This Side of the Pond

Notes from an Uprooted Englishwoman


December 3, 2020

I know there’s a lot going on in the world, but you guys are missing out on the most popcorn-worthy drama of the decade. It’s a feud that could only have happened in Britain, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy it.

This tale involves a unique group of women known as WAGs – a term I’m positive has never crossed your radar. For some reason, the tabloids of the UK think there’s as much to be said about what the wives and girlfriends (hence “WAG”) of our soccer stars are wearing as there is about what’s going down on the pitch.

And so, after every international game, we are regaled with information about which wife sat with which girlfriend, which fiancé snubbed which wife and what sunglasses each of them chose. It’s about as riveting as it sounds, but our gossip magazines are packed full of it anyway.

The most famous WAG of them all is, of course, Victoria Beckham, otherwise known as Posh Spice – but she’s far from the only one. Each new crop of players brings their own wives and girlfriends to the viewing box, where the “senior” WAGs who have been there for a while rule the roost.

Among these queens of the soccer pitch is Coleen Rooney, who is married to one of the UK’s best ever players and the international team’s ex-captain, Wayne Rooney. She’s not one of the original WAGs from the 2006 World Cup, when this phenomenon seems to have begun, but she’s been around a while.

Some of the current WAG crop have their own reasons to be interesting. Rebekah Vardy and Abbey Clancy are models, for example, while Shakira is a world-famous pop star.

Others, like Coleen, were thrust into the spotlight because the paparazzi wants to know what the wives of their husbands are wearing. I’m sure it hasn’t always been fun, but she’s still managed to carve out a career for herself as a successful businesswoman and media personality.

Coleen hasn’t always been pleased about what the press has said about her. Her husband’s affair was splashed all over front pages, for example, and she came to realize that, considering she’s a relatively private person, more personal and intimate information was making it into the hands of the tabloids than should ever have been possible.

Coleen became suspicious, and so began a scandal that still has the nation gripped today. She realized that someone on her personal Instagram account was informing The Sun newspaper about her private posts, and decided it was time to figure out who.

“After a long time of trying to figure out who it could be, for various reasons, I had a suspicion,” she said in the message that broke the scandal.

To prove her theory, she came up with the kind of sting operation you’d expect from the FBI. She blocked everyone but her suspect from seeing her Instagram and began posting a series of false stories to see if they then appeared in The Sun.

“And you know what, they did!” she said, listing articles about her apparently going to Mexico for “gender selection” therapy so she could have a baby girl, returning to television and even about her basement flooding. Must have been a slow news day for that last one.

“Now I know for certain which account/individual it’s come from,” she said. “I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories, which clearly show just one person has viewed them.”

Then she dropped the bombshell, and a nation’s collective gasp could be heard from here in Wyoming.

“It’s……………Rebekah Vardy’s account,” she said.

Her fellow WAG was quick to deny the allegations, penning a response that implied her Instagram account must have been hacked and telling Coleen that she should have spoken to her privately.

“I don’t need the money, what would I gain from selling stories on you?” she said, claiming that “various people” have had access to her Instagram over the years.

In yet another example of what happens when you let British people name things, the general public began referring to Coleen as Wagatha Christie. We all watched, riveted, to see what would happen.

After launching what she called a “forensic investigation,” which sounds extremely serious, Rebekah added fuel to the fire by saying she refused to discuss the issue with Coleen over the phone as it would be like “arguing with a pigeon.” She did not clarify why, which is a shame.

Things got nasty, with both sides hiring legal teams and Rebekah suing for defamation of character. That’s where we currently stand, with a million-dollar trial pending and, so far, the judge coming down on Rebekah’s side.

The supposed culprit has also spoken out about the impact this has had on her mental health, which does give one pause. Rebekah has been suffering anxiety attacks and has been hospitalized three times, while Coleen has seen her most personal information splashed all over magazines – stark reminders that these are human beings at the center of the scandal, no matter how entertaining it all seems.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to resist watching to find out who will ultimately be deemed the guilty party, because we’re all far too invested by now (and we’ve all decided which WAG we think must be telling the truth.) And if you’re worried that you’ve missed too much of the action, you’ll be relieved to hear that you may have a chance to catch up.

When news broke that the argument would be heading to court, Netflix heaved a sigh and took to Twitter. “We’re going to have to make a documentary about this, aren’t we?” they said.


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