1. ITV Report

Nigella Lawson personally hurt but professionally unscarred

Nigella Lawson leaving Isleworth Crown Court during the trial of her former assistants and trusted confidants. Photo: Reuters

Team Nigella will be bitterly disappointed by today's verdict.

It's left the reputation of the domestic goddess battered, without any of the satisfaction of having been vindicated.

She strenuously denied having a drug habit, but that claim was central to the defence of the Grillo sisters, who only mentioned narcotic abuse in a supplementary statement once the photos of Charles Saatchi grabbing the throat and nose of Nigella hit the headlines.

Sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo leaving court after being cleared of fraud. Credit: Reuters

They claimed Nigella's drug habit had been a closely guarded secret until that moment.

They claimed that fateful lunch at Scott's restaurant in Mayfair was when Saatchi learnt of her alleged cocaine abuse and the marriage, they described as "unhappy", fell apart.

But Nigella Lawson has friends in high places - even the Prime Minister David Cameron clumsily commented on the trial, agreeing he was on "Team Nigella".

It provoked the admonishment of the judge, but showed just how well connected and well regarded Nigella is among some circles.

But what is key is whether she will continue to make money as a celebrity chef. The answer to that question seems to be an unequivocal yes.

The Grillo sisters claimed it was Charles Saatchi who prevented her from expanding her franchise to the US, wanting to keep her in her "gilded cage" in Belgravia's Eaton Square. But since the couple split, Nigella cooking show has become a hit stateside and she will undoubtedly bounce back from this painful saga.

It's telling that Elisabetta and Lisa were the only people, other than her children, who attended her wedding to Charles Saatchi. "Lisa", as she prefers to be called, had been a trusted part of Nigella's inner circle for 14 years - employed when her previous husband John Dymond died from cancer.

Today's verdict will do little to resolve the sense of betrayal that Nigella must surely feel. But her career will recover.

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