British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, her multimillionaire art collector husband, are another step closer to divorcing
, just a month after photographs surfaced of Saatchi apparently choking Lawson.
The photographs in newspapers depicted Saatchi with his hands around Nigella Lawson's throat,
and a British judge issued a "decree nisi," which signals court approval of the application for divorce, according to Reuters.
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The photos also showed Nigella Lawson, hugely popular in Britain for her television cooking shows, in tears after the incident on the terrace of one of London's most fashionable restaurants.
The couple will now have to wait six weeks before they can be granted a "decree absolute," which will formally terminate their 10-year marriage.
Neither attended the 60-second hearing at London's High Court.
Saatchi, a former advertising tycoon of Saatchi & Saatchi in the 1980s, was given a police caution for assault, though he tried to play down the incident as a "playful tiff."
Nigella Lawson, 53, the daughter of former British finance minister Nigel Lawson, said nothing publicly after the row, but groups campaigning against domestic abuse and violence against women complained over the lack of action taken against the 70-year-old Saatchi.
A statement from Nigella Lawson's publicist earlier this month said that "neither party will be making any financial claims against the other."
Lawyer Fiona Shackleton, who represented Paul McCartney during his 2008 divorce from Heather Mills, was working for Nigella Lawson to bring the matter to a "swift and amicable" conclusion, the statement said.
"Both parties would appreciate privacy for themselves and their children at this difficult time," it said.
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Nigella Lawson, nicknamed the "domestic goddess" after one of her cookery books, married Saatchi in 2003 after her first husband, journalist John Diamond, died of throat cancer.
Nigella Lawson has two teenage children from Diamond.
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