Super sexy gourmand Nigella Lawson is entangled in a legal mess involving her ex-husband and two former longtime assistants who alleged in court proceedings this week that "Higella"—as her ex is now referring to her—used cocaine, pot, and prescription pills "daily" for last 10 years. Girl can party.
The allegations were made by Lawson's two former assistants Francesa and Elisabetta Grillo. The Italian sisters had worked for the 53-year-old television personality since she was with her first husband (who died in 2001). But last year, Lawson's second husband, businessman Charles Saatchi, accused the women of misappropriating more than £300,000 (spending the cash on designer clothes and first-class plane tickets) and had them arrested for fraud.
But the Grillo sisters claimed in court this week that they were given permission by Lawson to use Saatchi's credit cards freely as long as they didn't tell her husband about her drug use.
The incident supposedly caused a lot of tension in Saatchi and Lawson's 10-year marriage. In June of this year, they were said to be fighting about the issue of the Grillo sisters when Saatchi was photographed choking Lawson at an outdoor restaurant. (She left him a few weeks later and the couple were divorced by the end of July.) According to the Grillos' lawyers:
It is our submission the row that happened, resulting in Mr Saatchi assaulting Nigella, may well have had something to do with Nigella taking drugs and may well have had something to do with the issue before this court [of whether Lawson had given the Grillos permission to use the credit cards].
And it would appear that Saatchi is in agreement—with the drug part at least. In an angry email that was partially read aloud in court (in which he refers to Lawson as "Higella"), Saatchi said:
Of course now the Grillos will get off on the basis that you were so off your head on drugs you allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked … and yes I believe every word they have said.
In another statement he made this week for the court, Saatchi backtracked a little—but not about the drug part:
At the time of sending the email I was completely astonished by the alleged scale of the drug use set out in the statements. Nevertheless I did believe the allegations. I have been asked whether it referred to a belief that Nigella permitted the Grillos to spend whatever they liked. On reflection I was simply speculating the sisters would use this material to defend themselves.
Lawson has yet to comment on the allegations.