Nigella Lawson Admits Having Used Cocaine
Nigella Lawson has admitted she has used cocaine several times, but claimed her ex-husband has spread "false allegations" about drug abuse to ruin her reputation.
The 53-year-old told Isleworth Crown Court: "The idea that I am a drug addict or habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous."
The celebrity cook said art dealer Charles Saatchi had threatened to "destroy her" if she did not give evidence in court and she feels there is a "witch hunt" against her.
She said Mr Saatchi "told everyone" he was taking cocaine out of her nose after he was photographed holding her neck at Scott's restaurant in Mayfair, London, earlier this year.
She claimed the much-publicised incident was actually sparked when she commented on a person walking by with a baby.
"I said 'I'm so looking forward to having grandchildren'," Ms Lawson told the court.
"He grabbed me by the throat and said 'I'm the only person you should be concerned with'."
Ms Lawson said she believes Mr Saatchi had a mindset of "get her, I don't care what it takes" in relation to her and the current legal proceedings.
Ms Lawson is a witness in the trial of two former personal assistants, Elisabetta (referred to as Lisa) and Francesca Grillo, who are accused of spending thousands of pounds on credit cards loaned to them by Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi.
The Italian sisters deny the fraud charges against them.
Ms Lawson said the first time she used cocaine was when her late husband John Diamond found out his cancer was terminal, and she had it with him on six occasions.
"It gave him some escape," she said.
She said she also used the drug in 2010 when she was "subjected to intimate terrorism by Mr Saatchi".
"A friend of mine offered me some cocaine. I took it," she said.
Ms Lawson also admitted taking cannabis in the last year of her marriage to Mr Saatchi.
"I have to be honest, I have smoked the odd joint," she said.
"I found it made an intolerable situation tolerable. It's a false friend and not a good idea. I found the answer was in changing the situation and trying to create a tolerable situation for me and my family.
"I have to say, since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man, I'm now totally cannabis, cocaine, any drug-free."
Ms Lawson said Mr Saatchi was unaware that she used drugs during their 10-year marriage.
On Friday, Mr Saatchi gave evidence said it was a "terrible, terrible mistake" that a private email he sent to Ms Lawson, referring to her as "Higella" and claiming she had been off her head on drugs, had been made public.
When asked about the email, Ms Lawson described the allegations of her drug use in it as being "part of his plan of attack".
She was also asked about the word "pass" used in the email.
She said: "I had once made reference to a 'pass' because I had been punished for going to a girlfriend's birthday."
Ms Lawson said she had not been beaten, but said she was left with "emotional scars", which were "very wounding and very difficult and of course we know how things accelerated".
Ms Lawson admitted she had been reluctant to give evidence in the trial.
"I have been put on trial here where I am called to answer, and glad to answer the allegations, and the world's press, and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse," she said.
It is alleged that between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2012, the Grillo sisters committed fraud by abusing their positions while working for Ms Lawson and Mr Saatchi, who went through a high-profile divorce earlier this year.
The jury was told they are accused of spending more than £685,000 on themselves of the credit cards loaned to them by the couple.
Prosecutors claim the women lived the "high life", spending the money on designer clothes and handbags from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood.
Ms Lawson, who stood for the entirety of her evidence, stood told the court: "It's very difficult when you find out that someone you have loved and trusted could behave that way.
"In my heart of hearts I do not believe Lisa (Elisabetta) to be a bad person. I believe her not to have a very strong moral compass."
She added that she once took out £7,000 from her savings to pay for Lisa Grillo to have her teeth fixed.
The celebrity cook also said Lisa had been a "rock" when her first husband was terminally ill.
Ms Lawson told the court that Lisa had become "like a member of the family" while living with her but became "bitter" later on.
"She was not at all hardworking towards the end. Most of the time she was on Facebook," she said.
"I do not think her bitterness was towards me personally. I think it was towards her life."
The trial continues.