(THE GUARDIAN) — She is the impeccably connected journalist turned television chef whose gourmet recipes and flirtatious on-screen presence earned her the nickname the “domestic goddess” and generated a fortune estimated at £15m.

But on Tuesday a London court heard that Nigella Lawson had become a daily drug user, taking cocaine as well as class B drugs and prescription medicines over more than a decade.

Her former husband, Charles Saatchi, after hearing about the allegations of her drug use, described her as “Higella” in an angry email, part of which was read out in court.

The allegation that the 53-year-old, with programmes due for broadcast on Channel 4 and ABC in the United States, was keeping a “guilty secret” – drug-taking – from Saatchi was made in Isleworth crown court by lawyers for the Saatchis’ two former longstanding assistants.

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