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
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2016 GMT (0416 HKT)
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2042 GMT (0442 HKT)
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT