Image: Nigella Lawson
AFP - Getty Images file

TODAY   |  April 03, 2014

Nigella Lawson barred from US after drug admission

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson was banned when she tried to enter the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security confirms to NBC News. It’s linked to her admission of past drug use. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> for nigella lawson , temporarily barred from the united states . mike, what happened?

>> reporter: well, it's been a period of reinvention and reflection for nigella lawson . but now a new hit for her reputation after she was stopped from boarding a flight to l.a. at london's heathrow airport . the admissions of past cocaine and marijuana use were enough, along with domestic abuse by her husband. it all came out last year at a trial by two of her assistants. now embarrassing headlines that because of her past drug use , the celebrity shelf was barred by u.s. officials from boarding a flight from london to los angeles this past sunday. it happened as lawson had been reemerging in public life , a glamorous magazine cover and an interview by the bbc that she's seen better times .

>> i don't take a particularly lofty view. i just perhaps feel, you know, having had a layer of skin removed, i'm more sensitive to other people's misfortunes.

>> reporter: other celebrities who have been convicted of drug offenses have been barred from travel to the u.s. boy george and the late amy winehouse among them. lawson has not been prosecuted for her admitted drug use , let alone convicted. while her spokesman had no comment on what happened at heathrow, experts say she can apply to have any restriction lifted, a star with shows in two countries reportedly kept home for now. we reached out to homeland security for an explanation. so far the only response is lawson was barred from u.s. travel because of admissibility standards.

>> all right. mike, thank you.

>> there have been other people who were in similar situations who don't even try to go to the airport because they want to avoid that humiliating situation. clearly she got there and was turned away.