that the pair will be holding a mediation session over Zoom.
February 4: The pair attend the mediation session, in their first meeting for years.