Coleen Rooney is steeling herself for a bitter legal battle with Rebekah Vardy, defiantly telling friends: "Bring it on."
The 33-year-old wife of former England captain Wayne Rooney sparked an extraordinary war of words last week by accusing her rival WAG of leaking stories from her private Instagram account to a newspaper.
Mrs Vardy, 37, who is married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, angrily denied the claim and threatened to sue for libel.
But a close friend of Mrs Rooney last night told The Mail on Sunday: "Coleen's view is, "Bring it on." She has got the evidence – it's all there.
"Coleen's evidence is bullet-proof and she stands by it all. If Rebekah wants to sue, she's welcome to.
"Coleen will fight her and the proof is there. If it's in court, it's not ideal but Coleen will follow it through."
As fellow WAGs divided their loyalties between the two women, Mrs Rooney partied until the early hours yesterday. Dressed in a black leather mini-dress, she joined the 40th birthday celebrations of close friend Dawn Ward at Vanitas bar in Manchester, drinking champagne and vodka cocktails until 4am. She was seen laughing with friends including Leanne Brown, the wife of former Manchester United and England defender Wes Brown.
By contrast, Mrs Vardy was seen in tears yesterday as she and her husband arrived back at their home in Lincolnshire after a holiday in Dubai.
The astonishing row began on Wednesday when Mrs Rooney revealed details of her investigation into the source of a series of stories about her family.
In a ploy that earned her the nickname "Wagatha Christie", the mother of four planted fake stories on her social media accounts. She then blocked all of her followers except Mrs Vardy, who still had access to her messages. The whodunnit-style trap was so secret that the Rooneys only told their management teams about it a few hours before the bombshell announcement publicly named Mrs Vardy as the culprit.
Mrs Vardy has now referred the claims to her lawyers and suggested the stories could have been leaked by hackers who broke into her Instagram account. Asked if she had argued with Mrs Rooney about the claims, she replied: "That would be like arguing with a pigeon. You can tell it that you are right and it is wrong, but it's still going to s*** in your hair."
Friends of Mrs Vardy, who is seven months pregnant, say the spat is putting her unborn child's health at risk. "We've got a pregnant woman here who shouldn't be subjected to all this abuse," said fellow WAG Nicola McLean, who shares an agent with Mrs Vardy. "Coleen Rooney – she's a mother. She knows this is not acceptable."
Mrs Rooney's camp say she is incensed by the attacks and believes her actions were not only justified but also necessary to draw a red line for herself and other women.
She is understood to be particularly keen to hear the findings of a forensic lawyer hired by Mrs Vardy to examine access to the Instagram account in order to find out who may have sold the fake stories.
"Coleen went public on this because the stories about her went public," said a source. "Why shouldn't she have a right to do the same? She did make it very clear that it was Rebekah Vardy's account that was doing this [leaking the stories].
"There have been times this week when she has been very, very angry at things that have been said. It has been a rollercoaster but she knows she's in the right and that's what matters."
The source said Mrs Rooney is protective of the next generation of England WAGs, such as Fern Hawkins, who is engaged to Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, Megan Davison, the fiancee of Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, and Katie Goodland, who is married to captain Harry Kane.
"These young girls are vulnerable to people wanting to sell them out," said the insider.
"Some of them fear something similar could happen to them but Coleen feels by doing this, it puts a marker down."
Friends say that Wayne, 34, has not spoken to Jamie Vardy about the situation.
"He has no interest in getting involved with any of it," said a source. "Football is football and he thinks Jamie takes the same view. He is extremely supportive of Coleen. The girls need to fight this out themselves."
- Mail On Sunday