Belfast Telegraph

Charles Saatchi: It was a playful tiff

Charles Saatchi insists photographs appearing to show him with his hands around Nigella Lawson's neck show "a far more drastic and violent impression" than what occurred.

Yesterday, British newspaper Sunday People published photographs of the 70-year-old art collector and his celebrity chef wife apparently arguing while at a restaurant in London.

The series of images have caused widespread condemnation as Charles appears to be putting his hands around his 53-year-old spouse's throat. He is also seen seemingly touching her nose and then pushing her face while they sat outside eatery Scott’s in Mayfair. After the incident Nigella was pictured looking tearful, but Charles has now released a statement about them.

"About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point," he told British newspaper the London Evening Standard.

“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.

“We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled."

The chef was seen leaving the home she shares with Charles yesterday. Her 17-year-old son Bruno, from a previous relationship, was with her and they had a suitcase with them.

Police officers have confirmed they are aware of the images, although a complaint hasn't been made. They are making enquiries at the moment, after which they will decide if anything else needs to be done.

Nigella is yet to release a statement about the incident.

The chef is said to have kissed her husband on the cheek during the incident, seemingly in an attempt to calm him down.

"It was utterly shocking to watch," a source told the Sunday People. "I have no doubt she was scared. She was very tearful and constantly dabbing her eyes. Nigella was very, very upset."

Charles and Nigella married in September 2003.

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