Police are investigating Nigella Lawson's husband after photos were published in a UK tabloid yesterday showing him apparently grabbing her throat as they sat outside at a restaurant in Mayfair. Witnesses tell the Mirror that multimillionaire art dealer Charles Saatchi grabbed the TV chef's neck four times during a heated conversation, as Lawson cried and appeared afraid. Saatchi eventually walked off as Lawson continued to cry at the table before joining him in their waiting car. Saatchi tells the Evening Standard they were just having a "playful tiff" over their children, and insists "there was no grip" and he was just holding Lawson's neck "to emphasize my point."
But "it was utterly shocking to watch," says one witness. "She raised her voice and got angry but at the same time was trying to calm him down, almost like you would try to calm down a child." She even kissed him at one point, the onlooker says. "She appeared to be a woman who loves him but was clearly unable to stop him being abusive, frightening, and disrespectful to her." A Scotland Yard spokesperson confirms to the Telegraph that officers are investigating, though he says Lawson did not lodge a complaint against her husband of 10 years. She was spotted leaving their house with a suitcase yesterday morning, the Daily Beast reports, but Saatchi says she was just trying—at his recommendation—to get away from the paparazzi.