Rebekah Vardy Ordered to Pay Legal Fees in ‘Wagatha Christie’ Case

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Rebekah Vardy, who in July lost the high-drama libel case known in Britain as the “Wagatha Christie” trial, was ordered on Tuesday to pay 90 percent of Coleen Rooney’s legal fees, with an estimated total of about 1.5 million pounds, or $1.7 million.

A high court judge ordered Ms. Vardy to pay an initial £800,000, or about $913,000, to Ms. Rooney by Nov. 15, with additional payments expected as the sides agree on, or as the court orders, a final total.

Ms. Rooney’s legal team estimated the total cost of her legal fees at about £1.7 million, or $1.9 million.

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Lawyers for Ms. Vardy unsuccessfully argued that she should pay only 80 percent of the legal fees. Justice Karen Steyn cited the destruction of evidence during the trial, writing that “such behavior is outside the ordinary and reasonable conduct of proceedings.”

It was the latest defeat for Ms. Vardy, who lost her libel trial in July after a long, public feud between the two women, both spouses of British soccer stars.

The saga, which proved irresistible to the British press and attracted international fascination, began in October 2019 when Ms. Rooney, the wife of the former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, publicly disclosed that someone had been watching her private Instagram stories and leaking details to the press. She revealed that, in an effort to catch the culprit, she had posted false stories that were visible only to Ms. Vardy’s account to see if they would leak to the press — and they did.

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Ms. Vardy, who is married to the Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denied any involvement, saying that multiple people had access to her account. In 2020, she sued Ms. Rooney for defamation.

The dispute culminated in May in a trial that peeled back the curtain on celebrity culture, packed with intrigue. The wives and girlfriends of soccer players — commonly known in Britain by the acronym WAG — have long been tabloid fodder, and the trial offered a rare glimpse into their private messages.

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Justice Steyn dismissed the case, saying that the reputational damage Ms. Vardy suffered did not have what she described as “the sting of libel.” The judge also wrote that “significant parts of her evidence were not credible.”

Ms. Vardy was also ordered on Tuesday to pay the legal costs of journalists at The Sun, a British newspaper, after they were brought into the proceedings because of stories they published using the leaked material.



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