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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Isobel Lewis

A timeline of Coleen and Wayne Rooney’s marriage – from childhood sweethearts to cheating

Getty Images

The life of Coleen Rooney – née McLoughlin – and her marriage to ex footballer Wayne Rooney have come under the spotlight in a juicy Disney+ docuseries.

The TV personality and fashion designer, 37, stars in three-parter Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story, which centres on her internet-breaking tweet about fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy and subsequent libel trial. It arrives on Disney+ on Wednesday (16 October).

The series also recounts Coleen’s sudden rise to fame after her childhood sweetheart Wayne, who she began dating as a teenager, became one of the world’s most successful footballers.

In the decades since, the pair have had four children: Kai, 13, Klay, 10, Kit, seven, and Cass, five. The couple have also faced their fair share of public relationship struggles, following multiple cheating allegations placed on Wayne.

Below, you can find a timeline of their relationship, from the Nineties to now…

1998: Coleen and Wayne are just 12 when they first meet in Croxteth in Liverpool. The pair are- soon in the same friendship group, while Wayne’s mother works as a cleaner at the girls’ comprehensive school which Coleen attends.

2002: Four years later, both aged 16 and having just left secondary school, Coleen and Wayne begin dating. Coleen later writes in her 2008 memoir, Coleen: Welcome to My World, that their relationship was initially very innocent, and that they would meet up “at the chippy or the cinema”.

Coleen cheers on Wayne at the 2004 Euros
— (PA)

This same year, Wayne makes his professional debut for Everton, having played with the youth team since he was nine. He then visits a brothel in Liverpool, and has paid-for sessions with three sex workers.

2003: Wayne and Coleen buy a house worth £1.5m in Formby, and get engaged.

2004: Wayne signs to Manchester United, the team he will play for until 2017. Around this time, it is revealed that he visited a brothel in 2002, when he allegedly paid for sex with sex workers Charlotte Glover, 21, Gina McCarrick, 37, and Patricia Tierney, 48.

Wayne releases a public apology, saying: “Foolish as it now seems I did on occasions visit massage parlours and prostitutes. I now regret it deeply and hope people may understand that it was the sort of mistake you make when you are young and stupid. It was at a time when I was very young and immature.”

Coleen doesn’t publicly comment on the claims at the time, but later writes that she and Wayne were yet to have sex when he visited the brothel. “The truth is, and I’ve never said this before, at that time in our relationship I’d never even slept with Wayne. I was only 16 and we weren’t having that kind of relationship at that stage,” she wrote.

2006: Wayne wins a lawsuit against The Sun and the News of the World in April regarding a defamatory story from the previous year in which the papers alleged that Wayne had slapped his then-fiancée across the face in a Cheshire nightclub.

The WAGs descend on the 2006 World Cup
— (PA)

Wayne’s lawyers argue the allegations were “completely false and indefensible”, and the papers agree to pay £100,000 in damages and publish “prominent” apologies.

Later this summer, the World Cup arrives in Germany, and WAG fever along with it. Coleen, Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham are often pictured together, with their antics dominating the tabloid press over the England team’s on-pitch action.

2008: Coleen and Wayne marry in Portofino, Italy in June and sell the photos to OK! magazine for a reported £2.5m. Among the guests are Wayne’s then-teammates Michael Carrick, Wes Brown and John O’Shea. The couple’s respective favourite bands, Westlife and the Stereophonics, sing at the reception.

It proves to be an emotional day, with Coleen wearing a custom gown from Marchesa estimated to have cost £200,000. On her extravagant dress, Coleen tells OK!: “Everyone’s been saying you only get married once so you may as well go for it! I was just nervous about whether Wayne would like my dress but luckily he said I looked lovely.”

2009: Coleen becomes pregnant with her and Wayne’s first child, and she gives birth to son Kai in November. The couple will go on to have three more children together.

2010: In September, The Sunday Mirror reports that Wayne slept with sex worker Jennifer Thompson during his wife’s pregnancy last year. It’s alleged that Wayne would go on public dates with Thompson, and that their last meeting occurred one month before Coleen gave birth.

Following the claims, Coleen moves herself and son Kai out of Wayne’s home and goes to live with her parents. However, they later reconcile.

In Portofino ahead of their wedding
— (Getty Images)

Soon afterwards, it’s reported that Wayne additionally paid £1,000 for a threesome with Thompson and another sex worker called Helen Wood.

Wood claims that Wayne had immediately regretted the tryst, asking: “Why the hell did I do that?” “He said, ‘I feel really s*** already – I’m begging you two not to say anything. It will ruin my marriage if it gets out. Having a kid means everything to me,’” she claims. Wayne does not comment on either of the claims regarding Thompson.

2017: The summer of 2017 sees Wayne leave Manchester United after 13 years, exiting as the club’s all-time top scorer.

In the early hours of 1 September, Wayne is arrested and charged with drink-driving after being pulled over by police following a night out in Wilmslow. However, the footballer is not driving his own car, but the VW Beetle of Laura Simpson,a woman in her twenties. Coleen is pregnant with their fourth child Cass at the time and reportedly rings Simpson to find out what had happened.

Simpson claims that she apologised to Coleen, but insists that nothing had happened between them. She tells The Sun: “She asked me to tell her what happened. She seemed unhappy with the fact that we had left a nightclub in a cab together to go to my car.”

Wayne pleads guilty to drink-driving and is ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid community work. He is fined two weeks’ wages from his club Everton. The incident nearly pushes the couple to breaking point, and they spend “time apart”, with Coleen going on holiday with just the children.

Watching Wayne in 2017
— (Getty Images)

But while Coleen declares three months later that she would have been “fine” as a single mum, she explains that she has decided to forgive Wayne again.

“I know I would be fine on my own, with just me and my children, but I don’t want to live like that, I want to try and continue our marriage and live as a family, because that’s what I want to do,” she writes on Facebook. “I know my own mind and it’s something I want to try and work on... Yes, it has been a s*** time.”

She also shut down claims that she was staying with Wayne for his money. “Not everything in our life is money related,” she writes. “People think when you earn a lot of money everything is fine, yes there are advantages, but this isn’t everything in life and it doesn’t always make people happy.”

2018: Rooney signs a three-and-a-half year deal to play for US team DC United in Washington, and relocates his family to Washington.

In December, Wayne is arrested for “public swearing and intoxication” in a US airport after triggering a door alarm. His spokesperson claims the footballer was “disorientated” after taking prescribed sleeping tablets and drinking on a flight.

2019: In February, one month after Wayne’s airport antics, the footballer is seen partying into the early hours of the morning with bartender Vicki Rosiek over Super Bowl weekend in Florida.

Months later, Wayne is pictured in a hotel lobby in Vancouver at 5am before following an unknown woman into a lift. Coleen, who was in the UK with her parents at the time, removes her wedding ring, while reportedly demanding he fly home.

Rooney (left) accuses Vardy publicly in 2019
— (PA)

The term “Wagatha Christie” is born in October 2019, when Coleen publicly accuses fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy of being behind leaking her private information to the press. Coleen claims that she planted fake stories on her private Instagram and made sure that only Vardy could see them. The fake stories include claims that Wayne and Coleen are trying for another baby.

Vardy denies the claims, but the words “It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account” quickly go viral, as fans praise Coleen’s detective skills.

Despite having two years left on his contract with DC United, Wayne signs a deal to return to England and work with Derby County as a player and coach.

2020: Vardy announces that she is taking Coleen to court for defamation.

2021: Wayne continues to work at Derby throughout 2020, and retires from playing in January 2021 after being appointed the team’s manager. But in July 2021, pictures begin to circulate on social media showing Wayne asleep in a Manchester hotel room surrounded by Snapchat model Tayler Ryan and her two friends.

While there’s no suggestion Wayne had behaved in any way nefariously, he releases a statement of apology for his “mistake”. “I went to a private party with two of my friends,” he says. “From me, I would like to apologise to my family and the club for the images which were going round.

Coleen and Wayne arrive in court for the trial
— (Getty Images)

“I want to move forward on this. I’m grateful to Derby County for giving me this opportunity to get this club back to where it belongs. I will do everything in my power to do that.”

2022: Wayne releases his own documentary, titled Rooney, on Prime Video about his life and career. Within the documentary, Coleen is given space to directly address her husband’s previous scandals, and says that she has “moved on”.

“It’s not acceptable what he’s done, but it’s happened and that was in the stage of life we were in at the time but we’ve moved on,” she says. “I forgive him but it wasn’t acceptable. If it comes up, we’d talk about it like we’re talking about it now. I haven’t got the anger I did at the time.”

Vardy’s libel lawsuit against Coleen goes to trial in May. In July, the judge rules in favour of Coleen, on the basis that her statements were substantially true. Vardy is ordered to pay a substantial proportion of Rooney’s legal expenses – combined with her own legal costs, the trial is estimated to have cost her £3m.

2023: Coleen releases her Disney+ documentary series about the trial and her wider life and career.

In interviews leading up to the series dropping, she defends her relationship with Wayne.

“We’ve had our ups and downs. Obviously everybody knows. It’s been hard to go through it in the public eye but there has always been love there. If the love is gone then, you know, it’s pointless. But if not, you’ve got something to work for,” she says.

“We own it. I remember having a conversation about this with someone and I said: ‘’Well, do you know what your wife gets up to every day and night? At least I know what my husband’s doing!’ It mightn’t be good, but I know. People lie to themselves.”

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