Coleen Rooney vs. Rebekah Vardy is like period drama with balayage and Botox | Emma Garland

IIn the UK, we don’t like our celebrities to be mythical. This is a land where Alison Hammond and Adele reign supreme. We like public figures that seem, not exactly down-to-earth, but familiar; people you can imagine having dinner on their knees in front of Coronation Street with a glass of Blossom Hill. We enjoy the illusion that the only difference between us and someone on TV is winning the lottery. That’s why the battle between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy has captured our attention for two and a half years and continues.

A tale of two Wags, Rooney v Vardy is the perfect storm of everyday pettiness and high-profile drama. On both sides there are women who have married in the public eye – through former England player Wayne Rooney and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, respectively. Much like reality TV stars, the Wags’ relationship with British tabloids is as symbiotic as it is stressful. Stories about everything from a new haircut to the jack placental pills fill the pages of red tops. The content keeps their names relevant but also open to constant public scrutiny.

Throughout the 2010s, Rooney was a common presence in the Sun newspaper, where his private information and that of his friends and family unexpectedly surfaced. While some Wags dragged information about their lives to the press to raise their profile, these stories were unwanted by Rooney. There was, it seems, someone in his close circle of friends who leaked the stories to the press. So, in an act of digital sleuthing that has since led to her being nicknamed “Wagatha Christie,” Rooney began posting personal fake news on Instagram Stories and blocked all but one person from seeing it.

The stories ranged from believable to clickbait: she was making a TV comeback; she was devastated after Storm Lorenzo flooded the basement of her £20million family home; she was traveling to Mexico to look into sex selection treatment. All have found their place in the newspaper. On October 9, 2019, Rooney posted his findings on Twitter, announcing that “this is……….Rebekah Vardy’s account”. She dropped that bombshell while Vardy, who is now suing for defamation, was pregnant and on vacation.

Almost three years later, the libel trial will begin today at the High Court in London and is expected to last six days. The news around her is already rampant, with attorney fees reach millionsafraid of “shredded” reputationsand wishes never speak to each other again. Beyond that, there are shocking revelations and plot elements that Agatha Christie herself would have been proud to write. The trial hasn’t even started and already Vardy has made allegations in court documents, pointing fingers to his publicist, Caroline Watt, as the mystery circulates about a phone that “unfortunately” fell into the North Sea with the WhatsApp messages which could have contained essential evidence for Rooney’s case.

This trial is arguably so explosive because of the British press’s appetite for criticizing women it sees as having “climbed” into wealth. Vardy grew up in a struggling home and by the age of 15 she was homeless. Rooney, whose mother was a housekeeper and father a boxing trainer, came from a working-class background. Both were catapulted to fame and money through their marriages, and were treated as unworthy recipients with headlines such as “Rebekah Vardy is going to splash a new pair of tits with I’m A Celebrity fee” and ” Coleen and Wayne Rooney hit the beach in Mykonos for ANOTHER vacation just days after returning from Barbados.

But the public doesn’t seem to share that disdain and there seems to be tremendous goodwill towards Rooney and Vardy for giving us so much entertainment. When news articles contain the phrase “mansion in Lincolnshire” and text that says “The stupid cow deserves everything she gets!”, it’s impossible not to be drawn in as if it were a an episode of Footballers’ Wives basically. There is something quintessentially English, almost old-fashioned, about this quarrel. It’s like a period drama with balayage and Botox.

Ultimately, this whole thing gives us a window into the lives of the wealthy, and what we see is that they are just like us. It’s not a high-end court drama; it’s a turbocharged comment section war. And, against this recognizable backdrop of online drama and broken friendships, there’s the certainty that, if you had £3m to escalate a personal beef to the highest possible court, you could also find yourself at the rod.

  • Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 300 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at [email protected]

  • Emma Garland is a writer specializing in culture and music