June 17, 2013 at 8:03 AM ET
Police are investigating photographs widely being circulated Monday of British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and her husband at a London restaurant. The photos show Lawson allegedly being grabbed by the throat by her husband of almost 10 years.
London metropolitan police said Lawson has not filed a formal complaint but it is “making inquiries to establish the facts of the incident.”
The pictures capture Lawson, 53, apparently being grabbed by the throat at four separate times by her husband, former advertising executive, Charles Saatchi, 70. Diners nearby did not intervene.
A representative for Lawson had no comment for NBC News, while Saatchi did not respond to a request. However, he later told the Evening Standard, a London paper, that the photos merely showed the couple in the middle of a “playful tiff” and the couple had made up by the time they got home.
“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 emphasize my point,” Saatchi told the paper. “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.”
Saatchi said that since paparazzi had gathered around their home after the story broke, he told Lawson “to take the kids off till the dust settled.”
Lawson was previously married to journalist John Diamond, who died of throat cancer in 2001.
The glamorous TV chef, known for her laid-back approach to cooking, has been busy promoting her latest book, "Nigellissima," in the United Kingdom while preparing for a U.S. book tour. She also is known as a judge on ABC's reality show, "The Taste."