Nigella Lawson's Husband Calls Choking Incident a 'Playful Tiff'

Charles Saatchi defended himself against accusations and photos showing him allegedly choking his wife, Nigella Lawson. Saatchi said that the photos show the couple having a "playful tiff" and that Lawson was not actually harmed.

"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. There was no grip; it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place," Saatchi told The Evening Standard.

"Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt. We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off 'til the dust settled," he added.

The photos showed Saatchi with his hands around Lawson's neck. Eyewitnesses said that the encounter was scary and that Lawson appeared fearful and upset afterwards. She never filed any charges against Saatchi, but Scotland Yard has opened an investigation into the incident since the photos were published.

"It was utterly shocking to watch," one eyewitness told The Daily Mirror. "I have no doubt she was scared. It was horrific, really. She was very tearful and constantly dabbing her eyes. Nigella was very, very upset. She had a real look of fear on her face. No man should do that to a woman."

Lawson has not said anything about the incident, which is reportedly upsetting many of her fans. Australian DJ Dee Dee Dunleavy has called Lawson out and apparently threatened not to support her business if she does not speak out or file a complaint with police.

"Nigella, like it or not, you're a beacon for women from all walks of life," Dunleavy said on Sunday. "If you want us to buy your books and watch your shows on how to run our kitchens, then we need you to make a stand on domestic violence."

After receiving serious backlash for her comments, Dunleavy issued a statement clarifying her words and intentions.

"First and foremost, my wish for Nigella Lawson is that she is safe and well, and as far away from her beastly husband as possible. The fact that I have copped a torrent of abuse today for urging her to take a stand against domestic violence pales into insignificance compared to what she must be going through," Dunleavy explained.

Lawson is an internationally-known chef who has built an empire. She recently starred on the American series "The Taste."