Coleen and Wayne Rooney have turned their backs on glamorous five-star jet-setting to take their four sons on a bargain narrowboat holiday.
The former England captain, his wife and their children Kai, 11, Cass, three, Klay, eight, and Kit, five, headed to Staffordshire to enjoy trip along the Shropshire Union Canal.
The family moored outside the Hartley Arms in Wheaton Aston, before travelling by narrowboat to the Bridge Inn in Brewood.
The couple, both 35, have been known to enjoy low-cost camping holidays and Butlins stays with their children – alongside their five-star Barbados summer trips.
The Rooneys nearly missed their lunch in Brewood when their journey along the canal took longer than expected.
Landlady Helen Bannister told The Sun: ‘They called us to say they’d under-estimated how long it would take them to travel on the barge so we rebooked it for them.’
Coleen and Wayne Rooney have turned their backs on glamorous five-star jet-setting to take their four sons on a bargain narrowboat holiday. The family moored outside the Hartley Arms in Wheaton Aston, before travelling by narrowboat to the Bridge Inn in Brewood (pictured with landlady Helen Bannister)
The former England captain, his wife and their children Kai, 11, Cass, three, Klay, eight, and Kit, five, headed to Staffordshire to enjoy trip along the Shropshire Union Canal (file image)
Earlier this week, the High Court heard that Coleen kept her husband Wayne in the dark when she launched her infamous ‘Wagatha Christie’ sting investigation.
Her footballer husband’s ignorance of her detective work emerged as the celebrity libel action of century involving Rebekah Vardy returned.
Coleen’s lawyer David Sherborne revealed his client’s secrecy as he fought a motion from Mrs Vardy’s lawyers to have a large portion of Mrs Rooney’s defence ‘struck out’.
Mrs Vardy, 39, launched her £1.5m claim after Coleen, 35, accused her in her October 2019 ‘Wagatha Christie’ Instagram post of being the source of leaks to the media on stories about her.
The court has heard how peace talks between the warring WAGs broke down during mediation and the case is now expected to go to a full trial.
Hugh Tomlinson QC for Rebekah Vardy, told the libel court today that the case had been extremely serious, despite the ‘highly entertaining stories in the media referring to the Wagatha Christie… she suffered widespread abuse and hostility as a result of the post for a long period and her children were also abused at school. It was a very serious matter for her’.
Rebekah Vardy claims allegations by Coleen Rooney caused turmoil for her and her children, who she claims have been abused in the playground. Mrs Rooney didn’t even tell her husband Wayne (pictured together right) she carrying out the Wagatha Christie sting, the court heard
Mrs Rooney wrote on Instagram and Twitter: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account’ – in a notorious post that sparked the Wagatha Christie libel battle
The long-running feud between the high-profile WAGS erupted after Coleen revealed that she had set a trap to see who was responsible for the leaks, which earned her the nickname Wagatha Christie.
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.’
Rebekah’s team have now launched a bid to have large parts of Coleen’s defence in the ongoing libel case struck out.
Rebekah Vardy sold stories for cash and to boost her profile, says Coleen’s counsel
Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne argued that the ‘exceptionally close relationship’ Mrs Vardy is said to have had with The Sun is a key part of the case.
In written submissions, Mr Sherborne said Mrs Vardy had a ‘habitual practice’ of providing private information to the press to promote her profile.
He said: ‘The timing of positive coverage of the claimant in The Sun was strikingly close to the publication of other articles … that were leaked from the defendant’s private Instagram.
‘This supports the inference that the claimant was benefiting from the leak of private information about the defendant to the newspaper.’
Mr Sherborne added that that Mrs Vardy used her close relationship with The Sun or its journalists ‘for the purposes of promoting or financially exploiting her public profile’.
The barrister later claimed that Mrs Vardy would receive a split of commission and revenue for stories given to The Sun through the Front Row Partnership, a PR agency where Mrs Vardy was a client.
Mrs Vardy has denied any knowledge or authorisation of passing on private information.
David Sherborne described the attempt by Rebekah’s side to exclude large portions of evidence from the hearing as ‘a tactical exercise to remove evidence which serves to undermine her case or embarrass her.’
He added that a Football Association official has made a statement to support Coleen’s claim that Rebekah and her party refused to move when asked to and abused a liaison officer at Euro 2016 after she sat behind Coleen to maximise her publicity during the England vs Wales match at Lens.
Rebekah’s lawyers have asked the judge to make a summary judgement on the so-called ‘TV Decisions story’, which Coleen says began with a selfie Instagram post published only to Rebekah’s account on September 25 2019.
Coleen wrote: ‘Up and out!! Easing my way back into work!! TV decisions today…maybe it’s time for Australia @claireroon’ [Wayne’s cousin] and ‘Good Day’.
Three days later, the sun ran an exclusive story online with the headline ‘ROO-MBA Coleen Rooney in talks to join Strictly next year as she looks to revive her TV career when Wayne returns to UK’.
Mr Tomlinson told the judge: ‘This part of the pleading should be put out of its misery.’
He denied Coleen’s assertion that the language in the Sun’s story was ‘similar’ to the post, and pointed out that other newspapers and magazines had run stories months earlier, linking Coleen with Strictly.
Referring to the Sun’s September 28 story, he said: ‘The article has nothing at all in common with this post, the language is not the same.’
He did concede that ‘on the face of it’ other posts on Coleen’s Instagram feed could be related to subsequent stories in The Sun, but on the TV decisions story he said: ‘The inference that the two are related is simply wrong; there’s nothing in common.’
He revealed that there were many other bogus posts on Coleen’s Instagram account which did not lead to stories, but their side had not been made aware of which.
‘As far as we understand it, there are lots of false posts which produce no articles be were are not privy to them.’
For Coleen, David Sherborne told the case that Rebekah’s lawyers’ estimate that a trial could take as long as nine days had been subject to ‘serious inflation’.
‘Her ladyship should be very sceptical of estimates of court time,’ he added.
Rebekah’s counsel Mr Tomlinson told Mrs Justice Steyn: ‘The purpose of this application is to clear away a mass of irrelevant and peripheral material in order to save time and costs and focus on the main issues in the case.’
If Rebekah’s application were granted, Coleen’s case could be fatally weakened — and their 18-month long Wagatha Christie fight brought to an end.
In her court documents, lawyers for Rebekah cited Meghan Markle’s high-profile privacy case against the Mail on Sunday to argue that some of Coleen’s allegations should be dismissed.
The papers cite a ruling made by the judge in the Duchess of Sussex’s successful legal battle that the ‘facts alleged must be sufficient’ before a trial is allowed to go ahead.
The judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, said she will reserve judgement on whether to grant Rebekah’s application to strike out parts of the case and issue a summary judgement on the ‘TV decisions’ story, but did not indicate when the judgement will be handed down.
Rebekah’s move was branded a ‘tactical exercise’ to avoid having to disclose matters which will prove Coleen’s case is correct, according to her lawyer David Sherborne.
Coleen’s team say in submissions that the sections which Rebekah is seeking to remove are ‘plainly relevant and proportionate’ and the argument that leaving them in will substantially increase the costs of the trial is ‘seriously overstated and bears no real scrutiny’.
Rebekah Vardy (top) and Coleen Rooney watch England v Wales during Euro 2016 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France. Mrs Rooney, 34, accused Mrs Vardy, 38, of giving the press ‘false stories’ about her private life last October after carrying out a months-long ‘sting operation’ which saw her dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’
Coleen’s skeleton argument which is before the court, adds: ‘Another factor that should be borne in mind is that the Claimant [Rebekah] is seeking to remove what are, no doubt, paragraphs that [she] finds uncomfortable and embarrassing. ‘
The document adds: ‘Not only did the Claimant authorise other individuals who she has admitted had access to her Instagram account…to leak these false stories to The Sun newspaper, but this was part of an established practice she had of leaking private information through this means to the same journalists with whom she had an exceptionally close relationship, information relating not just to the Defendant [Coleen] but also to others in her footballing circle, all for the purposes of increasing her profile or obtaining personal benefit. ‘
Rebekah sued her WAG rival last June, claiming she ‘suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed’.
In her written case, Rebekah’s lawyers said the abuse she received made her ‘feel suicidal’, adding: ‘She suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety which manifested in being scared to leave her house.’
She claimed her husband Jamie was targeted during football matches, with opposition fans chanting ‘your wife is a grass’ for up to five minutes at a time.
‘Wagatha Christie’ trial could cost £1million
The Wagatha Christie libel trial could last nearly two weeks and cost almost £1m, the High Court heard today.
Dashing any hopes of a last-minute settlement between the warring Wags, Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy in her £1.5m lawsuit against Coleen Rooney, said: ‘There can be no doubt that it will go to trial.’
He said that his own side’s costs alone for a nine-day trial would be £475,000.
Mr Tomlinson, who has launched an application to have large sections of Coleen’s defence ‘struck out’ from the case, said it could almost slash the trial costs in half.
He said ‘assuming a five-day trial with the material taken out, we estimate our costs at £273,000. I’m not suggesting these figures are set in stone, they are provided in good faith.’
Mr Tomlinson said sections of the defence around Mrs Vardy’s relationship with The Sun newspaper, including her alleged but denied authorship of ‘The Secret Wag’ column, are not relevant to the trial.
‘Much of it is so far away from the issues as to be patently irrelevant,’ he told the court.
Referring to one part of Mrs Rooney’s defence, he added: ‘There was almost nothing about leaking private information about anyone to the press, let alone the defendant’s family and friends.’
Mr Tomlinson highlighted that both women have a public profile and their own relationships with the media.
Mr Tomlinson, referring to sections of Coleen’s defence which allege that Rebekah was a ‘close friend’ of Sun journalist Simon Boyle, said: ‘What has happened in this case is that the defendant has gone through the claimant’s appearances in the newspapers, put two and two together and made seven.’
‘It’s effectively saying that ‘she’s had an interview with Simon Boyle, so he’s a close friend of yours’.
But Mrs Rooney’s lawyers said the post was ‘entirely legitimate and justified’ and referred to Rebekah’s ‘exceptionally close relationship’ with The Sun and some of its journalists.
An attempt at mediation, to try to resolve the case without a trial, took place earlier this year.
While the two WAGs’ dispute continues, their husbands are still on speaking terms.
Wayne, 35, publicly showed his support for 34-year-old amie this month when it was revealed the Leicester City star would not be part of the England squad for the Euros.
‘One man I wish was in Gareth’s [Southgate’s] squad is Jamie Vardy,’ he wrote in his Sunday Times column.
‘I would have tried absolutely everything to lure him out of retirement for these finals.’
Mentioning the two women’s feud: ‘I know some people may be surprised at this, especially with the legal case between my wife and Jamie’s wife, but this is my honest football opinion.’
The wife of ex-England footballer Wayne Rooney is being sued by her former friend after publicly accusing her of leaking stories about her private life. The bitter dispute has raged for 18 months.
In March friends of Mrs Rooney said she is considering throwing in the towel because her legal team are struggling to find vital evidence.
One told The Mail on Sunday: ‘She is still convinced she’s in the right but that is very different from being able to prove it in a court of law. She wanted to settle this amicably ages ago but to her dismay, it has dragged on.’
Lawyers said the total estimated legal bill to date stands at £1.3 million – £900,000 for Mrs Vardy and £400,000 for Mrs Rooney.
In the event of a trial, whoever loses will probably have to meet the other’s costs as well as their own. Damages could take the loser’s bill to more than £2 million.
It is understood that Mrs Vardy is asking that Mrs Rooney pays her costs and damages and issues a public apology.
The dispute began in 2019 when Mrs Rooney, 34, publicly accused Mrs Vardy, 39, of leaking stories from her private Instagram account. In a ‘sting operation’ that earned her the nickname Wagatha Christie, she turned detective to find out where newspaper stories about her were coming from.
The mother-of-four planted fake posts on her private Instagram account, then claimed to have blocked all of her followers except Mrs Vardy, who is now claiming aggravated damages and seeking an injunction preventing Mrs Rooney from repeating the allegations. An effort to resolve the dispute through mediation failed earlier this month and plans for a full trial were made.
Mrs Vardy is asking that Mrs Rooney pays her costs and damages and issues a public apology – with bill expected to exceed £1.5m
Court papers filed by Mrs Rooney last year claimed Mrs Vardy was the ‘Secret WAG’ behind an anonymous column in The Sun on Sunday. Last summer, Mrs Rooney instructed celebrity barrister David Sherborne to represent her.
Last night a spokesperson for Mrs Rooney declined to comment.
At the end of the hearing this afternoon, Mrs Justice Steyn said she would give her judgment at a later date.