Mrs Vardy was left red-faced yesterday after a High Court judge ruled that she had leaked stories about Mrs Rooney to The Sun newspaper alongside her agent Caroline Watt.
In a damning verdict, Mrs Justice Steyn found ‘many occasions when her evidence was manifestly inconsistent, evasive or implausible’.
She also ruled that the pair had ‘deleted or destroyed’ evidence, including that it was likely that Miss Watt ‘deliberately’ threw her phone into the North Sea.
Mrs Vardy, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, said she was ‘devastated’ by the ruling, but insisted: ‘The case is over.’
Sources close to the 40-year-old mother of five said she has ‘no regrets’ about taking the case to court despite the hefty legal bill she has been left with.
Mrs Vardy will have to pay her rival’s costs as well as her own, which sources in both camps say comes to between £2million and £3million.
Friends say, as a result, the idea has been raised of selling the couple’s luxury villa on the exclusive golf resort of Quinta do Lago in Portugal, which they call their ‘sanctuary’.
The property, which has three pools, a gym, steam room and six bedrooms, is thought to be worth in the region of £2million and is available for rent for up to £30,000 per week.
Rebecca Vardy pictured outside the High Court in London in May earlier this year
Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy pictured holding hands with wife Rebekah outside the High Court in London in May
As I explained in my evidence I, my family and even my unborn baby, were subjected to disgusting messages and vile abuse following Coleen’s post and these have continued even during the course of the trial.
Please can the people who have been abusing me and my family now stop. The case is over.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me.
I am extremely sad and disappointed at the decision that the judge has reached.
It is not the result that I had expected, nor believe was just. I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding.
The judge accepted that publication of Coleen’s post was not in the ‘public interest’ and she also rejected her claim that I was the ‘Secret Wag’.
But as for the rest of her judgment, she got it wrong and this is something I cannot accept.
‘While this wasn’t easy for Rebekah, for her it was the only option and she stands by that. There are no regrets,’ one friend said.
‘She always stands up for herself and this was no different. She believes she in the right and she is pleased she went all the way to court and told her side of the story. Rebekah was trolled on social media and it was deeply traumatic for her. She knew she had to take this all the way.’
The judgment brings an end to the bitter two-year litigation battle between the two women, which culminated in a seven-day trial at the High Court in May where they both gave evidence.
In her 76-page ruling, Mrs Justice Steyn criticised Mrs Vardy’s ‘wholly implausible’ version of events, which she had to approach with ‘very considerable caution’ because the footballer’s wife was ‘unwilling to make factual concessions, however implausible her evidence’. The judge concluded that Mrs Vardy and Miss Watt had purposefully ‘deleted or destroyed’ evidence, including WhatsApp messages.
She ruled it was likely that Miss Watt did not accidentally drop her phone into the North Sea as previously claimed, but it was ‘deliberately dropped’ off a boat days after she was ordered to hand it over.
The court found the timing of the incident was ‘striking’ and any chance of it being an accident is ‘slim’.
Mrs Justice Steyn also addressed the ‘striking’ absence of Miss Watt, who pulled out as a ‘vital witness’ late in proceedings due to the toll it was taking on her mental health
Rebekah Vardy’s reputation lies in tatters today after she sensationally lost the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case with Coleen Rooney, who said the case was a waste of money and Vardy should never have taken it to court
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy together in 2016. The WAGs have ended up in court in the libel trial of the year and Mrs Vardy’s reputation is in tatters after bringing the case and losing
But she concluded the reason Miss Watt was ‘so very reluctant’ to give evidence was because she knew her statements denying she was involved in the leaks were ‘untrue’.
The judge sided with Mrs Rooney on a string of claims, including that Mrs Vardy deliberately sat behind her at an England football match in the 2016 Euros for maximum publicity. ‘I do not accept she would have happily blurred into the background,’ Mrs Justice Steyn wrote.
To the contrary, the judge found that both Coleen and Wayne Rooney’s evidence to be credible.
Welcoming the verdict, Mrs Rooney said: ‘Although I bear Mrs Vardy no ill will, today’s judgment makes clear that I was right in what I said in my Instagram posts.
‘Finally, I would to thank all of my legal team, my family and friends and everyone who has supported me – including the public – through this difficult and stressful time.’
Friends say that Mrs Rooney, who was at home in Cheshire when she received the verdict while her husband was away in Washington, will not be celebrating the ‘slam dunk’ judgment tonight.
‘It was not a case I ever sought or wanted,’ Mrs Rooney said.
In a statement after the ruling, Mrs Vardy said: ‘I am extremely sad and disappointed at the decision that the judge has reached.
‘It is not the result that I had expected, nor believe was just. I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding.
‘As I explained in my evidence I, my family and even my unborn baby, were subjected to disgusting messages and vile abuse following Coleen’s post and these have continued even during the course of the trial.
‘Please can the people who have been abusing me and my family now stop. The case is over.’