Nigella Lawson's husband disappointed she didn't defend him
ART collector Charles Saatchi has begun divorce proceedings against Nigella Lawson, citing his disappointment with the fact his wife of 10 years did not defend him after pictures showed him grabbing her throat at a Mayfair restaurant.
The 70-year-old multi-millionaire has faced a storm of criticism in the weeks since the pictures appeared in a Sunday newspaper, and he accepted a police caution for assault.
He told the Mail on Sunday that the decision to divorce would be "heartbreaking", but admitted they had "become estranged and drifted apart" in the past year.
"I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced," he said.
"I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way."
In the immediate aftermath of the photos' publication, Saatchi dismissed the row on the restaurant terrace as a "playful tiff', and he maintained that his actions "were not violent".
"We are instinctively tactile people," he said. "Yes, my hands had been around her neck, and they had been touching her arm. Difficult as it may be to believe, for those who have seen the pictures, there was no pressure applied to her."
Lawson was thought to have been unaware of her husband's divorce ultimatum until it appeared in the newspaper, and her spokesman said: "There is no comment from Nigella."
Saatchi claimed that he was advised by Lawson's PR representative to apologise and admit he was ashamed of what happened, but knowing this was not the truth he refused and told the 53-year-old celebrity cook to pack her bags and leave their home.
However, Saatchi said he wished the 53-year-old celebrity cook "only the best for her future and for her continuing global success". He said she was "the most wonderful woman in the world" and felt very fortunate "to have had such a lovely wife for many years".
Lawson and Saatchi married in 2003. She has two children, Cosima and Bruno, from her marriage to journalist John Diamond, who died of throat cancer in 2001.