Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson has been seen without her wedding ring after she and her children moved out of the house she shared with husband Charles Saatchi, fueling speculation that they might be splitting up. She was also spotted apparently house-hunting on Friday, visiting an £11,000-a-month rental home in a central London, according to The Telegraph.

Saatchi, however, would probably say everything is fine and it’s all his idea, though only Lawson’s stuff, including cookbooks and kitchen items, was seen being moved out of their house.

Saatchi has been under some scrutiny after he was recently photographed choking his wife in full view of photographers and other diners at a trendy London restaurant, and he later attempted to brush off the incident as a “playful tiff,” despite the fact that neither of them looked particularly playful.

“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,” he said, as though that sounded like completely normal and acceptable behavior.

Regarding her move from their house, Saatchi commented, “I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled.”

Saatchi said the fight was about the couple’s children, but The Telegraph reports that the fight was initially about Lawson’s former assistants, whom Saatchi is suing for misappropriating company funds.

The assistants, two sisters, had started working for Lawson before she married Saatchi, and the three were reported to be very close.

The assistants’ jobs included child care, shopping, and other duties, but they were fired last year and Saatchi began court proceedings against them, claiming that they had charged £170,000 on luxury goods for themselves on company credit cards meant to be used for business expenses.

Lawson was reportedly very upset about the lawsuit.

“She brought them into the marriage and she has naturally been very defensive about all this. I don’t think she particularly wanted them to be sued. That’s one of the things they were rowing about over the now infamous lunch,” a source said. “Charles was criticizing her for allowing the assistants free rein and things clearly got a bit heated. One of them was allegedly spending money on Chanel handbags and other designer stuff. He thinks Nigella has been too easy on them.”

Of course, whatever they were fighting about, grabbing someone by the throat is not a way one “emphasizes a point.”

For their part, the assistants have both denied the charges and their lawyer says they will defend themselves against Saatchi’s allegations in civil and criminal court.

Via The Telegraph/Photo: WENN