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Nigella Lawson admits to prior occasional cocaine and cannabis use in fraud court case


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/04/2013 

Nigella Lawson has owned up to the fact she occasionally smoked cannabis and used cocaine in her past, but she's insisting she was never an addict.

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While testifying in a London courtroom on Wednesday against former personal assistants Francesca Grillo and Elisabetta Grillo, The Taste chef, 53, admitted she had used cocaine around five times in her life and sometimes smoked cannabis -- even in front of her children, People reported.

"The idea that I'm a drug addict or a habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous," Lawson reportedly said in defense of the Grillo sisters' claim she had abused drugs for more than 10 years.

Lawson reportedly explained she had turned to substance abuse especially during difficult times, like when her late husband John Diamond was dying and she had allegedly been "subjected to intimate terrorism" by her now ex-husband Charles Saatchi in July 2010.

"I have to say, since freeing myself from a brilliant but brutal man, I'm now totally cannabis-, cocaine-, any drug-free," Lawson added, according to the magazine.

The controversy began last year when the Grillo sisters were arrested and charged with swindling Saatchi, 70, out of nearly $500,000.

The girls reportedly claimed Lawson allowed them to use Saatchi's company credit card in return for their silence about her alleged drug abuse, and a judge told the Grillo sisters they could use their "bad character" claims as part of their defense against the reality TV star.

Lawson "essentially would consent to" the sisters spending money on vacations, designer handbags, etc, "on the understanding that there would be no disclosure to her husband of her usage," Elisabetta's lawyer told a London court, according to People.

Saatchi reportedly sent Lawson a letter last month saying he believed "every word the Grillos said" about their excessive spending because "you were off your head on drugs."

Lawson recently tweeted thanks to everyone who has been supporting her and is on her team. Lawson's fellow The Taste judge Anthony Bourdain has clearly been on her side, as he recently tweeted, "What utter horse---t! #TeamNigella."

Lawson and Saatchi got divorced in July after 10 years of marriage. They reportedly split after photos surfaced in June appearing to show Saatchi physically assaulting his wife in a restaurant.

Lawson is expected back in court on Thursday.

The second season of The Taste will still air as planned beginning January 2 despite the current controversy.

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