Nigella Lawson Used Cocaine Twice; Says Saatchi out to 'Destroy Me'

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 12:39 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson admitted using cocaine only twice in her life and said that millionaire ex-husband Charles Saatchi threatened to destroy her with drug allegations, CNN reported of her testimony Wednesday in a trial of two former assistants.

The former aides, sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, are on trial for allegedly embezzling hundreds of thousands of pounds on company credit cards while employed by Lawson and Saatchi.

Lawson said her only run-ins with cocaine were with John Diamond, her late husband, after his cancer diagnosis, and once in 2010 when she felt "terrorism" from Saatchi, CNN said.

"I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem," she told the court.

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Lawson said during the trial that Saatchi issued threats and referenced a troubled summer. "He had said to me if I didn't get back to him and clear his name he would destroy me. 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."

Lawson told the court, according to CNN, that the Grillo sisters were supposed to use the credit cards for household expenses, but they allegedly spent large amounts on themselves. She said she was not aware of all the things the sisters bought on her dime.

The celebrity chef testified that the women on trial had worked for the family for several years. Lawson hired Elisabetta, also known as Lisa, while Saatchi hired Francesca.

"I loved Lisa," Lawson told the court. "She came to me in a difficult time in my life. She was a rock."

An accountant for Lawson and Saatchi testified last month that the Grillo sisters were spending $124,000 a month with the former couple's credit cards, The Associated Press reported. The accountant, Rahul Gajjar, said the money was spent on luxury clothing, handbags, first-class travel, and hotel stays.

The judge read an email from Saatchi in which he accused Lawson of abusing drugs on a daily basis and allowing the Grillo sisters to use the credit cards for their own personal use in exchange for covering up her drug use.

Lawson and Saatchi divorced this year after photos emerged in June depicting Saatchi with his hands around his then-wife's neck. The photos were plastered across major newspapers in England before the couple's split.

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