Wayne Rooney has described how the then England manager asked him to speak with Jamie Vardy to ask his wife Rebekah to “calm down” during the Euro 2016 tournament.
Mr Vardy’s representatives later told the press outside of the hearing that Mr Rooney was “talking nonsense” regarding the claim.
Giving evidence in the High Court on Tuesday, Mr Rooney also revealed that his wife Coleen Rooney has become “a different mother” and “a different wife” since her “reveal” post and Rebekah Vardy’s subsequent libel claim against her.
In a viral social media post in October 2019, Mrs Rooney said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Mrs Vardy of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press – prompting her to be dubbed “Wagatha Christie”.
Mrs Vardy, 40, who is married to 35-year-old Leicester City striker Jamie, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel.
Mrs Rooney, 36, is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.
Case documents were released on Tuesday showing the fake stories created by Ms Rooney on Instagram – and viewed by Ms Vardy’s account.
Former England captain Mr Rooney has attended court with his wife for each of the six days of the trial so far, sitting in the front row of court 13 in the Royal Courts of Justice.
But on Tuesday the 36-year-old moved into the witness box to give his evidence to the packed courtroom.
Mr Rooney described how he was asked by then England manager, Roy Hodgson, and his assistant manager, Gary Neville, to speak to Mr Vardy to ask his wife to “calm down” during the Euro 2016 tournament.
“They asked me, as captain, would I be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife and I think we all knew that it was an awkward subject,” he said.
“I’d need to speak to Mr Vardy and ask him to speak to his wife and ask him to say to ask his wife to calm down.”
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Mrs Vardy, said: “Ask his wife to calm down? She wasn’t dancing on tables.”
Mr Rooney replied: “No, she wasn’t, as far as I was aware.”
He told the court that he “100%” had the conversation with Mr Vardy but did not know if he then spoke to his wife.
Following questioning from Mr Tomlinson, Mr Rooney revealed he did not recall speaking with Mr Vardy to a Sun journalist about their conversation.
“As England captain, I would always try and protect the players in public as much as I could,” he said.
He later added: “Everyone knows the history between Liverpudlians and The Sun newspaper, I have never spoken to a Sun journalist on a personal level.”
Rooney is ‘talking nonsense’
Mr Vardy made his first appearance at the trial on Tuesday, sitting beside his wife and in front of their lawyers during the hearing.
His representatives claimed that Mr Rooney was “talking nonsense” in his evidence to the High Court.
The statement, given outside the hearing, said: ” He [Wayne] must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016.
“There was nothing to speak about, I know this because I discuss everything with Becky.”
‘It’s been very traumatic for my wife’
Mr Rooney also told the court that the period after his wife’s “reveal” post had been “very traumatic” for her and that he had watched her “really struggle”.
“For me and my wife, we don’t want to be in this court,” Mr Rooney said.
“I’ve watched my wife over the last two and a half years really struggle with everything, becoming a different mother, a different wife.
“It’s been very traumatic for my wife.”
He continued: “Hopefully, whatever the judgment is in this case, myself, my wife and our children can get on and live our lives because it was not something that we wanted to be part of.”
He explained that he was only made aware of his wife’s so-called “sting operation” when he woke up and saw the “reveal” post in October 2019 while in the US.
Read more: The Wagatha Christie case explained
Mrs Rooney is defending the libel claim brought by Mrs Vardy on the basis of truth and public interest.
It comes after Mrs Rooney publicly claimed that an account behind three fake stories published in The Sun that she had posted on her personal Instagram account was Mrs Vardy’s.
The fake stories Mrs Rooney posted on Instagram featured her travelling to Mexico for a “gender selection” procedure, a plan to return to television, 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.”