Heartbroken Nigella tight-lipped on rumours of impending divorce
Nigella Lawson has refused to dismiss claims that she is planning to divorce her husband, Charles Saatchi, after he was photographed holding her by the neck.
The television cook, known as the "domestic goddess", moved out of her marital home with her teenage children from her first marriage over a week ago.
She has since been seen in public without her wedding ring, but has made no comment about the incident despite Mr Saatchi (70) accepting a police caution for assault.
Ms Lawson (53) is said to have told friends she "wants out" and is on the verge of ending her nine-year marriage, according to a Sunday newspaper. However, her spokesman declined to make any comment when invited to respond to the report.
So far the only official statement Ms Lawson has made came last Monday, when her publicist confirmed that she had "left the family home with her children".
Mr Saatchi was pictured with his hand around his wife's throat as the couple sat outside Scott's, a seafood restaurant in Mayfair popular with celebrities, on June 9.
The millionaire art collector initially described the incident as a "playful tiff", claiming that he had held Ms Lawson's neck repeatedly to "emphasise my point" while the couple discussed their children.
However, Mr Saatchi later voluntarily went to Charing Cross police station and accepted a caution for assault. He explained that he did this to avoid having the incident "hanging over all of us for months".
Ms Lawson is now staying in a rented apartment in an exclusive private members' club in Mayfair and yesterday a suitcase with clothes spilling out of it was delivered to the five-storey block of flats.
Meanwhile, the paparazzo who took the pictures that sparked the furore has dismissed Mr Saatchi's claim that the incident was "a playful tiff" and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's suggestion that it could have been a "fleeting thing". The photographer, using the pseudonym Jean-Paul, said the incident lasted 27 minutes.
He told the 'Sunday People': "People have asked why I didn't intervene, why I didn't go over. The answer is simple – I would have been arrested. I'm paparazzi so everyone hates you to begin with.
"We are all lumped into the same category but I wasn't hounding her.
"The best thing I could do was carry on taking the pictures because now everyone can see that Charles Saatchi is an abuser." (© Daily Telegraph, London)