Charles Saatchi is seeking a divorce from his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, after 10 years of marriage, Britain's Daily Mail reports. The move comes weeks after pictures were published that allegedly showed Saatchi choking Lawson during an argument at a restaurant.
Saatchi claims the divorce was prompted by Lawson's unwillingness to defend him in the wake of the scandal. "I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced," he told the Mail. "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."
In a statement to the Mail, Saatchi admits that his hands were around his wife's neck, but insists the gesture was not a violent one. "We are instinctively tactile people," he told the Mail. "Difficult as it may be to believe, for those who have seen the pictures, there was no pressure applied to her."
Further, Saatchi claims that Lawson was also abusive during their marriage. "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," he tells the Mail. "The row photographed at Scott's restaurant could equally have been Nigella grasping my neck to hold my attention — as indeed she has done in the past."
According to the Mail, Lawson, 53, and Saatchi, 70, have not spoken since the restaurant incident, for which Saatchi received a police caution. The paper also claims Lawson will learn of the divorce filing through reading it in the Mail.
Lawson has one daughter, Cosima, and one son, Bruno, from her first marriage to the late journalist John Diamond.