Charles announces that his marriage is over after 10 years

Charles Saatchi has announced that his marriage to Nigella Lawson is over.

The multi-millionaire art collector, 70, has begun divorce proceedings after being snapped with his hand on Nigella‘s throat during an argument at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair.

‘I am sorry to announce that Nigella Lawson and I are getting divorced,’ Charles says in a statement published in the Mail On Sunday.

‘This is heartbreaking for both of us as our love was very deep, but in the last year we have become estranged and drifted apart.

‘I feel that I have clearly been a disappointment to Nigella during the last year or so, and I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way.

‘The row photographed at Scott’s restaurant could easily have been Nigella grabbing my neck – as indeed she has done in the past, although not in front of Scott’s with a photographer snapping away.

‘I must stress again that my actions were not violent. We are instinctively tactile people. Yes, my hands were around her neck, and they had been touching her arm.

‘Difficult as it may be to believe, for those who have seen the pictures, there was no pressure applied to her. In fact it was merely a gesture – one to which a still photograph gives a wholly different and incorrect implication.

Nigella has given a statement to police to support this view. I am sorry that we had a row, I am sorry that she was upset. I am even more sorry that this is the end of our marriage.

‘I wish Nigella only the best in the future, and for her continuing global success.

‘She remains the most wonderful woman in the world. I feel very fortunate to have had such a lovely wife for so many years.’

Nigella, 53, is mum to Cosima, 19, and Bruno, 17, from her first marriage to John Diamond. She has moved out of the home she shared with Charles Saatchi and is due to began work in the US,

SEE PICTURES Nigella Lawson: Her weight loss story

SEE PICTURES Nigella Lawson in Celebrity chub-alikes

SEE PICTURES Nigella Lawson looks happy as she leaves Scott‘s restaurant in London