Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson to divorce

Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson at Scotts restaurant in Mayfair, June 2008 Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson have been married since 2003

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Art collector Charles Saatchi says he is divorcing his wife, the television chef Nigella Lawson.

It follows the publication of photographs which showed him with his hands around her throat at a London restaurant in June.

Mr Saatchi, 70, who accepted a police caution for assault, told the Mail on Sunday he had "clearly been a disappointment" to his wife.

He said it was a "heartbreaking" decision for him.

Mr Saatchi said the couple had "become estranged and drifted apart" over the past year.

"I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced," he told the newspaper.

'Disappointed'

"I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way."

"I am sorry that we had a row. I am sorry she was upset. I am even more sorry that this is the end of our marriage," he added.

The pictures of the couple at a restaurant in Mayfair, central London, showed Mr Saatchi grasping his wife's neck.

The images, which were first published in the Sunday People, provoked a public debate about domestic violence among the rich and famous.

Mr Saatchi dismissed the incident as "a playful tiff" but later accepted a police caution for assault, saying he had done so to stop the incident "hanging over" them.

Ms Lawson has made no comment since the incident.

Mr Saatchi, a former advertising executive, is a well known art collector and owner of the Saatchi Gallery.

He donated his Chelsea art gallery, including more than 200 works of art, to the British public in 2010.

He and Ms Lawson have been married since 2003.

She has two children, Cosima and Bruno, from her marriage to journalist John Diamond, who died in 2001.

Ms Lawson first began a restaurant column in The Spectator in 1985 and by the following year had become deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times.

She then went on to write the book How to Eat, followed by the award-winning book, How to be a Domestic Goddess.

Her television cookery programmes - including Nigella Bites and Nigella's Christmas Kitchen - have brought her international fame.

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