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London - Nigella Lawson spoke publicly for the first time on Thursday about her ‘mortifying’ court ordeal, saying her only desire as she gave evidence was to protect her children.
The celebrity cook said she didn’t want to dwell on the experience, instead joking: ‘And actually, since then I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate, had a very good Christmas and I’m into the New Year.’
Miss Lawson made the comments on US TV show Good Morning America, where she was being interviewed to promote her cookery show The Taste.
The 53-year-old was immediately asked about the trial of her two former housekeepers, during which intimate details of her alleged secret drug abuse, disastrous marriage to multi-millionaire Charles Saatchi and chaotic lifestyle were exposed.
She said: ‘To be honest, to have not only your private life but distortions of your private life put on display is mortifying, but there are people going through an awful lot worse and to dwell on any of it would be self-pity, and I don’t like to do that.’
Asked about her memories of the two days she spent in the witness box, she said: ‘I can’t really remember exactly because you’re so focused on answering the questions to the best of your ability that actually you don’t have enormous awareness of yourself ... maybe that’s a good thing.
‘My only desire really was to protect my children as much as possible, which I wasn’t, alas, always … I couldn’t do, but that’s what I wanted to do.’
Asked whether she felt she was on trial, Miss Lawson said: ‘Well, I did. It’s one of the niceties of the English legal system that you are not allowed counsel if you are a witness. Maybe it will change. Maybe that’s good.’
Miss Lawson, dressed in a black dress and heels, appeared confident during her appearance on the breakfast show for the ABC network but at one point fumbled her words.
She was interviewed alongside fellow judges Anthony Bourdain, Marcus Samuelsson and Ludo Lefebvre ahead of the second series of US show The Taste. It was only when she began talking about the lemon meringue pie she had baked that she seemed to relax.
She was not asked directly about her alleged drug use or her former personal assistants, Italian sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, who were cleared of a £685,000 credit card fraud.
During two days of humiliating evidence at Isleworth Crown Court last month, Miss Lawson was forced to deny she was a drug addict after confessing to having snorted cocaine and smoked cannabis.
Her former housekeepers told the court she had let them spend what they liked in return for keeping her cocaine addiction and heavy cannabis use a secret from her ‘shouty’ and frightening husband. After the Grillos were acquitted, Miss Lawson released an extraordinary statement in which she described the allegations of her drug-taking as a ‘ridiculous sideshow’.
She claimed the trial had been part of a campaign by her 70-year-old ex-husband to ‘destroy her’ with malicious and false allegations.
She also complained that her children were subjected to ‘extreme allegations in court without any real protection,’ something for which she could not ‘forgive the court process’.
Miss Lawson has long wanted to find fame in America, but the allegations of drug use during last month’s court case could put those ambitions on hold.
Scotland Yard is to investigate the cook over her admission that she took cocaine and smoked cannabis in front of her children. Officers will review the evidence and then consult the Crown Prosecution Service.
She could face the prospect of being formally interviewed by police. The first series of The Taste, which involves contestants presenting their food to the judges over several rounds, will be aired on Channel 4 from January 7.
Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that Mr Saatchi spent New Year’s Eve on a £25million super yacht in the Caribbean with his new girlfriend Trinny Woodall.
He reportedly spent tens of thousands of pounds to hire the 160ft long vessel, on which he and Miss Woodall were ‘acting like honeymooners’.
* ONE of Miss Lawson’s fellow judges on The Taste, chef Anthony Bourdain, is a reformed drug addict who once sold his record collection to buy heroin.
Bourdain, 57, wrote a bestselling memoir of his days as a chef in New York in the 1990s, describing how ‘we were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in [refrigerator] at every opportunity. Hardly a decision was made without drugs’.