'She was always in awe of celebrity' – Rebekah Vardy's ex-husband speaks out
"I was never abusive towards Becky."
The Wagatha Christie trial is still underway in the UK High Court.
The court case dates back to 2019, when Rebekah Vardy sued Coleen Rooney for libel after Rooney, following her own 'sting operation' publicly accused Vardy of leaking stories about her to the media.
Believed to be finishing up next week, the civil trial in the case began on May 10, and over the intervening weeks, we have seen both sides and their witnesses give testimony.
One person to not be called to the stand, but still keen to speak his truth – and defend his name – is Steve Clarke, Rebekah's second husband, whom she in the case accused of 'forcing' her to do the now infamous News Of The World interview, where she talked about her one-night stand with Peter André and described the singer as being 'hung like a small chipolata.'
During the trial, Coleen Rooney's solicitor grilled Vardy about leaking stories and respecting people's privacy – and read out extracts from her 2003 tabloid interview that included disparaging comments about Mr Andre having 'the smallest trouser equipment I've ever seen'.
On the witness stand, Vardy said: "I was forced into a situation by my ex-husband to do this. It is something that I deeply regret."
Clarke, who is now 57, has now spoken to Mail on Sunday about the incident – and his desire to clear his name.
"I feel sorry for Peter Andre"
"I was never abusive towards Becky, I was never controlling," Clarke explains.
"She did what she wanted, when she wanted and I never raised a hand to her either. The false claims against me have been upsetting me, my family and friends."
He added: 'I feel sorry for Peter Andre for what was said about him and now it's time I spoke out.'
The pair met when Rebekah was separated from her first husband, electrician Mark Godden, and she came to work for his timeshare business.
Clarke said he only really noticed Rebekah when she quickly became the talk of the office – because couldn't keep quiet about her one-night stand with pop star Peter Andre.
"Rebekah was chatty, fun and pretty, but I didn't know much more until everyone started talking about her spending the night with Peter. She had told colleagues and it became the talk of the office, and within a week of it happening, everybody knew what had happened. She could not keep it quiet."
Of her decision to do the interview, Clarke explains that the decision to tell all to the tabloid was Rebekah's alone after she spotted an appeal in the newspaper for stories about contestants in a forthcoming series of ITV's I'm A Celebrity.
"Becky said to me, 'Oh look, I should tell them about Peter Andre,"' he says.
"I asked her why she would want to do that and she replied that it would be a bit of money for her and it would be funny. I told her she should do whatever she wanted to do."
Clarke says his only involvement as far as the interview was to drive her to a photo studio in London and pick her up afterwards, after agreeing to the journalist's request that he not be present for the interview.
"I was told when we arrived at the studio that it wasn't a good idea for me to be there because it might influence what Becky may or may not say. I was also told it might be a little embarrassing for me, so she said she would call me when she was finished."
Clarke also reveals that Rebekah was overly interested in celebrities, and very much aspired to be one. The pair married in 2005, but the marriage was over by 2006, with Clarke explaining:
"I was not happy and I didn't feel she was contributing. I fell out of love with her and I knew it was over. I felt like I was being used for my money. I felt like I was the pay cheque."