Charles Saatchi’s latest excuse for choking Nigella: he was picking her nose

Nigella Lawson

Only a little over a week has passed since we covered the photos of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson being choked in public by her husband of nearly ten years, Charles Saatchi. In the aftermath, Saatchi laughed off the incident as a “playful tiff” and waltzed away with a police caution while Nigella fled their marital home and felt pressure to leave Saatchi while also declaring, “I am not some sort of battered wife.

In the past 24 hours, several more stories about Nigella and Saatchi have been published. The Mail has spoken to the photographer who witnessed the choking incident, and he has revealed that Saatchi berated Nigella for a total of 27 minutes, and the photog was snapping away during the entirety of their argument. That means Nigella endured 27 minutes of choking (with Saatchi grabbing her neck a total of four times) and nose pinching (in public), and nobody thought to find the situation disturbing or odd or decided to intervene. The Mail also has photographs of Saatchi and Nigella’s respective attorneys, Raymond Tooth and Baroness Fiona Shackleton, lunching together on Sunday at the same restaurant where the incident took place. Who knows what’s going on there, but I think we can make a hopeful guess.

In the meantime, Saatchi isn’t keeping his mouth closed at all even though he’s only making himself look like more of an ass. In those photos from the Mirror, one can see that he’s not only grabbing Nigella’s throat, but he’s also tweaking and pinching her nose quite a bit too. Now Saatchi says the whole thing was not only a silly little tiff, but Saatchi also claims that he was merely picking Nigella’s nose for her. SERIOUSLY:

Charles Saatchi

Nigella Lawson is planning to escape the spotlight surrounding her marriage to millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi by spending more time in America, it was claimed today.

Friends say that Ms Lawson may bring forward plans to fly to Los Angeles at the end of the summer to film a second series of her US TV series “The Taste.” She is looking at renting a house in LA during filming.

Details of the possible move came as she begins a second week living apart from her husband after the publication of pictures apparently showing Mr Saatchi grabbing his wife’s neck as they dined at Scott’s restaurant.

“Going to America may give Nigella the space from her husband to help find a way to repairing the damage that has been done,” said a Los Angeles TV source. “After all that has happened in the past couple of weeks, the States may be her best way of finding the privacy she needs.”

The reality contest, which co-stars US chef and author Anthony Bourdain, features Ms Lawson and other judges ruling on food with blind single-spoon tastings. The first season did little to raise her profile in America, where she remains relatively unknown.

There were reports today that the incident at Scott’s in Mayfair may have lasted as long as 27 minutes. Further images show him twisting his wife’s nose and putting a finger in her nostril. Mr Saatchi told the Standard today that “even domestic goddesses sometimes have a bit of snot in their nose. I was trying to fish it out.”

[From Evening Standard]

Even if Saatchi was completely telling the truth about picking Nigella’s nose like that’s a completely normal thing to in either public or private, I don’t get how he thinks we’ll forget that he had his hand around his wife’s throat and that they left the restaurant separately with Nigella wiping away tears. But sure. He was just wiping the snot out of her nostrils. Whatever.

Oh, and that detail from the Standard about how Nigella is allegedly planning on moving to the states to get away from Saatchi? Good plan.

Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson

Photos courtesy of WENN

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64 Responses to “Charles Saatchi’s latest excuse for choking Nigella: he was picking her nose”

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  1. Aud says:

    While it may be easy to roll one’s eyes and scoff at her denials about being a ‘battered wife’, these types of denials invoke more concern and awareness that women who deny such abuse often need the most help.

    • aims says:

      I agree. This just feels like the classic battered wives syndrome. Making excuses, denials, ect. What I find extremely disturbing is the constant paparazzi around her. Not only was she abused by her husband publicly, she is now being hunted down for a picture. The whole thing is really gross.

      Leave her alone. Hopefully, she will get strong and leave him. I just feel like she’s being exploited, and that’s just wrong.

      • Jag says:

        I disagree with the press leaving her alone right now. The press is giving her the pressure which is making her hopefully leave him. If everything went away, she’d crawl back to him and he would abuse her just as much, if not more than before. Having this all be public, for now, is a good thing, imo.

      • aims says:

        I understand where you’re coming from. I’m sure that the abuser has also torn her down emotionally also. She might be felling responsibility in this situation, which she shouldn’t. So I get a little protective here, because she shouldn’t feel hunted down. She shouldn’t feel shame, she needs encouragement, strength and no judgement.

    • keira says:

      Please, Nigella is not some economically challenged, dependent, no-name “victim” whose choices are stay with the ba$tard or leave him & end up a homicide statistic. Stating that women, esp financially independent career women, don’t know what they’re talking about when they say they don’t need outsiders “help” is insulting and infantilizing…yes, a form of abuse! They’re both adults; while I’m happy a camera caught Saatchi’s wretched behavior, this is for them to sort out, not an oppty for pushy, opinionated, Judgey McBitchersons to tsk tsk Nigella as if she’s a brainless, helpless, pitiful female unable to form a reasonable reaction on her own.

  2. Eleonor says:

    Saatchi is giving to the phrase “it’s not what it looks like” new meanings.
    I would kick him in the ass and do the same thing, seriously.

  3. Pastyousayyouneverknew says:

    *insert eyeroll*

  4. lisa2 says:

    It is interesting how she looks completely broken.. and he looks all happy pappy not a problem in the world.

    • Lucy says:

      I know he doesn’t give a rats ass about any of this…also I wonder what her children feel about all this? It’s not far fetched to assume he’s lashed out at the children before either

  5. crab says:

    I feel so bad for her, she looks so sad!

  6. Aussie girl says:

    Is he holding hands with that man??

    • ghoulish_moose says:

      I thought that too! I think the guy in black is escorting him, so they’re probably linking arms.
      Either that, or it’s a dodgy camera angle =)

    • Denise says:

      No, he’s not holding his hand, he’s just wiping the snot off it, silly!

  7. Jane says:

    My heart goes out to her. She needs to get away from all this madness and recoop.

  8. marie says:

    I’m sorry, what?.. that has got to be the lamest “excuse” I’ve heard in a while, utterly ridiculous.

    the photographer thought it was important enough to take photos for 27 MINUTES, but didn’t find it important enough to step in?

    Last thing, maybe I’m reading it wrong but something about this story is hitting me the wrong way. Like she cares (her handlers, people, whoever) more about repairing her image, than repairing her. I hope she moves to LA, and I hope she gets the help SHE needs.

    • Willa says:

      La is the LAST place she needs to go!

    • Nancito says:

      A lot has been said about why no one stepped in while Saatchi choked Lawson (and picked her nose for her) in public. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if she would have resented anyone’s interference. It’s not unusual for an abused woman to defend her abuser, and, in fact, to only stand up and be counted when someone tries to interfere.

      • dishy says:

        Also, sometimes when the abuser is confronted in public it makes it worse for the victim when the couple returns home behind closed doors.

  9. Jaded says:

    He’s jealous of her success, coming at a time when his career is winding down. Art collector? Really? He’s out to pasture now and can’t stand that she’s created a great career for herself. She’s often said he won’t eat her food. Doesn’t that strike you as ridiculous? The only way a megalomaniac ego like his can retaliate is through humiliation and intimidation. Get out Nigella, NOW, before his attacks worsen.

    • MoxyLady007 says:

      My father has narcissistic personality disorder. He never eats my mother’s food. It’s as though if it is delicious (which it invariably is) he will have to say something complimentary. And he can’t give compliments. Ever. Because to give a compliment in any way detracts from his importance. Also, if he gives a compliment then it upsets the balance of power. Ie. he has it all.

      • Katy says:

        WOW!!!!! I think I might have dated him back in the 80’s! 🙁

      • UsedToBeLulu says:

        Chilling. I’m beginning to think NPD is rampant: The new Zombie Apocalypse.

      • FassDaActor says:

        I dated THAT dude; THAT cancer. I lost hair and almost lost my mind. Got away from him Quickly. His behavior sneaked up on me. I thought I was impervious to such things but he found a door somewhere. They’re good at that.

  10. Cazzee says:

    She should come to America ASAP and just leave that mess behind her. Sometimes a bit of distance (like, five thousand miles) is helpful in getting perspective on what your life has become.

    Once in the states, Nigella can get some air and breathe.


  11. Bianca says:

    I almost cried at this.

    The “even domestic goddesses sometimes have a bit of snot in their nose” bit is the worst, I think. It’s such a humiliating, insulting, mean thing to say, especially as an excuse for hurting your wife in public. It makes me mad because only someone absolutely sure he’ll get his way would make such a remark. Disgusting. I feel bad for her and I want to kick him in the nuts, because even greasy, creepy old men sometimes need their testicles sorted out.

    • Kate says:

      Good catch on this. He seems to just despise her career and her success. What a wretched man.

    • Lee says:

      This was my first, exact thought upon reading the headline. This is simply a form of psychological abuse: public humiliation. Taking her down a notch or two.

      • dishy says:

        Agreed. He’s trying to show her that he has so much power and she is so insignificant that he can even do (insert abuse here) in public and nobody will help her. This time is seems to have backfired.

    • UsedToBeLulu says:

      Exactly. He is leaving us no doubt as to his abusive nature with this comment.

      Come to America Nigella. Get as far away from that ass as you can.

    • TKK says:


  12. Faye says:

    I think he needs a basic anatomy lesson (among other things).

  13. Belle Epoch says:

    She’s been with this asshat for 10 years? You can be sure he has been treating her similarly in private for a loooong time.

    I can’t get over her expression while he is choking her. The appropriate response would be to smack him but she looks like a sad puppy. I hope she has family and friends who will get her out of this because she has lost all perspective.

    Did she marry him for his money? Her concern for her “brand” is bizarre – unless she is way into money and status.

    • dishy says:

      Having come from an abusive relationship I can tell you that sometimes the behaviour sneaks up on you and you’re in a bad situation before you see the abuse trend. By that time the emotional damage has been done and your self image is so altered that it becomes difficult to see a way out.

  14. Loulou says:

    Nigella, go to America. Fall in love with another unlikely man, Anthony Bourdain. I can see it now, opposites attracting. He’d have a big enough mouth to put Saatchi in his place and your family is already used to unconventionality by now. Go. Be happy.

    Update: he likes her, he REALLY likes her

    • cr says:

      Anthony’s married. Though his wife, Ottavia Busia, has taken up MMA, perhaps she can kick Saatchi’s ass.

      • Violet says:

        Good point,Cr…except Saatchi was also married when he and Nigella first got involved; he left his second wife, the mother of his only child for her. The divorce caught his previous wife completely off guard; I seem to remember reading that she found out from their daughter’s teacher that her marriage was over.

        Nigella needs to get away from this abusive SOB and spend serious time with a therapist, if she thinks his behavior is acceptable in any way, shape or form.

  15. Nanz says:

    Leslie Morgan Steiner talks about not seeing herself as a victim of domestic abuse. Here’s a link:

    It’s amazing to me how abuse becomes “normal” behavior and women sometimes aren’t able to see themselves in that situation. Anyway, Steiner’s story reminded me of what Lawson has said about not being “some kind of battered wife.”

    Also, I’ve only been following this story with one hand over my eye and sort of peeking through as if watching a horror movie, so forgive me if this has been asked/answered, but was the photographer tipped off? I mean it seems like that would’ve been the perfect way out for Nigella if someone caught this sleaze on camera. I wonder if the photog was told that Saatchi was a monster and he decided to tail them.

    • Lee says:

      Thanks for that link. It’s helpful to understand the mindset that allows a woman to think she’s “not some battered wife”. From the outside it’s a bizarre form of denial of what is so obvious to us. To her, it’s a kind of special understanding a “strong” woman has for her poor, troubled husband. I think this is exactly what Nigella believes. Hopefully she will get some counselling to help her see that that ogre is not some special snowflake, whom only she can understand and save. She needs to save herself.

    • Cats says:

      Thanks for that link – it was fascinating. It is easy to forget how gradually abuse builds up and it can be hard to understand how seemingly strong, smart, successful women get trapped in the cycle but that was a powerful reminder.

  16. Alexandria says:

    That’s disgusting…my cousin is going through a similar situation. I witnessed the mental abuse first hand. She kicked him out of the house and vowed to finally divorce him (this is after 7 years of marriage and 2 kids later). I moved back to California (fom Washington state) after everything calmed down…only to hear through the grapevine that they’re now planning a family vacation together to Hawaii! Wth! When I heard that she was playing the happy family again after everything I saw, I flipped. But I know she has to leave him when she realizes that she’s sick and he’s abusive. I learned a valuable lesson staying with them though….money truly isn’t everything; especially not when you’re so miserable you can’t even get out if bed.

  17. Annie says:

    I know that people find it horrible that the photographer didn’t intervene, but he thinks like a photographer: I can’t intervene, I have to document this. You might think, what an a-hole! But I think it’s good that these pictures surfaced because maybe nobody knew her misery with this man and now everyone knows, and she now knows how outrageous it is that he treats her like this, that it’s not ok, that there’s no excuses, that it’s not her fault. Maybe her friends and family will step in and give her advice, maybe former battered women will reach out to her, and her a-hole of a husband looks like the biggest jerk in the world. His friends know, his colleagues.

    A few years ago I witnessed something similar. A famous Latin comedienne was being shaken from the shoulders by her husband. It was a public place, outside a restaurant. He was yelling at her and she looked terrified and was crying. I was with my mom and we didn’t intervene because mom said we would make it worse for her and this guy was SCARY. I was very young, I couldn’t do anything, I was like 14. The restaurant manager was aware too, so he looks out the window, asks if everything is ok in a very “can you stop that?” tone and they say yes and leave.
    I wish someone had taken pictures of that and published them because 7,8 years after this incident she’s still with him. And I’ve shared this story with people who have worked in the same studios as her and they say he does verbally abuse her still.

    Sometimes evidence like this can help people reach out the victim and help her get out while exposing the men. Like when Rihanna’s picture popped up in TMZ after she was beat up by Chris. TMZ is scum but we needed to see that picture. Chris Brown can never be left off the hook, and when Europe made posters with that picture protesting his visit, I think that was a very powerful message.

  18. diva says:

    I don’t see this woman leaving him unless someone forces her hand.

  19. Maria says:

    someone posted in an earlier post about this that an activist said you shouldnt intervene because it would make it worse, others say you should.

    does anybody know what to do? should you intervene or not? i would really like to know.

    • Londerland says:

      You can only react as seems appropriate in the moment. I know that if I turned a blind eye to abuse I’d be killing myself with guilt afterward and waiting for the victim to turn up dead on the news, so I’m not sure I could do nothing, no matter what the professional advice is.

      Abusers thrive on silence, and unless something happens to disturb the status quo, the cycle will never end. If people intervene, yes, there is every chance it might get worse – but if nobody ever says anything, there’s NO chance it will ever get better.

      • dishy says:

        I’ve found the dead-eye stare works wonders in public because it lets the abuser know he or she has been caught but doesn’t create a scene where they have to save face by ramping up the abuse later. This also works well with parents screaming at their kids in public.

    • Tig says:

      That’s a tough call – what I was always told was to call the authorities- and 99% of police depts now are pretty aware of DV- and most now thankfully prosecute even if the victim won’t cooperate, which is pretty common. Call police if you see any sort of weapon.

      If its yelling, cursing, etc- judgment call – but be fully prepared for the victim- usually the woman- to go ballistic on you- ” mind your own business,etc”. Not definitive, but hope it helps.

      Stop w/ the Bourdain- know its a joke. He’s married w/a young child!

    • EscapedConvent says:

      I could not believe more strongly that you must intervene, somehow. There are other ways of breaking something up besides being aggressive or harshly confronting the abuser. Even if we are letting the other patrons at the restaurant off the hook for not doing something about it (& I’m not letting them) I’m very upset that a waiter or a manager did not walk over to the table & say something, at the very least, while someone else called police. I see this lack of reaction as very irresponsible of the restaurant staff. 27 minutes is long enough to step in, for heaven’s sake!

      And the photographer—he doesn’t get off the hook either. 27 minutes was long enough. He “documented the situation.” Now get off your duff & help someone who is unable to help themselves, for any reason.

      If Charles Saatchi was doing exactly the same thing to one of their kids, would everyone have reacted the same way? It doesn’t matter that Nigella is his wife, it doesn’t matter that she’s used to putting up with this sick twist.

      Look at Nigella in the second photo—her face says everything. She didn’t even look this haggard & broken when her husband John Diamond was ill. I think Nigella fell into this relationship with Saatchi while she was still in shock & grief over losing her husband John. Her children were very young, & she moved in with Saatchi in a matter of months after Diamond’s death. I don’t think she was thinking clearly.

      This entire subject has me hopping mad. I find myself ready to write a treatise but I’ll stop now. I don’t think Nigella thinks she can get out of this, or she can’t envision her life without him. It’s classic battered woman thinking.

      Charles Saatchi sounds more despicable with every passing day. I keep hoping that Nigella will stay away from him long enough to ask herself what she sees in him.

      I’m sorry for the length of this post.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        @EscapedConvent: You make some really points, and your post underlines what a sad fearful situation Nigella is in.

      • Tig says:

        Your post was fine- I hate to sound so clinical, but volatile situations are just that. I would hate to think of a by-stander getting hurt. You are correct- most folks are appalled at seeing such behavior, and rightfully so.

        I am a bit more generous with the staff- they were at an outside table, and if they were told not to bother them for x amt of time, then that’s what they would have done. I believe the restaurant has gone on record as saying they had no notice of anything untoward happening.

  20. Gigi_New says:

    “In the meantime, Saatchi isn’t keeping his mouth closed at all even though he’s only making himself look like more of an ass…Now Saatchi says the whole thing was not only a silly little tiff, but Saatchi also claims that he was merely picking Nigella’s nose for her.”

    This makes me want to cry for Nigella and any of Saatchis’ other victims. It’s like the pompous arrogance is a personality trait of abusive people.

  21. Miss Kiki says:

    Compare their photos, whilst she looks almost broken, he looks nothing short of smug. I find it really disturbing that he has hasn’t even tried to feign remorse.

    • Tulip says:

      I know! It’s like he knows everything will go his way, and that the extra press will just help more people know his name and get him extra clients.

      I really hope he gets what’s coming to him, such a hateful old man.

  22. Simply Red says:

    Denial is something women constantly lives in when being abused. Learning to face the issue head on is another problem for women to do when facing these matters..

    Nigella doesn’t know what to do because she is force to face this head on with the public knowing and voicing their opinion. It’s hard when Ur forced to face something like that

  23. Nicolette says:

    Read about this yesterday at Daily Mail, there’s photos too. She looks really uncomfortable (who the hell wouldn’t be) and the post says the whole episode lasted 27 minutes. To me it just shows how little he thinks of her that he feels the need to clean her nose for her. It’s belittling and demeaning. And then he follows it up by grabbing her throat? WTF.

  24. Mia says:

    EWWW!! That is all.

  25. Maggie says:

    I feel so sorry for this woman. We dont know that she’s been abused or assaulted by her husband. It only appears that way. Now she’s being assaulted by the media. The price one pays for fame.

  26. Marianne says:

    I think its disturbing that this photog just snapped all of these pics instead of calling the police or stepping in and telling her husband to eff or something.

  27. hownowbrowncow says:

    This Saatchi guy sports abusive behavior and is an ugly old man. She can do so much better.

  28. Thiajoka says:

    I would get a lawyer, have those pictures brought in as evidence, take every damned thing I could get from that prick, move to America, and keep my kids away from him as much as is possible.

    And yes, it’s easy to say what I would do. But I’ve known women with less options, less money, and less evidence of abuse who moved on. I’ve also known many, my mother for one, who stayed because there wasn’t any money or familial support to get out. Mind you, I’m almost 50 years old, so we’re talking about the olden days somewhat. I still wish she’d left when I was young, but I was 25 before she left him.

  29. DeepFriedLies says:

    My heart goes out to her. She looks broken.

  30. Jayna says:

    The visual of a grown man in public reaching across a table to pinch his wife’s nose hard is frightening to me. It shows a man so filled with rage and he wants to inflict his rage on her so badly but he’s in public so he funnels that rage from his body and mind to twisting and pinching the tip of her nose hard. If only he had her alone he’s thinking. All I can think is you are so out of control you can’t even control your physical abuse in public and choke and pinch hard your wife. The evil and hatred she must have seen in his eyes as he reached across the table

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  32. Angie says:

    “even domestic goddesses sometimes have a bit of snot in their nose. I was trying to fish it out.”

    If one were to read a bit into these words they might think he didn’t mean them so literally, but rather, he’s snidely saying she was getting too big for her britches for his taste, and behaving like a snot nosed brat. He took it upon himself to put the ‘domestic goddess’ back in her place.

    He’s a real piece of work, IOW.