perfectly mundane meal with billionaire husband Charles Saatchi when he suddenly grabbed her neck in public choking her. The popular TV cook host Lawson and her 70-year-old husband were eating out at their favourite Mayfair restaurant when Charles was photographed placing his hand on her throat reports Daily Mail.
British television chef Nigella Lawson, author of new cookbook called "Nigellissima," is shown in a handout photo taken in London, courtesy of Hugo Burnand. Credit: Reuters/Hugo Burnand
Nigella Lawson and her children have left their family home after the public assault, her spokesman told The Telegraph.
The pictures show Lawson's eyes widen as she attempts to breathe and later a teary- eyed Lawson leaving the restaurant. According to Daily Mail (click to see the pictures), she kissed Saatchi on the cheek before leaving the restaurant clearly upset.
"Nigella was very, very upset. She had a real look of fear on her face. And yet she kissed him. She appeared to be a woman who loves him but was clearly unable to stop him being abusive, frightening and disrespectful to her," a witness was quoted in the Sunday edition of The Mirror.
"Saatchi launched a tirade of angry words. Four times he grasped her around the neck with Nigella, 53, looking powerless and petrified.
At first he used only his left hand, then both. At one stage he tweaked her nose then pushed both hands in her face. Twice Nigella jerked her head backwards as if in fear.
Several times she nodded intently while the conversation became more and more heated. By the end of the meal she was clearly distraught and in tears," reported the Sunday newspaper.
Fans and well-wishers of Nigella are expressing shock at the incident on Twitter. @meex_now tweets, "Disgusted by the people who witness Nigella Lawson being publically humiliated and attacked by her husband. You see someone being hurt? Help."
A news that breaks all pre-conceived notions about domestic violence, wherein a celebrity chef is abused openly in the purview of media brings up the question of the problems with masculinity, violence and how our society is getting increasingly regressive every day.
UK Labour party Member of Parliament Luciana Berger @lucianaberger tweets, "A man reportedly grasps a woman's neck 4 times in public & no one intervenes, incl. photographer who took photos. That's why @OBRUK_1 (One Billion Rising campaign UK) matters."
"I could not have looked the other way while Nigella Lawson appeared to have been throttled by her husband. I would've intervened," tweeted fan @yvonneridley.
Other tweets read, "@d0gf1sh Deeply disturbing! Charles Saatchi has just reduced himself to nothing more than a bully& a coward" and "@_tonyking Shocking photos of attack on @Nigella_Lawson and this is in public! Domestic violence is never acceptable. Leave him Nigella"
Melbourne based radio broadcaster Dee Dee Dunleavy has been receiving scorn from tweeple for saying, "Nigella, like it or not, you're a beacon for women from all walks of life" and therefore she must take a stance on domestic violence.
She clarified her statement by tweeting, "@DeeDeeDunleavy I did not call for boycott on Nigella's books. That's absurd. My point is that she should file a complaint with the police. Make a stand."
Meanwhile, The Independent has reported that Scotland Yard is seeking information on the incident.
"In an interview in 2007 Lawson, spoke of the couple's contrasting temperaments, describing Saatchi as an "exploder" and herself as a "festerer". She said: "I'll go quiet when he explodes, and then I am a nest of horrible festeringness."" The Independent states.