Nigella Lawson tells of ‘mortifying’ legal ordeal

TV cook Nigella Lawson has said her “only desire” during the trial of her and ex-husband Charles Saatchi’s personal assistants was to protect her children.
Nigella Lawson attempted to win over US television audiences yesterday. Picture: ContributedNigella Lawson attempted to win over US television audiences yesterday. Picture: Contributed
Nigella Lawson attempted to win over US television audiences yesterday. Picture: Contributed

The mother-of-two appeared on US television show Good Morning America yesterday to promote her new show, but was also asked about the court case, which saw her face allegations of drug-taking.

It was Lawson’s first live interview since the bruising court clash.

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During the trial of sisters Elisabetta and Francesco Grillo, who were acquitted, it was claimed that Lawson allowed her children to smoke cannabis.

Asked what it was like to be a witness in the trial, she told the programme: “I can’t really remember exactly because you’re so focused on answering the questions to the best of your ability that actually you don’t really have an enormous awareness of yourself.

“Maybe that’s a good thing. My only desire really was to protect my children as much as possible which . . . alas I couldn’t always do.”

Lawson added that having details of her acrimonious split from millionaire art dealer Saatchi talked about in court under the glare of the world’s media was “mortifying”.

“To have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying, but there are people going through an awful lot worse and to dwell on any of it would be self-pity and I don’t like to do that,” she said.

But she said that she was looking towards the future.

“Actually, since then, I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate, had a very good Christmas and am into the New Year,” the food writer added.

Lawson also commented on the fact that, as a witness, she was not able to have a lawyer defend her in court, unlike the two defendants on trial. “It’s one of the niceties of the English legal system that you’re not allowed any counsel if you’re a witness but maybe that will change, maybe that’s good,” she said.

Lawson admitted during the trial that she took cocaine with her late husband John Diamond when he found out he had terminal cancer and in 2010 when she claimed she was being “subjected to intimate terrorism” by Saatchi.

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Police are to review her admission that she took the class-A drug.

The self-styled “domestic goddess” was appearing on the breakfast show to talk about The Taste, which is also being broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 and has been described as MasterChef meets The Voice.

Wearing a black figure-hugging dress, Lawson spoke confidently about the case at Isleworth Crown Court in west London, which concluded last month.

During the trial, she accused art gallery owner Saatchi, whom she divorced last summer, of threatening to “destroy” her.

She said that, despite doing her civic duty, she was “maliciously vilified without the right to respond”.

The Grillos had been accused of fraudulently using company credit cards, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on designer goods for themselves while working as personal assistants to the celebrity couple.

But the Italian sisters claimed every purchase had been approved by their then-bosses and were found not guilty after jurors deliberated for nine hours.