Nigella Lawson’s husband Charles Saatchi has described the shocking pictures showing him holding his TV cook wife by the throat as a ‘playful tiff’.
Breaking his silence the art collector admits the astonishing pictures published in the Sunday People are ‘horrific’ but says they ‘give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place’.
He claims the couple were having an intense debate and that he ‘held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point’.
Saatchi, a columnist for a newspaper said, “About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.
There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.”
He added, “We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”
Asked to comment on reports that Lawson had moved out of the family home, her spokesman said: “I can clarify that she has left the family home with her children.” Lawson herself has made no comment since the pictures emerged.
The row occurred shortly after the couple had finished eating at Scott’s, a seafood restaurant. A Scott’s spokesman said: “The staff and management at Scott’s are aware of the reports in the media and would like to make it clear that they did not see the alleged incident nor were they alerted to it at the time. As this is now a police matter we cannot comment further.”
Meanwhile, Scotland Yard’s Community Safety Unit are currently ‘carrying out preliminary inquiries’ into the photographs, but that they have not received a complaint from Nigella or anyone else.
They added: “Inquiries are in hand to establish the facts in order to assess whether an investigation is necessary.” This means Saatchi is almost certain to be questioned by detectives within weeks about exactly what took place in the restaurant.
Violent past? Last December, there were concerns raised when she and Saatchi had a another bust-up at Scott’s. He put his hand over her mouth in an apparent bid to shut her up.