Celebrity Features

Tuesday 29 July 2014

The man who came to dinner and left table manners behind

A different date, the same outdoors restaurant and more drama from the king of tears, Charles Saatchi

Julia Molony

Published 08/06/2014|02:30

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Charles Saatchi
Charles Saatchi

Perhaps they should name Charles Saatchi's favourite table at Scotts the Table of Tears. For it is there that he brings his women to watch them cry.

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Just months after the terrace spot at the landmark London restaurant was laid out as the scene of the domestic shake-down that launched this year's most high-profile divorce scandal, Saatchi has been back again to the same place weaving a whole new tabloid drama with his new partner – fashion writer Trinny Woodall. It was her turn, last week, to sob behind her sunglasses. Nigella has given up the public weeping now. While her ex still haunts the same streets of Mayfair, she has moved on, and is these days more likely to be seen shooting selfies with supermodels and Stephen Fry at star-studded parties. Nigella's 2014 pose is "champagne face" – the tipsy eyes and jokey pout a master class in post-divorce triumphalism.

She's left the role of Saatchi's tearful consort to somebody else. And Woodall has taken up the baton with enthusiasm, regularly trailing the advertising mogul to his favourite table (outdoors, where he can smoke). Lurking paparazzi be damned.

Saatchi is a man of habit, it seems. Not one to be put off his usual lunching routines by the bitter aftertaste of a police caution and monumentally acrimonious split. Most people might imagine that after all the drama, and the high likelihood of ongoing surveillance, that Saatchi might choose somewhere else to dine, if for no other reason than to protect the privacy of his date.

But no, it seems for now Saatchi and Trinny are content to perform their early-affair spats in full view of the watching world. Perhaps in fact he likes it that way? Last Sunday, pictures were published of what looked very much like a row between the two. Though this time, a role reversal was in evidence, with Charles the glum, impassive one, and Trinny doing all the talking. As Nigella-gate proved so dramatically, it's very hard to interpret the tone and subject of a row when all you have to go on is pictures and mime, but Woodall seemed to spring off her chair at one point to remonstrate with her boyfriend, after which Saatchi stalked off to his car, leaving Trinny at the table to mop up the tears herself.

A few days, and a blow-dry later, Trinny had composed herself and took to Instagram (where she is only slightly less visible than in front of Scotts) to insist that the whole thing was just "a storm in a B cup," adding, in case the crying gave anyone the wrong impression, that she was "very happy".

Saatchi himself was less inclined to pour oil on troubled waters, telling a journalist who ask what happened, "why not send a photographer to Scotts tomorrow lunchtime and I will give Trinny a good throttling in time for your deadline". Proving that though he may have publically apologised last year for what looked like unforgivably rough treatment of his wife, he is unrepentant, and clearly considers himself to be the wounded party. "How would you like it if someone was looking at you while you were eating?" he went on, apparently still surprised that out there, on a street side restaurant in an area where photographers regularly patrol, that he can be seen.

In any case, in under a week, the pair were back again at the exact same table, this time all smiles – which either serves to acquit Saatchi somewhat this time around, or prove that Trinny is a glutton for punishment, depending on your view. Certainly her unwavering support of him has helped no end in the rehabilitation of his image, tears or no tears. Friends call her "the nicest woman in London", and her support of him is resolute. When a contact of hers on Instagram questioned the wisdom of her new relationship in public a short time ago, she responded with a cheery dismissal, saying, "my darling girl – don't believe what you read in the press".

Whatever was making her cry last week seems to have been forgotten. But two things are clear: One, a man so rigid that he refuses to dine indoors in order to spare his girlfriends from the glare of the paparazzi can't be easy to live with, to say the least. And two, Scotts might have some of the best seafood in London, but dining there on Saatchi's tab (and arm) doesn't actually look like all that much fun.

Sunday Independent

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