Shocking news has come out this week with allegations that famous British TV chef Nigella Lawson has abused cocaine, cannabis and various prescription drugs daily for years, hiding it from her husband and even giving drugs to her teenage daughter.

The allegations have been made as part of a fraud trial against Lawson’s two former assistants, Italian sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo. The pair have been accused of defrauding Nigella for over £300,000. They have claimed that in fact they had a “tacit understanding” with the cook that they could spend as much as they wanted on the company credit card as long as they hid her drug use from her husband, Charles Saatchi.

Saatchi, who was cautioned earlier this year after being seen strangling Nigella in a London restaurant, didn’t seem too pleased by the news. An email that he sent to his wife was read out in court. Sent after he heard about the allegations, he calls his wife ‘Higella,’ and rants, “Of course now the Grillos will get off on the basis that you were so off your head on drugs you allowed the sisters to spend whatever they liked … and yes I believe every word they have said.”

The news has come at a bad time for Nigella, who has a new season of her US talent show The Taste airing soon on ABC. The first advert was aired only hours after news of her alleged drug use broke, which is pretty spectacularly bad timing, really.

Of course, right now, all we have are the allegations of two women who are currently standing trial for fraud — a pretty good motivation to make up charges like this if there ever was one. Saatchi has clearly bought into the story, but given their recent marital woes and public split, it’s hard not to blame him for believing it. So far, actual evidence seems to be pretty scarce, and it could very well turn out to be utter nonsense.

So, Nigella or Higella? It’s too early to say at this point, but I certainly won’t be able to watch any of her shows without imagining her nipping off to the pantry for a quick line now. So there’s that.

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