Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson says her ex-husband Charles Saatchi was bent on destroying her after a restaurant argument earlier this year went viral.
Testifying Wednesday in a fraud trial against two ex-assistants who once worked for her and former spouse, Nigella made the bombshell allegation.
"He said that if I didn’t go back to him and clear his name he would destroy me," the 53-year-old Lawson told Isleworth Crown Court in West London.
Nigella Lawson struggled to maintain her composure on the stand as she described the period since her divorce as "a long summer of bullying and abuse."
She told lawyers that her ex, 70, a wealthy global advertising executive and media mogul, threatened her when she balked at appearing in court.
Describing Charles, who she alleges choked her in a restaurant, "Yes, he did have a temper and I don’t think anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper."
She also noted that Saatchi "didn’t like to take part in family life."
She added that he would shout and swear at her frequently, confiding in an assistant of their fractured home life: "I don’t know how long I can take this."
The Taste judge also responded to allegations that came this summer from her ex-husband, who alleged Lawson had been using cocaine and marijuana daily.
He was forced to refute those charges, testifying last week that he’d never actually seen her use any drugs, despite alleged evidence to the contrary.
Lawson said those claims stemmed from a "PR blog" trying to clear Saatchi’s name after he was photographed with his hands around her neck in a restaurant.
Moreover, "When I left him I took no money even though I was entitled to it," Lawson also said, before adding that her independence "used to irritate Mr. Saatchi."
The assistants have been charged with spending more than a million dollars on her husband’s credit card, which they’d had access to for household purchases.
The two former assistants have denied the charges.