Nigella Lawson has admitted in court to using cocaine a couple of times but says allegations that she is a drug addict are false. Taking the stand at Isleworth Crown Court in West London on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to give testimony in the case against Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, who have been charged with defrauding Lawson's ex-husband Charles Saatchi, the celebrity chef addressed recent claims that she has a drug problem. (The Grillo sisters have alleged that she let them use Saatchi's credit card in exchange for their silence.)
"I have never been a drug addict," she testified. "I've never been a habitual user. There are two times in my life when I have used cocaine."
Those two times, she said, were when her late husband John Diamond was terminally ill, and when she was -- in her words -- "subjected to intimate terrorism by Mr. Saatchi" in 2010. She also admitted she had "smoked the odd joint," telling the court "it made an intolerable situation tolerable." However, she added that it was "a false friend and not a good idea."
"I found the answer was in changing the situation and trying to create a tolerable situation for me and my family," Lawson explained. "I have to say, since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man, I'm now totally cannabis, cocaine, any drug-free."
The chef also spoke to the court about the now-infamous incident from this summer, when Saatchi was photographed with his hands around Lawson's throat. She claimed it happened after she saw a passerby with a baby and then commented on her desire to have grandchildren. "He grabbed me by the throat and said, 'I'm the only person you should be concerned with,'" she quoted him as telling her.
Earlier in her testimony, the U.K.'s Telegraph reports, Lawson accused Saatchi of using the trial against the Grillo sisters to damage her reputation. "He said to me that if I didn't go back to him and clear his name, he would destroy me," she alleged, adding that he "also started spreading false allegations of drug use."
"These allegations appeared on a PR blog that had been dedicated to salvaging Mr. Saatchi's reputation and savaging mine," she claimed. "I have been put on trial here, where I am bound to answer the allegations in the world's press, and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse, and I find it just like another chapter in that."