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Furious feud of soccer stars' wives briefly eclipses Brexit in nation's consciousness

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Image: Coleen Rooney during a photocall for the launch of her fashion and s
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Dominic Lipinski
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LONDON — For Britons weary of the seemingly endless Brexit process, light relief is welcome.

So a whodunit involving one of the country's notorious "red top" tabloids and an argument between the wives of two of England's most famous soccer players did much to enliven a dreary Wednesday.

Coleen Rooney, the wife of Wayne Rooney — England's record goal-scorer and previously a player at Manchester United, Everton and D.C. United — kicked things off by accusing someone of leaking stories to the tabloid press based on her personal, private Instagram account. She pointed the finger at Rebekah Vardy, wife of the Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy.

It had all started, Rooney said, when suspecting a mole she blocked everyone following her except for the account she thought belonged to the leaker.

Over a period of five months, Rooney posted about a series of fake events to see if they would turn up in The Sun newspaper, which pumps out stories about the country's WAGs, as the wives and girlfriends of male professional athletes are known.

"And you know what, they did!" Rooney wrote.

These included a fake story about her traveling to Mexico to get "gender selection treatment" for her unborn baby and a basement flooding.

Vardy denied being behind the leaks.

On Twitter the episode gained the hashtag #WAGathaChristie, an amalgamation of the British tabloid term for the partners of footballers, WAGs, and the mystery novelist. The spat eclipsed Brexit in Google search volume — for a while at least.