By Jess Glass, Tom Pilgrim and William Janes, PA
Rebekah Vardy has said a News Of The World article about singer Peter Andre is one of her “biggest regrets” as she entered the witness box for the fourth day of a UK High Court trial.
As part of her high-profile libel claim against Coleen Rooney, Mrs Vardy has spent at least 10 hours giving evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in what has been dubbed the “Wagatha Christie” case.
In a viral social media post in October 2019, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.
Earlier in the trial, TV personality Mrs Vardy was asked about a 2004 interview in the defunct tabloid about a sexual encounter she said she had with singer Peter Andre.
Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne showed what appeared to be an A3 printout of the article to Mrs Vardy in the witness box, before reading the headline: “Peter’s hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes.”
However, Mrs Vardy previously said that she was “forced into a situation by my ex-husband” to do the interview.
On Friday, Mrs Vardy was asked questions by her barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, about the article.
Mr Tomlinson asked: “Looking back now all these years, nearly 20 years since, can you remember whether the things presented in the article were things you actually said?”
Mrs Vardy replied: “There’s a lot of things in there that did not come out of my mouth that were misrepresented in the circumstances around that article I’m deeply sorry for.
“It’s shameful reading that, and one of my biggest regrets.”
After the article was mentioned in court, Mr Andre said he has taken “hit after hit” for 15 years in an Instagram post on Thursday.
He said: “If a man had said this about her anatomy and made up something, you can use your imagination, saying something very unflattering, there would be absolute outrage.
“But because it has been said about me it’s been the butt of all jokes, I’ve taken it for 15 years.”
Mrs Vardy was also questioned over the access her agent Caroline Watt had to Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account.
The former model explained that Ms Watt had access to her Instagram account password from 2017 when she appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Mrs Vardy told the court she “didn’t give it a second thought” that Ms Watt was able to see Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account.
Asked if she was told by Ms Watt that she was looking at Mrs Rooney’s account, Mrs Vardy said: “No she didn’t,” adding that it “was not even on my radar” when asked if she knew Ms Watt was “monitoring” Mrs Rooney’s account.
On Thursday, Mrs Vardy appeared emotional on several occasions during her cross-examination – including when she was accused of throwing Ms Watt “under the bus”.
Mr Sherborne said: “Would you not agree, Mrs Vardy, that if it looks like a leak and smells like a leak – and you even use the word ‘leak’ – it is more likely than not to be a leak?”
He added: “So when Mrs Rooney wrote on the October 9th that she was right in suspecting you and your account… She was right, wasn’t she?”
“No, she was wrong,” Mrs Vardy replied.
Mrs Rooney is defending the libel claim brought by Mrs Vardy on the basis of truth and public interest.
The libel battle comes after Mrs Rooney publicly claimed that an account behind three fake stories in The Sun that she had posted on her personal Instagram account was Mrs Vardy’s.
The fake stories Mrs Rooney planted on her Instagram during the sting operation featured her travelling to Mexico for a “gender selection” procedure, her planning to return to TV, and the basement flooding at her home.
In the post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she wrote: “I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. “It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”