Footballers' wives at war change Britain forever

Coleen Rooney and her husband, Wayne.

London (CNN)At 10.29 a.m. on a bright but otherwise unremarkable Wednesday morning, Britain changed forever.

The catalyst was not another development in the country's unending Brexit saga, which had dominated newsstands for three years but instantly fell into irrelevance on that autumnal day.
Instead, the landmark moment arose from a single tweet from the wife of a star footballer.
    "This has been a burden in my life for a few years now and finally I have got to the bottom of it," wrote Coleen Rooney, a TV personality married to England's record goal-scorer Wayne.
      Attached to the post was a lengthy and gripping tale, in which Rooney describes months of amateur detective work she conducted on Instagram -- to find out who was leaking stories about her to a British tabloid.
      "Over the past five months, I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper," Rooney explained. "And you know what, they did! The story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV and then the latest story about the basement flooding in my new house."
      "I have saved and screenshotted the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them," she went on.
        And then, in a final, jaw-dropping twist unrivaled in British literature, delivered after extended ellipses that heightened the drama further still, Rooney wrote: "It's ..........Rebekah Vardy's account."

        Why do people care?

        Rooney's staggering implication of a fellow footballer's wife -- that of England and Leicester striker Jamie Vardy -- ensured the tweet served as the 21st-century equivalent of the bullet that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, setting off the First WAG War and immediately captivating the divided nation.
        The length and breadth of the country, jaws fell shuddering to the floor, and many Brits are still struggling to reinstate them. Here is one of the nation's most famous footballing wives -- a staple of tabloid front pages for more than a decade -- accusing a similarly established celebrity (or, at least, someone using her account) of a years-long program of deception.
        Twitter erupted. The faces of the two women were splashed on the front pages of multiple national newspapers. Netflix admitted it would need to make a documentary about the drama -- and Keira Knightley threw her hat into the ring to play Coleen in a film adaptation. It may never be known how many billions in lost productivity the spat has cost Britain.
        Vardy subsequently denied the allegations and suggested someone else may have used her account.
        But the fight turned brutal as celebrities and members of the public alike started taking sides. Vardy was asked in an interview by the Daily Mail whether the two women have argued about the incident. "That would be like arguing with a pigeon," she replied. "You can tell it that you are right and it is wrong, but it's still going to s**t in your hair."
        Rebekah Vardy watches as Jamie's England team plays during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
        Still, to international observers, WAGgate -- or Wagatha Christie, as it also became known -- threw up more questions than answers.
        Why is Britain spending the middle of a political crisis obsessing over an Insta-spat? Where did this saga come from? Who are these people? And -- most importantly of all...

        ...What is a WAG?

        In short, WAG stands for the "wives and girlfriends" of British footballers.
        Spawned by a perfect storm of public fascination with celebrity, romance and the country's national sport, WAGs own a unique space in Britain's public sphere.