The boring way to tell this story is to simply say that one high-profile footballer’s wife has accused another of leaking stories about them to the media.
But what’s gripped the internet is the stunning way Coleen Rooney, wife of former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, carried out a months-long Instagram sting to get to the bottom of her suspicions, and the public fallout when she pointed the finger at her (former?) friend in a Twitter post that was written like a thriller.
The intrigue around #WAGathaChristie has more than just football fans madly refreshing Twitter:
I learned who Coleen Rooney was two hours ago and I’m now ready to go on television and talk about it.
— Lizzie O’Leary (@lizzieohreally) October 9, 2019
Let’s start from the beginning, in January, when Rooney, a favourite target of the tabloids given her husband is one of English football’s most successful players, shared her suspicions that someone following her private Instagram was leaking stories to the press:
It’s happened several times now over the past couple of years. 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.
— Coleen Rooney (@ColeenRoo) January 27, 2019
One tweeter had a savvy suggestion for eliminating suspects until one was left:
Make a false story tell ppl different things see which 1 comes out = find the culprit
— detective dave (@dbuzz89) January 27, 2019
And so, it seems, began the investigation that would lead to the stunning conclusion that sent the internet into meltdown.
Rooney’s post to her million-plus Twitter followers demands to be read in full, with the most explosive line left till last:
This has been a burden in my life for a few years now and finally I have got to the bottom of it…… pic.twitter.com/0YqJAoXuK1
— Coleen Rooney (@ColeenRoo) October 9, 2019
The long and the short of it? Rooney said she knew for certain that only one account had seen the posts whose contents had found their way into The Sun newspaper.
“It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account,” she said, a line which quickly went viral.
For her part, Rebekah Vardy, wife of Jamie Vardy (whose rise with Leicester City to Premier League champion in 2016 made him another of English football’s biggest stars), quickly denied the allegation.
She said she was “disgusted” she even had to address it and others have had access to her account.
“I liked you a lot Coleen and I’m so upset that you have chosen to do this, especially when I’m heavily pregnant,” she said.
— Rebekah Vardy (@RebekahVardy) October 9, 2019
The Sun says it checked every one of the stories with representatives for Rooney before publication.
“[It] only went ahead when she made it clear she did not dispute the details,” the newspaper said.
In any event, Twitter had a field day:
Rebekah Vardy is more searched than Brexit in the UK today. pic.twitter.com/ZwUgOtCSxB
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) October 9, 2019
we’re going to have to make a documentary about this, aren’t we
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) October 9, 2019
— Debbie O’Callaghan (@OCallaghan1) October 9, 2019
— Megan Lawrence (@MeganAmy_L) October 9, 2019
unity at last pic.twitter.com/MgL6ylSszf
— Louis Staples (@LouisStaples) October 9, 2019
When you get to the final line of Coleen Rooney’s tweet: pic.twitter.com/wYbwy0TN2Q
— Oddschecker (@Oddschecker) October 9, 2019