Nigella Lawson and her husband, Charles Saatchi, had what he calls a “playful tiff” in a London restaurant recently. Eyewitnesses and paparazzi say they caught Charles becoming physically violent towards his wife.

In these images, it looks as if Charles grabs his wife’s throat as she looks at him with terror. He also apparently squeezed her nose and put his hands in her face.

According to other diners in the restaurant, Nigella left the restaurant in tears after trying to calm her husband.

In a statement to The Evening Standard, Charles says:

“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.

There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.

We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”

A spokesperson for the TV chef confirmed that she had left her family home with her children, but Nigella is yet to comment on the situation herself.

I’m not sure if this really was just a playful tiff, but Nigella does look very scared.

Do you think this was a harmless argument?