Lifestyle & Belief

Charles Saatchi divorcing Nigella Lawson over 'choking' row

Charles Saatchi has announced his divorce from celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, four weeks after photographs emerged showing him appearing to choke her outside a London restaurant. 

Art collector Saatchi, 70, said in a statement to the press that he had taken the "heartbreaking" decision to end their marriage partly because she had failed to back him publicly over the row.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Saatchi — who accepted a police caution for assault following the incident — said:

"I feel 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."

The Telegraph cited friends of the couple as saying that they had not communicated since their public argument, outside Scott’s Restaurant in Mayfair, hit the headlines.

At the time, Saatchi had tried to downplay the photos, saying they depicted a "playful tiff" with his wife of 10 years.

However, Lawson — who married Saatchi in 2003 after her first husband, journalist John Diamond, died of throat cancer — moved out of the family home soon afterwards and has not commented publicly on the incident.

Lawson has two teenage children from her first marriage, Cosima and Bruno.

She is thought to have earned around $30 million from her TV and publishing exploits, significantly less than the roughly $213 million that Saatchi, a former advertising tycoon, is thought to be worth.

The couple reportedly did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement.