Charles Saatchi – celebrity art collector and husband of famous chef Nigella Lawson – has filed for divorce following the fallout resulting from pics showing him choking his wife in public in June.
The 70-year old announced the news via a statement released yesterday, blaming his decision on his wife’s refusal to defend him in public.
‘I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced,’ Saatchi announced on Saturday. ‘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.’
While calling the split ‘heartbreaking’, he admitted that he and Nigella had since last year ‘drifted apart’ and ‘estranged’ – while maintaining that the choking incident was ‘not violent’.
‘I am sorry that we had a row. I am sorry that she was upset,’ Saatchi continued. ‘I am even more sorry that this is the end of our marriage.’
His full statement:
‘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.
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.
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, although not in front of Scott’s with a photographer snapping away.
I must stress again my actions were not violent. We are instinctively tactile people. Yes, my hands were around her neck, and they had been touching her arm.
Difficult as it may be to believe, for those who have seen the pictures, there was no pressure applied to her.
In fact it was merely a gesture – one to which a still photograph gives a wholly different and incorrect implication.
Nigella has given a statement to the police to support this view.
I am sorry that we had a row. I am sorry that she was upset. I am even more sorry that this is the end of our marriage.
I wish Nigella only the best for the future, and for her continuing global success.
She remains the most wonderful woman in the world. I feel very fortunate to have had such a lovely wife for many years.’
Saatchi was cautioned by British police after the incident but according to reports by RadarOnline.com, he and Nigella had a blazing row – which ended in his telling her to ‘pack your bags and go’ – when he was approached by her reps to take responsibility for the assault and admit that he was ‘ashamed’.
‘Are you crazy? You know that’s not the truth,’ Saatchi had reportedly replied, to which Nigella shot back, ‘I think we have no choice.’
The couple married in 2003.
[Photos: The Picture Library, The Sunday People]