updated 12/04/2013 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/04/2013 AT 8:45 AM ET
“He said that if I didn’t go back to him and clear his name he would destroy me,” Nigella told Isleworth Crown Court in West London.
Lawson, 53, struggled to maintain her composure on the witness stand, noting she was reluctant to testify in a case where two former assistants have been charged with spending more than a million dollars on luxury goods on her husband’s credit card, which they’d had access to for household purchases.
The two former assistants, Italian sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, have denied the embezzlement charges.
Standing throughout the morning session in calf-length black skirt, black suede boots and a fitted black blouse with white collar, the occasionally feisty Lawson also described the period since her divorce from Saatchi as “a long summer of bullying and abuse.”
Lawson told attorneys that her ex-husband, 70, a wealthy global advertising executive and media mogul, threatened her when she balked at appearing in court.
Describing her ex-husband, she said, “Yes, he did have a temper and I don’t think anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper.” She also noted that Saatchi “didn’t like to take part in family life.”
She added that he would shout and swear at her frequently, confiding in a personal assistant of their fractured home life: “I don t know how long I can take this.”