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Nigella Lawson Accused of Substantial Drug Use in Court by Former Assistants

Nov 27, 2013 05:37 PM ET
by Natalie Abrams

Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson has been accused of being a habitual drug user by her former personal assistants, according to the UK newspaper, The Telegraph

The allegations were made Wednesday in a pre-trial hearing in London by her former employees, Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo. The Grillo sisters have been charged with defrauding Lawson’s ex-husband Charles Saatchi out of more than $480,000 which they allegedly spent on holidays, designer handbags and other items.

Celebrities who’ve survived scandal

However, the Grillos’ legal team claims that the sisters had a verbal understanding with Lawson that they could use Saatchi’s company card in exchange for their silence on Lawson’s alleged drug problem, which they say included cocaine, cannabis and prescription pills. The defense alleges that Lawson used drugs daily for more than a decade, but kept it a secret from Saatchi because she knew he “would not have condoned” her actions. The sisters were arrested in August 2012 after Saatchi became aware of their excessive spending.

Lawson’s lawyer refuted the allegations, calling them “totally scurrilous” and untrue. The celebrity chef broke her silence on Wednesday and thanked fans for their support by sharing a link to a recipe for holiday hotcakes. “The perfect recipe to show thanks for all you support & to those who hashtag #teamNigella,” she tweeted.

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi are officially divorced

Lawson, 53, and Saatchi, 70, divorced in July, seven weeks after photographs were published that showed Saatchi grabbing Lawson by the throat during an argument at a London restaurant. Saatchi called the altercation a “playful tiff”, but later admitted to assaulting his wife. Lawson filed for divorce citing “unreasonable behavior” on the part of Saatchi.

Despite the recent allegations against Lawson, ABC still plans to air the second season of The Taste, on which she appears as a judge, according to Variety. Season 2, which has already been taped, will premiere in January.