NIGELLA LAWSON, the self-styled domestic goddess, discovered her 10-year marriage to the advertising guru Charles Saatchi was over yesterday after he issued a statement to the press.
Just four weeks after photographs were published showing Mr Saatchi with his hand around her throat, the 70-year-old art collector announced that he was divorcing her.
He disclosed he had taken the "heartbreaking" decision to end their marriage partly because she had failed to back him publicly over the row.
Mr Saatchi said: "I feel 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 couple are not thought to have signed a prenuptial agreement before their low-key marriage in 2003.
Mr Saatchi is thought to be worth around £130m (€151m), while Ms Lawson is worth at least £20m (€23.2m), thanks to her television and cookery career, which included the bestselling book 'How To Be a Domestic Goddess'.
Ms Lawson moved out of the couple's £14m (€16m) Chelsea home the day after photographs were published showing the pair rowing while they sat outside Scott's Restaurant in Mayfair.
In one, Mr Saatchi could be seen with his hand around his wife's throat and in another he was grasping her nose.
The photographer who witnessed the incident said the row lasted almost half-an-hour and afterwards Ms Lawson was pictured in tears.
The following day, Mr Saatchi voluntarily attended Charing Cross police station where he accepted a police caution for assault.
But he later issued a statement claiming the incident had been nothing more than a "playful tiff".
Mr Saatchi's statement concluded: "I am sorry that we had a row. I am sorry she was upset. I am even more sorry this is the end of our marriage.
"She remains the most wonderful woman in the world." (© Daily Telegraph, London)