Skip to main content

Nigella Lawson: Flirtatious celebrity chef

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian, CNN
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 HKT)
British TV chef Nigella Lawson poses on October 9, 2012.
British TV chef Nigella Lawson poses on October 9, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lawson fans call her the "domestic goddess"
  • Her marriage with millionaire Charles Saatchi ended this year
  • Saatchi claimed in an e-mail the celebrity chef abused drugs

London (CNN) -- With her lashings of butter and flirtations with the camera, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has charmed her many fans by turning everyday cooking into a more sensual experience.

Her licking of her fingers as she talks viewers through her recipes have earned her nicknames such as "domestic goddess" and the "queen of food porn" in the British media.

But her successful cooking career has not been mirrored in her personal life lately. Her 10-year marriage to millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi has collapsed since photos of the couple having an argument at a restaurant emerged in June.

In the photos -- which were splashed across the front pages of national newspapers at the time -- Saatchi is seen with his hand around Lawson's throat. Saatchi accepted a police caution for assault, and the couple announced they would divorce soon after.

Now Saatchi is set to take the stand in the trial of the couple's two former personal assistants, who are accused of defrauding them of hundreds of thousands of pounds. They deny the charge.

In a pre-trial hearing, the defense read an e-mail from Saatchi to Lawson about the allegedly embezzled money, saying that the assistants would "get off" because, he wrote, Lawson was using cocaine and marijuana on a daily basis and "allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked."

Representatives for Lawson declined to comment on the allegations, citing the ongoing court proceedings.

Drug allegations against celebrity chef
Police caution celebrity chef's husband

Born in London, Lawson, 53, is the daughter of a former Conservative Party British Chancellor of the Exchequer -- or finance minister -- Nigel Lawson.

Her brother Dominic was formerly editor of The Spectator, a British conservative political magazine.

Before she married him, Saatchi ran Saatchi & Saatchi, a leading global advertising agency, with his brother in the 1980s. Its campaigns included the promotion of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher.

After studying at Oxford University, the celebrity chef began her career in publishing before moving into media, writing restaurant columns.

She met her first husband, John Diamond, while working at the Sunday Times newspaper. The couple had two children. In 2001, Diamond died after a battle with throat cancer.

Lawson went on to contribute to various UK newspapers before writing books.

In 1998, she brought out "How to Eat," in which she stated how food was an early love.

"I am not a chef. I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater," she wrote.

Her second book -- "How to be a Domestic Goddess," in which she taught readers how to feel just like that while baking muffins or cakes -- came out two years later and won her the British Book Award for Author of the Year.

Lawson went on to release a string of other successful cookbooks as well as host numerous cooking television shows, such as "Nigella Bites" in Britain. In the United States, she's been a judge on the ABC show "The Taste" -- due to air its second season from January.

She also launched a successful kitchenware range and once oversaw a lunch menu for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Lawson lists her recipes on her website and posts them on her Twitter account.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0916 GMT (1716 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
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.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
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 22, 2014 -- Updated 0130 GMT (0930 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 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 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.
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 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 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