Nigella Lawson blindsided by divorce

London - Nigella Lawson had "no idea" her husband Charles Saatchi was going to file for divorce.

The TV chef is said to have broken down in tears after finding out the 70-year-old art collector - who accepted a police caution for assault after pictures of him grabbing her around the throat emerged last month - was going to announce their separation in a statement to a Sunday newspaper.

A friend told The Sun newspaper: "Poor Nigella is beside herself.

"She had no idea that Charles was going to file for divorce.

"She has been trying to call him to talk about what is going on, but she cannot get through.

'Nigella is a traditional girl'

"She keeps saying, 'How can you file for divorce without even talking about it?'

"This was never Nigella's intention. She was hoping she could quietly reconcile with Charles after she got back from the US.

"Her intention was for them to spend some time apart and then give things another go.

"Now those plans are in tatters. Nigella is a traditional girl and the idea of divorcing is horrid for her."

The 53-year-old beauty's devastation comes after Charles confirmed the couple's 10-year marriage is coming to an end in a 268-word statement.

He told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: "I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced.

"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.

'It was merely a gesture'

"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 in any way."

He also addressed the photographs of him grabbing Nigella, insisting his actions were a "gesture" rather than of a violent nature.

He said: "Yes, my hands were around her neck, and they had been touching her arm. Difficult as it may be to believe, for those who have seen the pictures, there was no pressure applied to her.

"In fact it was merely a gesture - one to which a still photograph gives a wholly different and incorrect implication. Nigella has given a statement to support this view. I am sorry that we had a row.

"I am sorry she was upset. I am even more sorry that this is the end of our marriage. I wish Nigella only the best for the future, and for her continuing global success."