Skip to main content

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi take step toward divorce

By Laura Smith-Spark and Per Nyberg, CNN
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A "decree nisi" is granted for celebrity chef Lawson and art collector Saatchi
  • After six weeks, the couple can apply for the divorce to be finalized
  • The divorce comes weeks after images of Saatchi grabbing her by the throat made headlines
  • Lawson and her children moved out of the couple's home after the incident in June

London (CNN) -- Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and her multimillionaire art collector husband Charles Saatchi took a step toward divorce Wednesday in London -- weeks after images of him grabbing her by the throat made headlines.

Neither party was at the High Court to hear the judge grant the "decree nisi," on the grounds of Saatchi's "unreasonable behavior."

But in a sign of the media interest in the proceedings, more than a dozen journalists were in court for the brief hearing.

After six weeks, the couple can apply for a "decree absolute," the legal document that will finalize the divorce, bringing to an end 10 years of marriage.

Court documents show that it was Lawson who filed for divorce. No details are given of the financial settlement agreed to between the two, each of whom is wealthy.

Tension between the pair hit the tabloids after Saatchi was photographed placing his hand around her neck and twisting her nose as the pair had lunch at a London restaurant.

TV chef leaves home after alleged abuse
Police caution celebrity chef's husband

Lawson and her children moved out of their family home as the media storm blew up.

Saatchi told the UK's Mail on Sunday newspaper early this month that divorce proceedings were under way.

"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," Saatchi wrote in the statement.

"This is heartbreaking for both of us as our love was very deep, but in the last year, we have become estranged and drifted apart."

Lawson, known as the "queen of food porn," has written numerous successful cookbooks and hosted several TV shows in Britain and the United States, including the ABC show "The Taste."

Saatchi, an art dealer and former media mogul, denied that he attacked Lawson but told a London newspaper that he voluntarily went to police a day after the pictures were published to accept a police warning.

According to a UK government website, a caution is issued for minor crimes and is not a criminal conviction.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT