Tuesday 20 March 2018

Grillo sisters feel 'no guilt' over exposing Nigella Lawson’s drug use

Nigella Lawson's former personal assistants sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo
Nigella Lawson's former personal assistants sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo

Hayley Dixon

Nigella Lawson's former personal assistants have said that they feel no guilt over dragging her private life through the courts and forcing her to confess to using drugs.

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo say that although they won their legal battle it was the celebrity chef who won the hearts of the British public and they are confident she will bounce back.

The pair spoke to ITV's This Morning following their acquittal last month on charges of fraudulently using company credit cards, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on designer goods for themselves, while working as personal assistants to Miss Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi.

The Italian sisters claimed every purchase had been approved by their then-bosses and were found not guilty by jurors at Isleworth Crown Court.

In the witness box, Miss Lawson admitted taking cocaine several times, most recently in 2010, and smoking cannabis.

Elisabetta, who is known as Lisa, said: "I feel sorry that we ended up in that situation, that she did admit to that. But no, not guilty, because it was nothing to do with me, it's her life."

Her sister Francesca added: "It was our freedom. We were in court not because of her drug use or because we wanted her to be punished. In admitting it I think she was very brave to do so, good for her for doing so. But I didn't feel guilty."

"We have won the court case but definitely she had the most support from the public. She is well loved and she will always be loved and I am sure she will be fine," Francesca, 35, told the programme.

"She is great at what she is doing and I wish her all the best."

The TV cook whose series The Taste starts tonight on Channel 4 tonight said last week that her "only desire" during the trial had been to protect her children but "alas I couldn't always do".

The mother-of-two appeared on US TV show Good Morning America to promote her new show but was also asked about the court case, which saw her face allegations of drug-taking.

Asked what it was like to be a witness in the trial, Lawson told the programme: "I can't really remember exactly because you're so focused on answering the questions to the best of your ability that actually you don't really have an enormous awareness of yourself.

"Maybe that's a good thing. My only desire really was to protect my children as much as possible which ... alas I couldn't always do."

The Taste features Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson (Getty Images)

Ms Lawson added that having details of her acrimonious split from millionaire art dealer Mr Saatchi talked about in court under the glare of the world's media was "mortifying".

"To have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying, but there are people going through an awful lot worse and to dwell on any of it would be self pity and I don't like to do that," she said.

But she said that she was looking towards the future.

"Actually since then I've eaten a lot of chocolate, had a very good Christmas and am into the New Year," the food writer added.

Lawson admitted during the trial that she took cocaine with her late husband John Diamond when he found out he had terminal cancer, and in 2010 when she claimed she was being "subjected to intimate terrorism" by Mr Saatchi.

Police are reviewing her admission that she took the class A drug.

The self-styled "domestic goddess" was appearing on the breakfast show to talk about The Taste, which is also being broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 and has been described as MasterChef meets The Voice.


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