On September 3, Nigella Lawson was supposed to be celebrating ten years of marriage to PR supremo Charles Saatchi. Instead the Domestic Goddess will be divorced and marking a new chapter of her life after applying for a decree nisi at London’s High Court on Wednesday 31 July.
As she contemplates the end of their glittering celebrity union, the millionaire TV chef may well make a mental note to thank the trusted band of friends and advisers led by her sister Horatia and PR manager Mark Hutchinson who have seen her through this devastating period.
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Nigella will come back stronger than ever
It is not the first time the 53-year-old has had to pick herself up and dust herself off.
An Oxford graduate, who is the daughter of Chancellor Nigel Lawson, she has always attracted interesting and powerful men. Peers from her university days remember a bluestocking with looks as luscious as her calorie-laden puddings.
In the Eighties, she dated brilliant human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertston QC. When that relationship ended, she married journalist John Diamond, the father of her two children Cosima and Bruno, now 19 and 17 respectively.
Her sister Horatia, seen here with the Domestic Goddes, their brother Dominic and father Nigel, has been a pillar of strength
They were together from 1992 until his death in 2001 from cancer, a disease which also took her mother and younger sister Thomasina, aged 32.
It was hard, she said, not to believe there was “a sniper in the garden picking off everyone you love”.
Soon after John’s death Nigella tied the knot with Charles. Some 17 years her senior, he is one of the leading ad men of his generation and the country’s foremost private art collector. He provided her with stability as she grieved.
When the marriage unravelled her sister Horatia, a television producer, was a tower of strength. She was a regular visitor at the Mayfair bolthole Nigella rented after the assault pictures that led to its demise. Later Horatia was seen directing removal men who transported the chef’s belongings from the £12 million seven-bedroom home the couple shared until recently in Chelsea, West London.
The couple in happier times
Other confidantes include Jemima Khan and Pierce Brosnan, who shares her understanding of loss.
The 007 actor’s first wife Cassandra passed away from ovarian cancer, aged 43. He found love again and is now happily married to his second wife Keely Shaye Smith. Unfortunately there was more pain when Charlotte, Cass’ daughter, who was adopted by the actor, died this year, also of cancer.
The friends were seen chatting over warmly over a meal in an Italian eaterie a few days ago, and Nigella looked in a far better mood afterwards.
Another friend is William Miller, the son of the theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller, and an old childhood friend of the Lawsons.
He was for some time her brand manager and helped her develop hugely successful line of merchandise.
On the professional front she can also rely on PR man Mark who has helped steer her career since 1998. According to the Telegraph, he has done such a tremendous job that profits at her TV company jumped £1 million to £2.4 million in the 12 months to the end of August 2012.
Jemima Khan and Pierce Brosnan are two of the friends who have been supporting her
Earlier this year, she made her debut in the US on The Taste – a cross between Masterchef and The Voice. The show gained a respectable 5 million viewers, enough to be given a second series.
Her brand of blue-blooded beauty and glamour went down well. Her personal fortune, estimated at £15million, could reach dizzy heights if she conquers that market.
Brian Malarkey, one of her fellow judges on the show told the newspaper: “She is America’s sweetheart now. Everyone feels quite protective of her and wants her to succeed and not be in a situation like in the photos.”
Crucially her daughter Cosima, who was with her on the set in America, enjoyed LA and has given Nigella her blessing to spend more time there. Crossing the Atlantic could help brand Nigella bounce back bigger and better than ever.