Millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi announced Sunday that he is divorcing celebrity chef wife Nigella Lawson because she failed to defend him after cameras caught him grabbing her by the neck at an upscale London restaurant last month.
In an "exclusive statement" to The Daily Mail,
70-year-old Saatchi said the photos of his hands around Lawson's neck were misinterpreted and that the action was "merely a gesture."
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"I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced," Saatchi said in his statement to The Mail. "I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way."
Divorce proceedings would end the 10-year marriage between Saatchi and Lawson, 53, daughter of one-time Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
Cameras caught Saatchi grabbing Lawson around the throat numerous times over a nearly 30-minute period at Scott's restaurant June 9, The Mail reported. When the photos were published on June 16, Lawson fled the couple's home with her teenage son. They have reportedly not spoken to each other since.
Saatchi has since denied that his actions were an assault or that he was trying to hurt his wife. He told The Mail the situation became worse when Lawson's public relations consultant suggested that he make a public confession about incident.
Lawson and Saatchi married in 2003 and lived in London with Lawson's son and daughter from her marriage to journalist John Diamond, who died of cancer in 2001, and Saatchi's daughter from a previous marriage.
Lawson reportedly declined to comment on Saatchi's divorce statement, according to her spokesman Mark Hutchinson.
Saatchi, co-founder of the Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency, owns one of London's biggest private art galleries.
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