Charles Saatchi has threatened legal proceedings against his ex-wife Nigella Lawson in a case which could lift the lid on what he says are the reasons for their divorce.
Sources close to Mr Saatchi say “the truth” about the couple’s infamous bust-up at a London restaurant, which led to their separation, has yet to emerge, and that it will “paint the incident in an entirely different light” when it does.
A letter sent to Miss Lawson’s solicitors by lawyers acting for Mr Saatchi makes a series of allegations about the TV cook’s behaviour.
It is understood that Mr Saatchi could issue a writ against his ex-wife in the High Court as early as next week.
Mr Saatchi, who accepted a caution for assault after he was photographed with his hand around his wife’s throat, is said to be “determined” that the reason they were arguing becomes public.
A source close to Mr Saatchi said: “Charles has been portrayed as the villain in all of this but there is far more to it than meets the eye.
“Nigella has not given her version of what caused the argument and her silence speaks volumes.
“When she and Charles got together following the death of her first husband John Diamond, she gave him certain assurances and on the day they argued in the restaurant he found out she had not stuck to those assurances.
“Since then information has come to light that Charles sees as confirming the reason he was upset with Nigella in the restaurant.”
The nature of that information is set out in a legal letter sent by Mr Saatchi’s solicitors Rollingsons to Miss Lawson’s solicitors, BCL Burton Copeland, earlier this month.
The Daily Telegraph has been made aware of the contents of the letter, which was sent on Oct 17.
The solicitor to whom it was addressed said last night: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment.”
When Mr Saatchi accepted a police caution for assault in June he said he had agreed to the police action because it was preferable to being investigated by the police for weeks.
But he did not apologise for grabbing his wife by the throat and tweaking her nose in the couple’s favourite restaurant, Scott's, in Mayfair.
The couple ended their 10-year marriage on July 31 in a hearing that lasted just 70 seconds, and which neither of them attended.
Miss Lawson, 53, petitioned for divorce on the grounds of 70-year-old Mr Saatchi’s “unreasonable behaviour” and on the grounds that the marriage had “irretrievably broken down”.
She signed a “statement of truth” in which she answered “not applicable” to a question on whether the respondent’s behaviour had affected her health.
Neither party made financial claims on the other, and Miss Lawson moved out of the family home the day after the row in Scott’s.
Mr Saatchi has since been photographed holding hands with a new female companion at the same restaurant.
By Gordon Rayner