Opinion: Wagatha Christie, toxic WhatsApp, and a visit to Soho Farmhouse…
From missing phone messages to fake photos on Instagram, Hanna Flint asks: did Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy really need to take their case to the High Court?
Friday 20 May 2022 By Hanna Flint
If you had Soho Farmhouse on your Wagatha Christie trial bingo card, then congratulations, you got a hit. Yes, for the past 10 days the lawyers representing Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy have been battling it out over one of the most ridiculous celebrity legal cases ever to make it to the High Court, and there’s been a cornucopia of personal details revealed about the pair, as well as how the tabloid industry operates.
For the uninitiated, it all kicked off in October 2019, when Rooney, wife of former England striker Wayne Rooney, accused Vardy, wife of Leicester City player Jamie Vardy, of leaking her personal information to British tabloids via information gleaned from the former’s private Instagram account. Rooney earnt the nickname ‘Wagatha Christie’ for the social media sting when she revealed in a tweet that she posted fake photos to her private story that only Rebekah Vardy’s account could see and they ended up in the tabloid press.
Vardy made the decision to sue Rooney for defamation because of the virality of the story and the negative hit to her reputation, so an avid audience has kept up with all the testimonies and evidence being shared, and not shared, via court reporters covering the trial. I highly recommend following the Guardian media editor Jim Waterson’s tweets on the subject. It’s through him that I’ve found myself utterly bemused by the case, where one moment the subject of Peter Andre’s penis was brought up and another saw the judge having to explain the meaning of Davy Jones’ Locker.
Then there’s the fact that Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt is AWOL from proceedings after conveniently dropping her mobile phone in the North Sea soon after she was asked to provide it to the court as evidence. Vardy managed to lose nine months’ worth of contextual WhatsApp messages too, yet the ones she did provide were pretty embarrassing for them both. They call Rooney some pretty foul names and discussed supplying stories to The Sun, including info about footballer Danny Drinkwater’s DUI for payment and locker room drama concerning Riyad Mahrez.
Meanwhile, in cross-examination, it highlighted just how much Rooney’s every move was scrutinized, with WhatsApp messages between her and her agent showing the request for comment over shopping trips and having stories written about her because of a Soho Farmhouse visit where she *checks notes* had fun? The latter ended up being an ‘exclusive’ story in The Sun, describing her as ‘swigging a bottle of plonk while cycling at speed with four friends’. For the love of god, please, someone remind this woman of The Highway Code before she causes a multi-bike pile-up near the barn. Jokes aside, it’s hard not to see this entire circus as a lose/ lose for Vardy.
If the jury rules in Rooney’s favour, then she’ll be branded a conniving, untrustworthy snitch. If Vardy wins, she’s still managed to tarnish her name by letting her pretty unpleasant private messages be put in the public domain, which paints her in an unfavourable light with regards to her privileged position as a footballer’s wife and her relationship with the tabloid press. I wonder who was advising her to pursue this case in the first place? Because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about lawyers with wealthy clients, they’ll always push them towards legal action so they can bank those billable hours.
It reminds me of that scene in Pam & Tommy where the couple’s lawyers go hard against Penthouse over the publishing of their sex tape images, despite Pammy’s protests, and not only make matters worse for them, but charge them for the inconvenience. The reputation of Vardy and Rooney’s lawyers is probably going to fare much better than their clients after the verdict comes in. They’ll simply move onto the next case, while ‘Wagatha Christie’ will be an albatross around their necks for the rest of their lives.
Let sleeping Hans lie
In Vanity Fair this week, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy discussed the maligned Han Solo movie as part of a big feature on the future of the Star Wars franchise. Solo: A Star Wars Story cast Alden Ehrenreich as the eponymous lead and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian as a result of Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams no longer being young men. Kennedy said after working on the new Indiana Jones movie, she realised an iconic figure like that couldn’t not be replaced.
‘There should be moments along the way when you learn things,’ Kennedy said, the moment being Solo’s mixed reviews and box office flopping. ‘Now it does seem so abundantly clear that we can’t do that.’
I just hope this doesn’t mean we are going to get even more CGI Luke or Leia or Han, even, because if there’s one thing that Lucasfilm hasn’t learnt, it’s that there is more to this franchise than the Skywalker clan. Beyond the film trilogies, there is a wealth of stories to be told from the animated series, the comics, and the novels, but they’ve only scratched the surface of what this expansive canon has to offer. It’s called a galaxy far, far away, after all, so maybe it’s time to leave the OG characters alone and tell some original Star Wars stories again. And by stories, I mean specifically a solo Doctor Aphra series. Please and thank you.
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