Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi came a step closer to ending their ten year marriage on Wednesday morning. During a hearing that lasted less than a minute at London's High Court, District Judge Aitken granted the couple a decree nisi — the first legal step in their divorce.
TV chef Nigella, 53 and Charles will now have to wait around six weeks for a decree absolute, officially ending their union. A decree nisi is a statement saying the court sees no reason why a divorce cannot be granted.
Neither party, nor their legal representatives, attended the hearing.
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Nigella, 53, and art collector Charles are together estimated to be worth £150m and share an £11.8m home in Chelsea, London. It is understood that they signed a pre-nuptial agreement when they wed in 2003, and have agreed not to disclose publicly any financial settlement or terms of the divorce.
In a bid to hold on to his multi-million pound art collection, Charles has reportedly been dealing directly with Nigella's lawyer, Fiona Shackleton, who has previously represented Prince Charles and Paul McCartney.
It was last month that Charles, 70, was photographed with his hand around his wife's neck at a London restaurant. He initially dismissed the incident as a "playful tiff", but later released a statement to say that the marriage was over and that he was seeking a divorce.
Nigella quickly moved out of their home and has rented an apartment with her son Bruno. The brunette star is also a mum to daughter Cosmina. She welcomed both her children during her first marriage to journalist John Diamond, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997 and tragically passed away in March 2001, aged 47.