Nigella Lawson's Crazy Love

My heart breaks for Nigella Lawson.


As most people with a TV, newspaper, or Internet access know, three weeks ago London bystanders captured pictures of the celebrity chef, author, and mother of two sitting on an outdoor restaurant patio, being choked by her uber-wealthy husband Charles Saatchi, co-founder of one of the world’s most successful advertising agencies.


Lawson has since said nothing publicly.  She has reportedly left the family home with her two children from a previous marriage, Cosima, 19, and Bruno, 17. Lawson, despite her wealth, beauty, and celebrity, is not alone: one-third of women report having been assaulted by a partner. Having been choked, held hostage, and beaten by my own husband, I can somewhat too vividly imagine the fear, denial, shame and confusion she must be experiencing right now.


Nigella Lawson’s husband, on the other hand, has been quite public.  And crystal clear that none of these shenanigans are his fault, and none of it is serious. His mindset is far harder for me to comprehend.


First Charles Saatchi told The Evening Standard that he grabbed his wife’s throat during an argument, for “emphasis." He also described the fight as a “playful tiff.”  He said Nigella was crying because of their discussion, not because he had strangled her.  Then he visited the London police and accepted a “caution” for assault, as if he had committed a minor crime such as littering or jaywalking.


I would like to make a few points here.


First of all, no matter how angry I have been in my life, whether at my husband, my parents, my siblings, or my children, I have never, ever grabbed another human being’s throat.  For “emphasis” or for any other reason.  Not in public.  Not behind closed doors. I have screamed, cried, thrown small pieces of furniture, and pulled my car off the road when angry.


But choke another person?  No.