Nigella Lawson is one of the few TV chefs who is so famous her surname has been dropped – think Madonna, Elvis, Cher, Oprah, Kylie – but many of her fans don’t know the tragic history of her past marriages.
Behind Nigella’s effervescent personality and ever-present smile lies more heartache than many celebrities have to deal with in a lifetime.
Here’s everything you need to know about Nigella and her devastating two marriages.
Who is Nigella Lawson?
Nigella is a British food writer and TV chef, who got her own televised cookery show in 2002 with Forever Summer with Nigella.
Since then, she’s fronted Nigella, Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen, Nigella Bites, Nigella Express and Nigella Feasts among many others!
Her sexy voice and amazing cookery go hand in hand, and she’s become well known across the globe not just in the UK.
How old is Nigella?
Nigella was born Nigella Lucy Lawson on January 6 1960.
She is currently 60 years old – can you believe it?
She is the daughter of Nigel Lawson, a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Vanessa (née Salmon) Lawson, whose family owned the J. Lyons and Co. food and catering business.
Nigella attended Godolphin and Latymer School, London, and later graduated from the University of Oxford, where she’d studied Medieval and Modern Languages.
Nigella started work as a book reviewer and restaurant critic, later becoming the deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times in 1986.
She then embarked upon a career as a freelance journalist, writing for a number of newspapers and magazines, before writing her first cookery book, How to Eat.
Has Nigella been married before?
Nigella has been married twice.
She met journalist John Diamond in 1986, when they were both writing for The Sunday Times.
They married in Venice in 1992, and had a daughter, Cosima, and a son, Bruno.
Tragically, John was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997.
He died at the age of 47 on March 2 2001, leaving Nigella a widow.
One of the last things John said to Nigella was: “How proud I am of you and what you have become. The great thing about us is that we have made us who we are.”
Nigella later admitted: “Believe me, I spent a lot of time under a duvet. But if you feel you would stay there for ever, you have to push on.”
In 2003, Nigella married businessman Charles Saatchi, but the marriage broke down after a very public bust-up and scandal.
Charles is now dating TV personality Trinny Woodall.
What happened with Nigella and Saatchi?
The former couple dominated newspaper headlines when photographs appeared to show Charles physically abusing his wife.
The founder of Saatchi and Saatchi was seen with his hands around Nigella’s throat during an argument outside Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair in June 2013.
At the time, he called it a “playful tiff” but, just one month later, they were granted a decree nisi, subsequently ending their 10-year marriage.
She filed for divorce, citing unreasonable behaviour, and asked for none of his fortune – only the contents of the kitchen.
Nigella went on to reveal that it was a “tough time” to go through.
She later revealed he had attacked her at that time because she had expressed a desire for grandchildren, and he’d wanted her focus to all be on him.
Why did Nigella go to court?
Both Nigella and Saatchi gave evidence at the trial of two former assistants accused of fraud.
Italian-born sisters Francesca Grillo and Sharrine Scholtz were said to have spent more than $1.3 million, using credit cards given to them by the couple.
In court, Nigella described Saatchi as “brilliant but brutal” and admitted a history of drug use – which she attributed to hard times in her life.
She denied she was a drug addict but said she had taken cocaine seven times in her life.
Once with Saatchi when she felt she was the victim of “acts of intimate terrorism” due to his emotional abuse, and six times with Diamond after his cancer diagnosis.
The sisters were cleared of any wrongdoing, and won their legal battle.
Is Nigella Lawson in a relationship?
Nigella currently keeps her private life out of the spotlight.
Ever since her split with second husband Charles Saatchi, Nigella has not spoken publicly of her love life.
She lives alone in her West London home, where she films her TV series.
Nigella and cancer
Nigella’s beloved mum Vanessa died from liver cancer when she was just 48.
Nigella was 25 at the time.
In a devastating blow, Nigella then lost her husband to the same illness, although this time it was cancer of the throat.
In 1993, Nigella also lost her sister Thomasina to breast cancer.
Nigella and Thomasina were especially close.
Thomasina was just 31 when she died, and Nigella was nine months pregnant with her first child.
Does Nigella have kids?
Nigella has two grown-up children, with her first husband John Diamond.
Cosima Thomasina Diamond is now 26, and Bruno Paul Diamond is 24.
Nigella is “mended”
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Nigella admits she’s “mended”.
She says: “I’m not sure I would have thought I’d be a mended person, which I am.”
“[…] You plough on. It’s not a choice, it’s the person I am. When people say, ‘How is so-and-so coping?’ I always think, ‘How do you feel they’re coping? They’re not coping on the inside and they’re coping on the outside’.”
Nigella’s Cook, Eat, Repeat airs on Mondays at 8pm on BBC Two.
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