What is the 'Wagatha Christie' trial and why is it called that? The Vardy v Rooney case explained

A verdict is expected to be shared today

a side by side photo collage of Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney at the Wagatha Christie trial in May 2022
(Image credit: Future)

With a verdict expected imminently - many want to understand what is the Wagatha Christie trial and how it came to be called that.

Social media and British newspaper columns have been a-buzz with updates and news of the 'Wagatha Christie' saga since it first kicked off in October 2019. Involving the wives of two famous English footballers - Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy - the initial accusations spiralled into a full blown court case in May of this year.

Just like the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard (opens in new tab) trial and the ongoing legal battle between Ryan Giggs and his ex-girlfriend (opens in new tab), the public are eager for information on what the 'Wagatha Christie' trial - as it's become known - is about. From how it started, to who said what, and the meaning behind the hilarious nickname.

What is the 'Wagatha Christie' trial?

The 'Wagatha Christie' trial is a civil court case between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy - wives of famous England footballers Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy. Rebekah Vardy is suing Coleen Rooney for defamation after Coleen accused Rebekah on social media of selling stories about her and her family to The Sun newspaper.

Coleen named Rebekah as the source of the story leaks in October 2019. Suspicious that information only shared on her private Instagram account was appearing in The Sun newspaper, she carried out her own investigation to figure out who was behind the disclosing of information. 

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"I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It's.......... Rebekah Vardy's account," tweeted Coleen.

Rebekah Vardy immediately responded and denied the allegation made against her, saying that she “never” speaks to the press about her friends’ personal lives. Explaining why she was the only one who had viewed the stories - she suggested it could be a number of 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,” Rebekah tweeted shortly after 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.”

Rebekah Vardy continued to declare her innocence, on one occasion appearing on ITV's panel show Loose Women (opens in new tab)  in tears, saying that online trolls had targeted her following Coleen's claims, which had caused anxiety attacks that saw her ending "up in hospital three times”.

In late June 2020, the mum-of-five filed a libel lawsuit against Coleen Rooney. Suing on grounds of defamation, lawyers for Vardy say she “suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed”.

In May 2022, Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy attended court with their representatives for the libel trial proceedings. Taking place at London's Royal Courts of Justice, both wives gave evidence and their account of events. 

During the trial, Mrs Vardy again denied the claims made by Coleen. “I didn’t leak anything,” she told the court. "I didn’t give any information to a newspaper.”

The trial lasted for 7 days - beginning on 10 May and ending on 19 May, 2022.

Why is it called 'Wagatha Christie'?

The term 'Wagatha Christie' arose on social media, shortly after Coleen Rooney made her accusations against Rebekah Vardy. The nickname is a mix of the acronym WAG (which means Wife and Girlfriend of a high profile sportsman) and Agatha Christie (a famous author known for her crime and detective novels).

After gaining popularity online, various British press publications then starting referring to the saga as 'Wagatha Christie' in their articles.

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The Daily Mail (opens in new tab)suggest that the phrase was first coined by 39-year-old Dan Atkinson, a dad-of-two from Folkestone, Kent. He previously told the Mirror: "I knew the tweet was a neat pun, but anyone who says they can guess what will go crazy is lying, aren't they? My first thought when I saw it trending was that I wish I had spelt it correctly.

"As far as I know I was the first person on this one," he added. "Pretty funny really for a four-word tweet, I have had a marriage proposal and suggestions that I become prime minister and also be knighted."

Others have similarly claimed ownership of creating the Wagatha Christie nickname. And the phrase still gets widely used today on Twitter and other social media platforms - referring to the case.

When is the Vardy v Rooney verdict announced?

Mrs Justice Steyn will present her official verdict of the 'Wagatha Christie' trial at midday on Friday 29 July, 2022. The judgement is to be shared remotely - so neither Rebekah Vardy or Coleen Rooney are expected to attend court.

The verdict today will mark just over two-and-a-half years since Coleen Rooney first shared the viral social media post accusing Vardy.

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Emily Stedman
Emily Stedman

Emily Stedman is the News Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things royal, entertainment, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things celebrity and royal, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.