shutterstock_124333960__1371398751_142.196.156.251I’m sorry to ruin your Sunday by sharing this awful story. Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson was photographed yesterday, apparently being violently attacked by her husband, art collector Charles Saatchi, while they sat for lunch in the outdoor patio of a London restaurant.

From The Mirror:

Saatchi launched a tirade of angry words. Four times he grasped her around the neck with Nigella, 53, looking powerless and petrified.

At first he used only his left hand, then both. At one stage he tweaked her nose then pushed both hands in her face. Twice Nigella jerked her head backwards as if in fear.

Several times she nodded ­intently while the conversation became more and more heated.

By the end of the meal she was clearly distraught and in tears.

I hate to speculate about this kind of thing, but the photos leave very little to the imagination. She is clearly distraught – and I can think of no benign excuse for grasping someone around the throat, as her husband is doing in these pictures. There is no excuse for this sort of behavior – ever.

I would never use the word “victim” to describe Nigella Lawson. She is a strong, successful, fiery, gorgeous woman. But this is precisely what scares me so much about domestic violence – how isolating it is. There is no “profile” for a domestic violence victim – it strikes women of all backgrounds and personalities. Lawson is known for being a strong, outspoken woman. I can only imagine how hard it would be to admit that she was in this type of situation. The Daily Beast reports, “The shocking abuse saw Nigella, 53, leave Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair in floods of tears. No-one intervened.”

The Sunday People, the magazine that broke the story reports:

“Nigella was very, very upset. She had a real look of fear on her face. No man should do that to a woman. She raised her voice and got angry but at the same time was trying to calm him down, almost like you would try to calm down a child.”

As much as I wish there were some other explanation that would prove that Lawson isn’t in a horrific marriage with an abusive man – I can’t think of one reason to tolerate this type of behavior. I hope she finds the strength to ditch this jerk.

UPDATE: Saatchi describes the incident as “a playful tiff.”