Coleen Rooney And Rebekah Vardy's Spat Is Making Headlines Across The World

Graeme Demianyk

Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy have set the UK media alight with an online mystery that combines betrayal, intrigue and one of the best-written posts of the century.

And despite the saga involving the wives of two English football players, the universal themes they’ve explored appears to have found a global audience.

To recap, Rooney - the wife of ex-England striker Wayne Rooney - told her 1.2 million Twitter followers that she “came up with an idea” to spend five months attempting to work out who was leaking stories to The Sun newspaper based on her personal Instagram posts.

Her plan was to block everyone apart from an Instagram page belonging to the person she suspected was the leaker.

In a pay-off to rival a thriller writer at the top of their game, Coleen revealed: “It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

In response, the reality TV star and wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy insisted it was not her who leaked the information - which included a story about the Rooneys’ basement flooding.

“I’m disgusted that I’m even having to deny this. You should have called me the first time this happened,” she said on Twitter. It was later revealed Vardy had asked lawyers to carry out a “forensic investigation” on her Instagram account to prove her innocence.

The #WAGathaChristie plotline - allied to the association with elite sport and ‘fake news’ - was enough for the New York Times, the newspaper that prides itself on publishing “all the news that’s fit to print”.

The ‘Old Gray Lady’ noted that while Coleen is “not an infrequent presence in the British tabloids”, she revealed a new persona: “A detective who ran her own sting operation to expose the person who had betrayed details about her family life to one of those tabloids.”

It framed the drama within Britain’s wider Brexit malaise, and how the fall-out came hard on the heels of anonymous Downing Street briefings criticising the German government and the European Union: “Some observers suggested that Ms Rooney might be the one to find out who was talking.”

The Washington Post, too, was absorbed. The newspaper, most famous for its Watergate investigation that eventually brought down US President Richard Nixon, also noted the “five-month social-media sting operation” - perhaps with some admiration.

New York’s infamous tabloids couldn’t resist either.

The gossip section of The Post - Page 6 - had a relatively straight ‘she said-she said’ take. But The Daily News reckoned Rooney “smoked out” Vardy by using a tactic once deployed by the National Basketball Association to discover who was leaking memos to then Yahoo reporter Adrian Wojnarowski: “They sent all 30 teams slightly altered copies of the same memo and waited to see which version ended up a Woj Bomb.”

Others in the US interested included CNN (“Wives of English football stars embroiled in social media spat over ‘leaked stories’”), Sports Illustrated (“A spicy beef between English soccer wives”) and USA Today, which went as far as to describe the affair as “one of the great soccer stories of recent memory”.

“This story has everything: A mystery, an investigation, a surprise twist, a denial. It’s got it all,” its correspondent purred. 

The fascination is apparently not just among the English-language press.

The German tabloid newspaper Bild went with “Spielerfrau in geheimer Mission!” (or “Player’s wife in secret mission) and Norway’s Dagbladet teased with: “She started an investigation, and now she shares the surprising answer ...”

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