Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson to divorce

Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson pictured during the row in June (Photo: Xposure photos)

Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson pictured during the row in June (Photo: Xposure photos)

Charles Saatchi has announced that he and Nigella Lawson are to divorce.

The art collector said the decision to end his 10-year marriage to the 53-year-old TV cook was "heartbreaking".

He revealed that the couple were splitting after Ms Lawson failed to defend him during the media storm which followed the publication of photographs showing Mr Saatchi gripping Ms Lawson's neck.

Mr Saatchi accepted a police caution for assault following the incident.

He told the Mail on Sunday : “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."

The couple were dining at Scott’s Restaurant in Mayfair last month when Mr Saatchi was photographed gripping his wife's neck and pinching her nose. The couple were reportedly arguing over whether Ms Lawson’s 19-year-old daughter Cosima, from her marriage to JC columnist John Diamond, should go to Oxford University or take up a permanent role at The Economist magazine.

Mr Saatchi later dismissed the incident as “a playful tiff”. He added: “There was no grip. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.

“We were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.”

Last updated: 12:25pm, July 8 2013