No bliss in domestic goddess’s home
LONDON: Nigella Lawson moved out of the marital home she shared with Charles Saatchi more than a year before their break- up, it emerged this week in court.
Rather than living in the palatial family home near King’s Road in Chelsea, she moved south of the Thames to a property she owned in Battersea, a three-storey £1.4 million (R23.3m) residence. She lived there with one of the women now on trial for stealing from her.
It was only in June this year that Saatchi was famously pictured grabbing his wife’s neck outside a restaurant. After he claimed it was just a “playful tiff ”, she left home for good. He accepted a caution for assault, and divorce followed promptly.
But when Saatchi’s art gallery finance director Rahul Gajjar was this week questioned over the alleged £685 000 fraud by the couple’s former assistants Francesca and Lisa Grillo, it emerged that the marriage may have been troubled long before it ended.
Gajjar had told the court when the Italian sisters were accused of spending massively to their own benefit on family credit cards, they were given the option of both living rentfree while trying to pay back their allegedly ill-gotten gains.
The accountant said that Francesca was in fact already living rent-free in a property owned by Lawson in Battersea, and Lisa was given the option of joining her.
Gajjar then revealed that in fact at that point, in July last year, Lawson was already living in the Battersea house after leaving the home she shared with Saatchi. Gajjar said: “At some point she moved out of the residence.”
He did not explain why Lawson had left the family home, nor for how long.
But he said that although the Battersea home was Lawson’s, Saatchi paid the council tax as well as the water, gas and electricity bills.
Lisa Grillo ultimately turned down the option of moving in with her sister and Lawson in Battersea, and as the dis- pute with the celebrity couple turned into a criminal prosecution, Francesca moved out of the property. The Grillo sisters are now living together in a property in central London.
Lawson meanwhile evidently moved back into the family home with Saatchi – although the house is so enormous that she and Saatchi had large separate offices and rooms, with their three children also having their own kitchenettes.
Lawson finally left for good in June this year after the furore over the photographs of her husband “throttling” her broke out.
She now lives with her two teenage children in a house in central London. – Daily Mail
UNHAPPY: Television chef Nigella Lawson moved out of the marital home long before she and Charles Saatchi split. .
TIFF: Saatchi was pictured assaulting Lawson in a London restaurant in June this year.