“It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Those four words alone wouldn’t normally mean much. But within the context of the drama that unfolded on the morning of Wednesday, October 9 between two British soccer wives, they’ve inspired global fascination.
It all started when Coleen Rooney suspected a certain Instagram follower of hers was selling stories about her to The Sun. Her four-month investigation into that hunch culminated Wednesday with those four words and one very damning Notes app response. NBC News even reported that, for a period, the news had more search volume on Google than “Brexit” in the U.K. For those of us on the other side of the pond, here’s a of the drama.
Who are Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy?
Both Rooney and Vardy are WAGS (an acronym commonly used for wives or girlfriends of high-profile athletes). Rooney is married to Wayne Rooney, a star soccer player for teams including Manchester United and D.C. United. They share four sons together and The Guardian describes her as an “online influencer.”
Vardy is the spouse of Jamie Vardy, a Premier League star and England striker. She was a former contestant on the reality series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and is expecting her third child with Vardy. As far as the public knows, there was never any bad blood between the two WAGS, and they were even photographed near each other at a match in 2016.
What exactly went down between them?
Basically Rooney, as the New York Times put it, “ran her own sting operation” by planting false stories about herself on her own private Instagram page, but limiting who could see the stories to one account only.
In a post shared to Twitter and Instagram on October 9, Rooney detailed the methods for confirming her suspicions. After years of intimate facts from her private IG found their way into The Sun stories, she concocted a plan. Rooney blocked every account from viewing her Stories, where she posted false news about herself. “It’s been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all, especially when the stories have been leaked; however, I had to,” Rooney began. “Now I know for certain which account/individual it’s come from. I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.” She then revealed that person to be none other than Vardy.
Has Vardy responded to the allegation?
Within the same hour of Rooney’s post, Vardy shared her own response on Twitter. In it, she alludes to a phone conversation the two presumably had after the accusation was made. Vardy denies speaking to journalists, insinuates others have access to her account, and ends the post with a broken heart emoji. At one point she writes, “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, especially when I’m heavily pregnant.”
How long did Rooney suspect Vardy as the culprit?
As the story has gained traction, users have referenced a January tweet where Rooney denied a story about being in a car crash. She posited that someone had seen the story on her private Instagram and sold it to a tabloid.
“It’s happened several times now over the past couple of years,” she wrote. “It’s sad to think Someone, who I have accepted to follow me is betraying for either money or to keep a relationship with the press.” One user presciently responded, “Make a false story tell ppl different things see which 1 comes out = find the culprit.”
What stories were being sold to The Sun?
Rooney lists several in her original post, including that she and Wayne traveled to Mexico for a $10,000 “gender selection” treatment so that their fifth child would be a girl. Others range from Rooney’s offer to join the British version of Dancing With the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, to her $25 million Manchester mansion being flooded.
On Wednesday, The Sun added a note to each of those articles clarifying that Rooney “said that she made this story up in an effort to find out who was leaking to the press.” In the publication’s original report of the scandal, it explained: “Each of the stories provided to the Sun was put to Coleen’s representatives before publication, and on each occasion they declined to comment.”
The Guardian reported that MailOnline, the Mirror, and Metro.co.uk, which had aggregated or used information from The Sun‘s stories, had removed or amended many of the articles.
Is the internet having A DAY over this?
But, of course. #WagathaChristie has trended on Twitter, paying homage to Rooney’s investigative skills. Netflix has threatened to make a documentary over the scandal. Here, some of the best Twitter reactions as you unpack it all.
I will vote for any political party who agree to immediately give us the rest of the day off so we can follow this Coleen Rooney/Rebekah Vardy thing properly.
— Richard Osman (@richardosman) October 9, 2019
⚪️ Gonna be me