Well, well: It seem Paula Deen isn’t the only culinary extraordinaire with a big pot of image-shattering drama simmering. After denying allegations of cocaine use from two former employees and her reportedly abusive ex, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has now admitted that she has indeed used cocaine and marijuana.
The stunning admission came while Lawson testified in the fraud trial of former employees Francesca and Elisabetta Grillos, Italian-born sister who are accused of raking up over $1 million in personal charges on credit cards issued to Nigella and her then-husband, advertising executive Charles Saatchi.
The Grillos sisters say they were allowed to accumulate debts on the credit cards in exchange for keeping mum about Nigella’s cocaine use. The women say they purchased drugs for Nigella in cash and were then repaid via use of the cards.
Nigella, 53, admitted to using cocaine, but denied she was addicted, claiming she only used the substance on two occasions. Lawson once got high with her late husband John Diamond, who died of terminal cancer in 2000. She told the court:
“It gave him some escape.”
She also admitted to subsequently using cocaine in 2010 while “having a very, very difficult time” while being “subjected to intimate terrorism” by Saatchi. Saatchi was scandalized in the international press after he was photographed grabbing Lawson’s throat during an argument in a London bistro.
Nigella claims the drug abuse allegations leveled against her are all part of Saatchi’s plan to ruin her reputation.
“A friend of mine offered me some cocaine, I took it. The idea that I am a drug addict, or habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous.”
Nigella’s revelation could prove problematic for ABC, which plans to air the second season of culinary competition The Taste, on which she serves as a judge.