What is Wagatha Christie? Meaning of term in Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney libel trial - as verdict revealed

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The famous Wagatha Christie tweet ocurred back in 2019, when Coleen Rooney accused Rebekah Vardy of leaking stories about her to the press

The High Court trial between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney delivered its verdict today, Friday 29 July, with Mrs Justice Steyn finding in Rooney’s favour and dismissing the libel claim against her by Vardy.

Vardy had sued Rooney for libel over an accusation made against her on Twitter in 2019, in Rooney claimed that Vardy was selling stories about her to the press.

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Rooney, who said that Vardy had leaked information posted on Rooney’s private Instagram, was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” over the scandal as she detailed just how she came about her conclusion.

But what does Wagatha Christie actually mean - and where did it come from?

This is what you need to know.

What does Wagatha Christie mean?

Wagatha Christie refers to the 2019 scandal where Coleen Rooney, wife of former footballerWayne Rooney, accused Rebekah Vardy, wife of footballer Jamie Vardy, of leaking stories shared on her private Instagram to the press.

Wayne Rooney and Coleen Rooney depart the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand on May 10, 2022 in London, England (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)Wayne Rooney and Coleen Rooney depart the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand on May 10, 2022 in London, England (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
Wayne Rooney and Coleen Rooney depart the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand on May 10, 2022 in London, England (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Rooney made the accusation on Twitter where she explained that, after growing suspicious that someone in her life was selling the stories, she decided to make up fictitious stories about the goings on in her life, shared them on her private Instagram and restricted who could see the stories in order to figure out who the culprit was.

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After the fake stories made their way into the press, Rooney revealed in her now infamous post that the only account which had seen these private stories was “.......... Rebekah Vardy’s account”.

The dramatic nature of the reveal saw the scandal take the internet by storm - with Rooney’s detective work quickly earning her the title “Wagatha Christie”.

The name is a mashup of the famous mystery writer Agatha Christie and the acronym WAG which stands for “wives and girlfriends” of famous footballers.

Who coined the term?

There has been some confusion regarding where the term originated, with a number of accounts online posting the phrase on Twitter around the same time - however the true originator appears to be a comedian called Dan Atkinson.

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At 11:16am on 9 October 2019, roughly 45 minutes after Rooney’s accusation went live on the social media site, Atkinson tweeted: “Coleen Rooney: WAGagtha Christie.”

Since posting it back in 2019, Atkinson’s tweet has racked up over 20,000 likes.

Talking about the tweet, Atkinson said: “I knew the tweet was a neat pun, but anyone who says they can guess what will go crazy is lying aren’t they?

“I tend to stay off Twitter these days because for every amazing day like Wednesday, there are most days where it’s too chippy and reductive to be fun.

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“So given I stay away mostly, I must have had an inkling the tweet was decent.

“My first thought when I saw it trending was, “I wish I had spelt it correctly”.”

The comedian mistakenly added an extra “g” where it shouldn’t be in his tweet, writing “WAGagtha” instead of “WAGatha”.

Atkinson added: “As far as I know I was the first person on this one.”

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Who was Agatha Christie?

Agatha Christie was an English writer best known for her detective stories which featured hard to guess twists and endings.

Born Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie (née Miller) on 15 September 1890 in Devon, England, she grew up to become one of the best selling authors of all time.

Christie made her writing debut at the age of 11, when her poem was printed in a local London newspaper. It was when she was bedridden with influenza that her mother suggested she write stories to keep herself amused, and from there a passion for writing was born.

English detective novelist Agatha Christie (1891 - 1976), circa 1925 (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)English detective novelist Agatha Christie (1891 - 1976), circa 1925 (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English detective novelist Agatha Christie (1891 - 1976), circa 1925 (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Getty Images

By the time Christie reached her late teens, she had had a number of her poems published in The Poetry Review, as well as having written a number of show stories. It was after her sister challenged her to write a detective story that she began writing the types of tales that would define her career.

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After initially being educated at Miss Guyer’s Girls’ School in Torquay, Christie was sent to Paris in 1905 by her mother to study at a series of boarding schools, where she focused her energy on voice training and playing piano. At the time, Christie had ambitions of becoming a professional concert pianist or opera singer.

In October, 1912, Christie met the man who would become her first husband - Archibald “Archie” Christie. They got engaged three months after their first meeting.

This picture taken in March 1946 shows English writer Agatha Christie, in her home, Greenway House, in Devonshire (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)This picture taken in March 1946 shows English writer Agatha Christie, in her home, Greenway House, in Devonshire (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
This picture taken in March 1946 shows English writer Agatha Christie, in her home, Greenway House, in Devonshire (Photo: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

After Archie was sent to France to fight in World War I in August 1941, the couple married on Christmas Eve, 1914, when he returned home on leave.

In both World War I and II, Christie served in hospital dispensaries, with the knowledge gained from this role proving useful for future novels as she learned about various medications and poisons.

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Christie gave birth to her only child, Rosalind Margaret Clarissa, in August 1919.

In August 1926, after falling in love with a woman called Nancy Neele, Archie asked Christie for a divorce, only months after Christie lost her mother in April of that year, whom she had been extremely close with.

Following an argument with Archie on 3 December 1926, Christie famously disappeared for 11 days. A nationwide search for her ensued and it was eventually discovered that she had managed to check into the Harrogate Spa Hotel under the name of Theresa Neale.

1926:  English crime writer Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976) and her daughter, Rosalind, (right), are featured in a newspaper article reporting the mysterious disappearance of the novelist (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)1926:  English crime writer Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976) and her daughter, Rosalind, (right), are featured in a newspaper article reporting the mysterious disappearance of the novelist (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1926: English crime writer Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976) and her daughter, Rosalind, (right), are featured in a newspaper article reporting the mysterious disappearance of the novelist (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Hotel staff recognised Christie and police were alerted. Christie appeared to have possibly been concussed and suffering from amnesia, as she claimed to have no recollection of who she was, nor did she recognise Archie.

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Christie was an extremely private person, and this strange incident was never spoken of again.

She and Archie officially divorced in October 1928, with Archie marrying Nancy Neele a week later.

Christie went on to marry once again - Max Mallowan, an archaeologist who was 13 years her junior. The two married in Edinburgh in September 1930 and remained together until her death in 1976.

The famous writer passed away on 12 January 1976 at the age of 85 at her home at Winterbrook House. She is buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Cholsey, near Wallingford.

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What books did she write?

Christie is best known for writing 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections and the world’s longest running play - The Mousetrap.

In 1920, Christie introduced the world to the soon to be famous detective Hercule Poirot, who appeared in 33 of her books and over 50 of her short stories.

Novels featuring Poirot include The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Death on the Nile and The ABC Murders.

Writer Dame Agatha Christie, and her husband Max E. L. Mallowan, pose in March 1946 in the ground of their home, Greenway House, in Devonshire (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)Writer Dame Agatha Christie, and her husband Max E. L. Mallowan, pose in March 1946 in the ground of their home, Greenway House, in Devonshire (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
Writer Dame Agatha Christie, and her husband Max E. L. Mallowan, pose in March 1946 in the ground of their home, Greenway House, in Devonshire (Photo: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Christie’s other famous detective series starred Miss Jane Marple, a crime solving elderly spinster. Famous Miss Marple novels include The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, 4.50 from Paddington and A Caribbean Mystery.

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Arguably one of Christie’s most famous works features neither Poirot nor Miss Marple - And Then There Were None, published in 1939.

And Then There Were None has been voted time and time again as the world’s favourite Christie novel.

What was the outcome of the Wagatha Christie trial?

Vardy has lost the “Wagatha Christie” libel battle against Rooney after a High Court judge found it was “substantially true”.

In a much-anticipated ruling on Friday (29 July), Mrs Justice Steyn found in Rooney’s favour and said it was “likely” that Vardy’s agent at the time, Caroline Watt, “undertook the direct act” of leaking the information to The Sun.

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But she added: “Nonetheless, the evidence … clearly shows, in my view, that Mrs Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to the private Instagram account, sending her screenshots of Mrs Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt.”

Mrs Justice Steyn also said in her ruling: “In my judgment, the conclusions that I have reached as to the extent to which the claimant engaged in disclosing to The Sun information to which she only had access as a permitted follower of an Instagram account which she knew, and Mrs Rooney repeatedly asserted, was private, suffice to show the single meaning is substantially true.”

It is believed the total legal costs of the case will be in the region of £3 million, most of which will now be borne by Vardy.

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