LONDON – Prominent art collector Charles Saatchi said Sunday he is divorcing his celebrity chef wife, Nigella Lawson, because she did not publicly defend his reputation after images emerged of him grasping her throat in a posh London restaurant.
Tabloid newspapers last month published photos of the incident, which Saatchi described as a playful tiff during an intense debate about the couple’s children.
The 70-year-old Saatchi was given a police caution after admitting assault.
He told Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper that he was sorry to announce he will be divorcing Lawson, adding that they have become estranged and drifted apart over the past year.
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, he said.
In what the tabloid called an exclusive statement breaking the news to Lawson, Saatchi also suggested that Lawson had grasped his neck in a similar fashion in the past.
The Mail on Sunday said that Lawson was not made aware of the divorce move prior to publication.