Skip to main content

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi take step toward divorce

By Laura Smith-Spark and Per Nyberg, CNN
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013
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
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
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