The use of recreational drugs on a consistent basis is a touchy subject. On one hand, you've got tons of movies and TV shows who depict habitual drug users as out-of-control low-lives who are social burnouts and depressed beyond belief. On the other hand, there are stories of successful folks who've taken enough drugs to theoretically kill an elephant (Ozzy Osbourne, Keith Richards, etc.). And then you've got individuals whose drug use might come as a surprise, like Nigella Lawson's.
Nigella Lawson's drug use came to light as part of a huge public scandal.
The journalist turned celebrity chef was one of the top cooking personalities in the U.K. She began her career as a food writer for The Sunday Times which she managed to leverage to a successful broadcast cooking show ... and then another ... and then another ... and another. She's penned several books which sold tons of copies. Her first title on cooking, How to Eat, sold a whopping 300,000 copies.
She also brought a fresh perspective to the cooking space. Many viewers have commented on the "suggestive" nature of the show and that she brought "sexiness" to culinary programming. The public's fascination with Nigella and her skyrocketing career lead her to become very busy and very wealthy. She had amassed a personal net worth of some $20 million. Like most rich and famous people, she had hired personal assistants to help her and her husband at the time, Charles Saatchi, with her day to day errands.
However, over the course of several years, Nigella and Charles' marriage began to deteriorate, as did their relationship with the personal assistants, Italian sisters Lisa and Francesca Grillo. Nigella and her legal team accused the sisters of fleecing nearly $1.15 million off of them in unauthorized credit card purchases linked to Charles Saatchi's account.
The sisters had contended by saying they were allowed to spend the money and that Nigella had freely allowed them to do so if they kept quiet about her marijuana and cocaine use.
The TV personality had fought the claim that she was a "drug addict" at the time. She had admitted she used cocaine on a few occasions and had smoked marijuana, but it wasn't a "daily" habit.
She admits to partaking in the booger sugar when she was offered it by a friend during "a very, very difficult time [after] being subjugated to intimate terrorism by Mr. Saatchi." She also admitted to being generous to the sisters, purchasing a new set of teeth for one of them and a membership to a nightclub, but she never signed off on the purchases they made on her ex-husband's cards.
She also admitted to using cocaine with her first husband, broadcaster John Diamond, when he was dying of cancer. She says that John had used the drug as an escape from the reality of his terminal illness, and she used it with him on a few occasions to bring him peace and join his same frame of mind.
While Lisa and Francesca Grillo won the case, the sisters admit that Nigella had "won the public's heart." In the trial, Nigella talked about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Charles Saatchi. The British-Iraqi advertising mogul and Nigella had officially split in 2013. Their breakup was widely covered, with disturbing photos of the domestic violence she suffered at his hands circulating the internet.
She's openly spoken on how difficult it was to create a happy life for herself following the "intimate terrorism" she was subjected to at the literal hands of Saatchi, but told Woman & Home in October 2020: "I’m not sure I would have thought I’d be a mended person, which I am."
If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov, or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.