Skip to main content

Nigella Lawson: Flirtatious celebrity chef

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian, CNN
updated 4:15 AM EST, Fri November 29, 2013
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
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 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 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 5:45 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT