Nigella Lawson used drugs "daily" for a decade, her former assistants told court. The allegation came into light during a pre-trial hearing in London where her two former assistants, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, were charged with stealing money from her former husband Charles Saatchi over 300,000 pounds ($484,600) to spend on luxury items and holidays.
Francesca and Elisabetta told the court on November 26 that Nigella used cocaine, cannabis and prescription pills "daily" for a decade, but she kept it from her then-husband because she knew he would "not have condoned" the action. The sisters said that Nigella authorized the use of Charles' company credit card for their personal use in exchange for their "understanding" to keep silence on the issue, U.K.'s The Telegraph reports.
"In a nutshell, we submit that she had a guilty secret from her husband, her then husband. She did not want him to know of her use of cocaine and that is highly relevant to the defense case," Elisabetta Grillo's lawyer Anthony Metzer told Isleworth Crown Court.
Prosecuting lawyer Jane Carpenter said, "This is a totally scurrilous account which has been raised by the defence, and the timing is no coincidence at all." She noted that despite being arrested a year ago and were charged in March, the two only made the allegation now.
An email dated October 10 from Charles to Nigella seemingly confirmed the drug use. Charles wrote, "Now the Grillos will get off on the basis that you were off your head on drugs and you allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked, and yes, I believe every word the Grillos said." A representative for Nigella, meanwhile, told E! News, "As court proceedings are live we can't comment, I'm afraid."