Nigella Lawson's marriage to Charles Saatchi was far from perfect -- as evidenced by those now-infamous "choking photos" from early June -- but that doesn't soften the blow from his recent divorce filing. A source tells Us Weekly that the celebrity chef, 53, is "devastated" over her husband's move to end their nearly 10-year union.
"She moved out, she needed a break, she needed to think, to be apart from him, but in no terms did they break up or even discuss the D-word," the insider says. "She didn't expect him to pull this move."
In fact, despite their problems -- Lawson has been staying with family in the wake of their very public argument at London eatery Scott's -- the former Food Network star hoped they might still work things out. And now she's at a loss.
"Before all of this, their relationship was certainly strained, but they were always working on it," the source explains, citing her job in America as a point of contention. "There were a lot of things wrong with their relationship, but Nigella was always hopeful that they could fix things, that he would change, that they could get along without arguing."
"She's devastated," the insider adds. "Their family is falling apart, and she can't control the situation."
Of particular concern are her kids, Cosima and Bruno, from her marriage to the late John Diamond. "She's worried about how this is going to play out," the source says. "All she can do now is look after the children and make sure they don't get hurt in all of this. They are the most important people in her life."
As Us Weekly previously reported, Saatchi announced on Sunday, July 7, that he was divorcing his wife, in part because she failed to defend him after photos surfaced in which he appeared to be grabbing her throat.
"I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced," he told the U.K.'s Daily Mail in a statement. "I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way."
The statement continued, "This is heartbreaking for both of us as our love was very deep, but in the last year we have become estranged and drifted apart. The row photographed at Scott's restaurant could equally have been Nigella grasping my neck to hold my attention -- as indeed she has done in the past."