Nigella Lawson’s “Higellagate” – How Long Did Charles Saatchi Really Know?

Nigella Lawson’s “Higellagate” – How Long Did Charles Saatchi Really Know?

This is certainly an era of revelations – the lifting of lids on private lives and secrets that those involved had hoped would remain under wraps.  And it seems that no one is immune, including domestic goddess and International television chef, Nigella Lawson.  As the unintentional rolling story on Ms Lawson’s private life is gathering momentum, it may also appear that her husband at the time, Charles Saatchi could also have been aware of Ms Lawson’s alleged drug-taking for some time prior to current reports.  One might wonder then, how long did Charles Saatchi really know?  Whether the allegations are true or not, after recognizing the real and potentially damaging problems that could have ultimately led to the break up of their marriage, could Saatchi perhaps have also recognized Lawson’s need for help, knowing of her unhappy and tragic past and shown more support?

Lawson’s ex-husband, three-times-married and divorced billionaire businessman, Charles Saatchi, had formerly reached a private financial settlement with his now third ex-wife.  But could it be either unfortunate or clever timing on someone’s part that has brought on the exposure of his very private email to Lawson, accusing her of being off her head on drugs and “trashing” her daughter Cosima’s life by plying her with cocaine as well?  Rather than denigrating Lawson by alluding to her “habitual criminality,” and in light of Saatchi’s current beau, Trinny Woodall’s public admission that she too, is a recovering addict, one might wonder why a smidgen of understanding on Saatchi’s part wouldn’t have gone amiss at a time it was most needed.

It can be all too easy to view things from one perspective only and it is also clear that so many tabloids have been quick to jump on the accusatory bandwagon, brandishing Lawson as, “the domestic goddess that fell to earth,” or bandying comments like, “no one envies the domestic goddess now.”  But not one of them has really been too interested in covering how, if entirely true, Ms Lawson’s private issues appear to have suddenly reached such epic proportions in such a public way.  However, as the story continues to unfold, the public will form its own conclusions anyway.

If allegations by her two personal assistants, sisters, Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo bear any truth to them, then it becomes questionable how they could have stood by and accepted Lawson’s alleged permission to use Saatchi’s company credit cards to go on multiple shopping sprees, without caring that they were not actually helping Lawson at all but rather, themselves.  Or if, perhaps, according to Saatchi, the Grillo sisters were using embellishment of the truth to hide behind their embezzlement and fraud case, it can only be a matter of time before the truth will prevail, given the current nature of revelations on the karmic wheel’s agenda.

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo

But let us get back to the issue at hand, the issue that has as yet, gone unmentioned here: the issue of addiction.  In tandem with Lawson and Saatchi’s “Higellagate,” Trinny Woodall, former co-presenter of What Not to Wear, recently took part in a debate hosted by The Spectator, entitled, “Addiction is Not a Disease.”  Woodall led a strong argument against the motion and raised some poignant points relating to her own experiences whilst under the influence of vodka, cocaine and pills, also revealing that her ten-year addiction had led to her desperation to get away from the “fake, lying, thieving, cheating person” she had become.

During her speech, Woodall disclosed how both her grandfather and uncle had been alcoholics, the latter of whom had died as a result of his illness.  After being put through a succession of boarding schools from the age of 6 and a half, she also admitted that she lacked confidence as a teenager and “wanted so desperately to fit in,” so when she was presented with the opportunity to try cocaine one night, aged 16, she did so because she “wanted to be cool.”

It took a few years before Woodall began to recognize that her substance abuse was actually a problem and that her family had noticed a change in her personality.  She decided to come clean and tell them and needless to say, they were horrified.  Woodall said that she had made a half-hearted attempt to stop for a few weeks, but started using again, until she eventually overdosed and woke up in hospital.  Her mother was the one who drove her to a rehab centre.

Woodall’s speech can be heard here:

So could addiction or alcoholism be genetic?  Or could it develop as a result of some kind of traumatic or unhappy experience from the past?  In an article in the Daily Mail, Nigella Lawson was reported as having said that her mother, Vanessa Salmon, did not like her, that she never thought that she could please her mother and that she would suffer physical abuse from her.  Lawson had described her mother as “hot-blooded… funny but depressed and sensitive to noise.”  According to Ms Lawson, her mother had a tendency to lash out when any of her four children made too much noise and her mother would often say “incredibly hurtful things to her.”  Lawson also stated that she was sometimes encouraged by her father, former Conservative politician and journalist, Nigel Lawson, to have a glass of whiskey as she revised for her A’ Levels.

Sadly, Ms Lawson lost not only her mother to liver cancer, but her younger sister, Thomasina, 32, to breast cancer, as well as her first husband, journalist John Diamond to throat cancer in 2001.  Lawson was left to bring up their two children, Cosima and Bruno, now both teenagers.

Whether or not allegations about Ms Lawson or her children’s supposed drug habits became public knowledge, the fact remains that such family issues are issues that should have remained behind closed doors.

As things currently stand, Saatchi claimed at Isleworth Crown Court today that he did not know about Lawson’s cocaine habit, that he adored his former wife and that he is “utterly bereft” at the private email intended for Lawson’s eyes only, reaching the public domain.  He also claims that he could only assume that Ms Lawson had another agenda when she reportedly passed the email on to her lawyer, who was required to pass it on to the court, where it was read aloud, in front of Saatchi, as he gave evidence in the Grillo Sisters’ fraud case.

The irony here is that the celebrity ex-couple’s personal lives were not intended to become as exposed as they are now.  Saatchi had reportedly suggested that he was certain that Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo would reveal whatever they had to, in order to help their case.  Rather than take a pay cut and live for free at one of Lawson’s pads in Battersea in order to pay back some of the money they had reportedly embezzled from Saatchi’s company account, they said that they would rather go to jail.

The case continues.

By Brucella Newman

The Spectator

Daily Mail 

Sky News 1 

Sky News 2


Charles Saatchi Re-works the Old Beaten Track with Trinny Woodall


Just six weeks after his divorce was finalized with ex-wife, celebrity author and television chef, Nigella Lawson, 53, art tycoon Charles Saatchi, 70, and self-confessed style guru and fashionista, Trinny Woodall, 49, began dating each other and have recently been spotted again, whilst out at Colbert, in Chelsea’s Sloane Square, London.  The change of location from their regular haunt – Saatchi’s favourite Mayfair seafood restaurant – Scott’s, probably came as a bit of a surprise to paparazzi, as Saatchi continues to re-work the beaten track he once trod with ex-wife Lawson, only this time replacing her with Woodall.


The couple did not appear to be concerned with keeping their new relationship under wraps, not even since Saatchi’s public divorce from television chef Nigella Lawson in August, following the much-publicized images in the press that captured Saatchi with his hand in a vice-like grip around his wife’s throat while they dined outside at Scott’s earlier in the year.

watching the world go by

After Saatchi and Woodall’s seventh dinner date in less than a month at Scott’s, a posh eatery that Saatchi favours because he can sit outside and smoke while he eats, the new couple this time chose Chelsea’s Colbert for a drink so they could sit and watch the world go by on their lunchtime date.

A close friend had reportedly revealed to the Daily Mail that the style guru has practically moved in with Saatchi and that she has been staying over a lot at the marital home Saatchi once shared with his ex-wife.  The friend added that while some people might find their relationship “too creepy” and “too soon,” following the Saatchi-Lawson divorce, they continued that Saatchi and Woodall did not care, as they seemed to be so caught up in their new romance.

Friends of Saatchi had also reportedly been trying to get him back out on the dating scene, although it seemed that despite the odd mystery woman snapped with him at his favourite restaurant, he had apparently appeared unenthusiastic at first, until he met Trinny and the pair seemed to hit it off.


By the looks of the press photos, Woodall appeared to be completely absorbed in everything Saatchi had to say, as she seemed to captivate him under her spellbinding gaze.  This seemed to do the trick in encouraging him to open up and continue to reveal even more about himself.

Woodall, who rose to fame with her screen partner, Susannah Constantine from their BBC television show, What Not to Wear and ITV’s Trinny and Susannah Undress, has been reportedly single since her split from a decade-long marriage to billionaire businessman, Johnny Elichaoff, back in 2008.  The Elichaoff and Woodall union sadly began to fall apart at the seams, despite the former couple attending marriage guidance counselling culminating from irreconcilable differences as well as conflicts arising from Woodall’s increasing workload at the time.

With one divorce already in the bag for Woodall and another for Saatchi, there could either be much to talk about or not, over the dinner table, with notes to compare on their previous relationships, although there was certainly nothing else to keep Lawson in the country on the receipt of her decree nisi.  The luscious and unashamedly voluptuous domestic goddess jetted off to Los Angeles for a well-deserved summer break with her offspring, whilst also taking some time to shoot her new television show.  Lawson is back in London now, as confirmed by one of her tweets, which bore some utterance about diving into some delicious sounding roast chicken.

Some relationships were meant to last, while others’ were there perhaps for a period of learning.  Has Trinny Woodall not taken into account the glaring evidence relating to the lengths to which Charles Saatchi will go?  If she has learned anything by Saatchi’s track record, she does not seem fazed in the slightest.  In fact, some might even say that Woodall could be attracted to potential trouble.

Whatever the lessons learnt, here’s hoping that this time around everybody finds some degree of happiness and can finally move on.  But strangely enough in this case, as a mere observer, without being able to put my finger on it and hoping that I am wrong, I’m not really getting that sense of a match made in heaven.

Written by: Brucella Newman


Daily Mail 

The Mirror 

The Express 

Nigella Lawson Divorced from Charles Saatchi Today

In just under 60 seconds, Domestic goddess and television chef Nigella Lawson ended her marriage to her multi-millionaire art collector husband of ten years, Charles Saatchi, at London’s High Court.


Following the disturbing pictures of a 70 year old Saatchi choking his wife outside their favourite restaurant just weeks ago, estranged wife Nigella, 53, became the respondent of Saatchi’s application for a ‘quickie divorce’ at London’s High Court, after citing her husband’s continuous unreasonable behaviour.  Following the Decree Nisi, granting their divorce, the pair will now have to wait until September for the final Decree Absolute.


The former couple, reported to be worth an estimated £150 million, once shared a £12 million home in London’s exclusive Chelsea and are reported to have agreed not to publicly disclose terms of their divorce settlement.  It is believed that Saatchi dealt directly with Nigella’s lawyer and first cousin, Baroness Fiona Shackleton, to try to maintain his multi-million-dollar art collection and to divide assets, without dispute, in line with their pre-nuptial agreement of 2003.  Following the pictures, the highly published food writer, journalist and celebrity television chef moved out of their marital home and is now renting an apartment with her son Bruno, 17 and daughter Cosima, 19.  Bruno and Cosima, who are the children from Nigella’s marriage to journalist John Diamond, who passed away from throat cancer in 2001, were said to be the subject of Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi’s public argument a month ago.

Friends of Nigella have said that she had been willing to try to save their marriage, but was left ‘floored’ and ‘blindsided’ by his decision to announce his divorce proceedings against her so quickly and publicly.   Mr Saatchi had been seen at the restaurant with his hand around Ms Lawson’s throat, in a chokehold.  He was also reported to have tweaked and twisted her nose, even poking his finger up her nostril at one stage.  The police were called and Saatchi was cautioned for assault, but tried to brush it off as a ‘playful tiff’.


In a surprise twist, and to add to the public humiliation for Lawson, Saatchi, who accrued millions through various business deals, not to mention his advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, which he set up with is brother Maurice (now Lord Saatchi), seemed to have blamed Nigella for the termination of their marriage, making claims that he himself had made the decision to divorce her after she had refused to defend him in public.  He went on in a statement that he had ‘clearly become a disappointment’ to his wife over the past year, resulting in their drifting apart.

Saatchi, owner of the Saatchi Gallery, is said to have profited handsomely from his collection of art works by Damien Hurst, also collecting pieces from other unusual British artists, including Tracy Emin’s controversial ‘My Bed’ exhibition.  His collections are thought to be worth around £200 million.

Nigella is currently planning to fly out to Los Angeles, where she will be filming a new season of her television show The Taste, on the ABC Network.  Her children, who have been comforting their mother at her rented home, will also be spending their summer with her in LA.



More of Brucella Newman’s articles can be found on the Guardian Express website at: