Charles Saatchi has announced that he is divorcing his wife celebrity chef Nigella Lawson after he was photographed putting his hand around his wife's throat during a row in a restaurant. In a statement to the Mail on Sunday, the 70-year-old art collector said that he wanted to end their 10-year marriage because she failed to defend him after the disturbing pictures emerged.
"I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced. 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," Charles said. He added, "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."
Nigella reportedly was not aware that her husband was filing for divorce. According to her friends, the mother of two was willing to give their union another chance, but then she was left "floored" and "blindsided" by his actions.
In June, Charles was pictured holding Nigella by her throat during a row at Scott's in Mayfair. He was also said squeezing her nose with his other hand. Charles offered an explanation following the alleged choking, saying that he did not hurt the celebrity chef.
"About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point," he said, adding that "there was no grip, it was a playful tiff." Later, he was interviewed by the police and accepted a caution for assault.
Nigella left their home with her children following the incident. Charles claimed that she moved out to avoid paparazzi who gathered in front of their home.