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HANNAH BALLANTYNE: I couldn’t wait for the Wagatha Christie trial so why is it making me feel uncomfortable?

Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney are facing off in the Wagatha Christie libel trial.
Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney are facing off in the Wagatha Christie libel trial.

We can all remember where we were when certain news events occurred.

For my generation, that Kennedy moment came on a random October day in 2019 in the form of a tweet from Coleen Rooney.

As we all know by now, the footballer’s wife revealed she’d used an elaborate process of deduction to try to figure out how stories about her family had been ending up in The Sun newspaper.

Coleen – wife of England striker Wayne Rooney – had been posting fake stories on her own Instagram, which were only visible to the account of one “friend”.

The statement ended in the iconic payoff: “It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

And just like that the hashtag #WagathaChristie was born.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The group chat went wild. We all wanted to know everything.

And now it looks as if we might.

Wagatha Christie trial satisfies our thirst for gossip

Vardy has sued Rooney for libel in a case being heard in the High Court.

It’s a story of missing WhatsApps, an agent’s phone at the bottom of the North Sea and dubious claims about Peter Andre’s manhood. (Did we absolutely have to know about this?)

And as the evidence gets into full swing, the world is watching.

With fascination, and maybe a little too much attention.

Wayne and Coleen Rooney at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London. Photo: PA.
Wayne and Coleen Rooney at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London. Photo: PA.

It’s not unusual for people to become obsessed with celebrities.

It can get a little invasive but it’s modern life, isn’t it?

Social media has led us to believe we have a right to know what famous people are getting up to, and this in turn has created an obsession culture.

Twitter allows us to have live updates of anything that’s going on in the world, at all times.

Gossip magazines thrive off it.

Mix in a pandemic, when lots of us turned to true crime documentaries to pass the time, and you have, well, a hot mess, really.

Thousands of us are following the updates of the #WagathaChristie case in real-time on Twitter.

And I’m as hooked as the next person.

But even I am starting to wonder… is it all a little too much?

Who gains while we’re watching this Rebekah Vardy Vs Coleen Rooney catfight?

Just like the Jonny Depp and Amber Heard trial currently gripping TikTok, these are real people’s lives and maybe it’s not really any of our business.

In essence, this is a cat fight that could easily have been settled out of court – and for a fraction of the £1 million that both sides have already spent on legal fees.

Was there really a need to bring this into the public sphere? And who is gaining from our ghoulish fascination?

Women have made great strides towards being taken seriously in recent years.

And they’ve done it by working together.

I’m thinking of the #MeToo movement and the protests over Roe V Wade in the US, but also the response to Sarah Everard’s murder and the backlash over Raith Rovers’ signing of David Goodwillie here.

It’s not a great look to have two filthy rich, high-profile women slugging it out in court over something so petty – and women like me lapping it up.

So as much as #WagathaChristie has gripped our timelines, my own included, maybe it’s time to put down the phones and focus on our own lives a little more.

HANNAH BALLANTYNE: No TikTok, a ‘silly little walk’ won’t cure my anxiety

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