Turbulent marriage laid bare in courtroom

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IT WAS a case about two PAs allegedly defrauding their employers so they could splash out on designer labels – but that was a sideshow in what became a courtroom drama about the end of a turbulent marriage.

With her seductive looks and frivolous attitude to cooking, Nigella Lawson became a celebrity who appealed to men and women alike.

She became a household name as her flirtatious presenting style earned her the title “queen of food porn”, but she is better known as the Domestic Goddess after the title of one of her many best-selling cookery books.

But her public perception has taken a battering during the trial.

Isleworth Crown Court was transformed into a battleground during the fraud trial where newly-divorced Ms Lawson and Charles Saatchi’s life together was laid bare for all to see.

Through their evidence about the Grillo sisters, the world was given a glimpse into the less-than-perfect marriage between the two high-profile figures, and left to wonder whether they were on Team Cupcake or Team Saatchi.

The jury heard details of an apparently miserable partnership in which multi-millionaire art dealer Mr Saatchi was in total control and had a temper to go with it.

Described as “two devouring animals” during legal argument, he and Ms Lawson each put forward their own side of the story during their appearances in the witness box.

Ms Lawson, whose her first husband, John Diamond, died of throat cancer in 2001, sensationally admitted to using cocaine during her evidence, but denied that she was a regular drug user.

She blamed her use of the Class A drug in 2010 on “intimate terrorism” she was subjected to by her now ex-husband, describing how she felt “isolated and in fear ... just unhappy”.

Far from the contented homemaker she appears to be in her TV shows, Ms Lawson described turning to cannabis during her final year of marriage to Mr Saatchi to make “an intolerable situation tolerable”, but declared: “I have to say since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man, I’m now totally cannabis, cocaine, and drug-free.”