Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Admits to Using Cocaine

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is in the news again this week. After denying allegations of drug abuse by her ex-husband Charles Saatchi, Lawson is now admitting to cocaine use.

Saatchi’s accusations and Lawson’s confession came to light during the trial of two of her former assistants Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, two sisters are accused of making unauthorized charges with Saatchi’s credit card.

Nigella Lawson’s Cocaine Use: The Truth Comes Out

Saatchi’s Initial Accusations

Lawson’s alleged drug abuse first came to light in an email from Saatchi to Lawson — first sent in October — that was later used by the defense in the trial. Saatchi mused that the Grillo sister would probably avoid charges because Lawson used drugs like cocaine and marijuana every day and “allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked” as long as they kept her drug abuse a secret. His accusation matches the allegations made by the Grillos, who claim Lawson allowed their spending to ensure their silence.

Nigella’s Response

Initially, Lawson vehemently denied her ex-husband’s accusations, claiming Saatchi was using the trial as an opportunity to destroy her  with false allegations. According to Lawson, Saatchi was bullying her and attempting to repair his reputation, which was damaged after photos of Saatchi with his hand around Lawson’s throat surfaced in May 2013.


After his allegations rocked the news, during trial on Friday, November 29 Saatchi backtracked, asserting he had no knowledge or evidence of her ever taking drugs despite his email. He called the accusations a “terrible mistake” and explained that he was “utterly heartbroken” by their divorce, suggesting his allegations were made in the heat of the moment. With Saatchi dismissing his own accusations, it would seem that Lawson’s negative time in the spotlight would be over.

Nigella Confesses

But that wasn’t the end of Lawson’s drug-use saga. While testifying in the Grillo trial on Wednesday, December 4, she admitted to using cocaine during two critical periods in her life. The first was with her late husband, John Diamond, who died of cancer in 2001. Lawson says they used cocaine six times together as an “escape from his treatment.”

Her next bout of cocaine usage came in July 2010 during her marriage to Saatchi. Lawson says she felt subjected to “terrorism” and isolation, so when a friend offered her the drug, she took it. Lawson denies being a drug addict, asserting “I’ve never been an habitual user… I did not have a drug problem, I had a life problem.”

Why confess to drug use after Saatchi had withdrawn his statements? According to Lawson, in a letter sent by his legal representation Saatchi told Lawson he would “destroy” her if she failed to “clear his name.” She also stated that she wanted to “do the right thing.”

Nigella Lawson Drug Use: Moving Forward

If Lawson’s account of her drug use is true, then fortunately it seems the culinary expert and television personality does not have an issue with addiction and is only driven to drug use during periods of emotional distress. We can only hope that by coming clean about her drug use Lawson has firmly put it all in the past.

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3 Comments to “Celebrity Chef Nigella Lawson Admits to Using Cocaine”

  1. Jen Fallot 10 December 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Stories like this are all too familiar. It’s a shame that it came to light, but maybe she’ll use it as motivation to stay clean and focus on her career.

  2. Meredith Weiss 10 December 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    It’s sad to read about this situation. Exploiting a problem in front of a court definitely doesn’t help ease the matters.

  3. Ryan Carrigan 10 December 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Such a frightening round of situations. I could understand wanting to defend yourself, but trusting in someone else to cover up a lie isn’t a good thing at all.