British food television personality Nigella Lawson has recently been known in the U.S. for her bubbly and warm personality on ABC’s reality competition series The Taste, which allows a judges panel to try just one bite of a complicated dish. However, while her TV personality exudes a happy demeanor, things may be a little more complicated at home. Nigella Lawson and husband Charles Saatchi were recently caught at one of their favorite lunch haunts when an argument arose and got more than a little heated.

On Sunday, a report over at The Mirror was full of pictures of Lawson and Saatchi during the row. In several of them, the 70-year-old man has his arms around his 53-year-old wife’s neck, and seems to be choking her. Additionally, reports from those eating nearby in the restaurant say the debate was a charged affair in which Nigella was crying and daubing her eyes with a napkin. Yet reports from the site indicate she kissed her husband on the cheek at the end of the alleged argument, apparently hoping to pacify her husband.

Due to the vicious nature of the images, Saatchi and his rep spoke out to The Evening Standard to do some sort of damage control. According to the art collector and husband’s version of events, the actions between himself and his wife were “playful.”
“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point. There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.”

Regardless, witnesses on scene said the argument was heated and more than a little scary, although others have noted the couple does fight frequently. Lawson has yet to comment about the ordeal.

Currently, no arrests have been made after the incident and Lawson has not filed any complaints with the police. Still, things do seem to be on rocky ground with the celebrity chef and her husband of nearly 10 years. Reports indicate that Lawson left, taking her teenaged children from her first marriage with her at the end of the weekend and hasn’t returned since. The marriage is the second for the chef and the third for Saatchi, who is in the public eye thanks to running Margaret Thatcher’s campaigns.

It’s hard to understand how a public choking could be misconstrued, however, sometimes relationships can be complicated and emotions can run high. Here’s to hoping Lawson figures out whether or not this highly publicized event is worth sticking by her husband and the two can either work out their differences or move forward, apart. Hopefully, if she does return home so that they can celebrate 10 years together, Saatchi will take the abuse allegations seriously and will behave better moving forward.

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