The Double Life Of Nigella Lawson

British domestic diva Nigella Lucy Lawson was born on January 6, 1960 into the world of food. Her mother, Vanessa Salmon (what a perfect last name!), actually belonged to the family who owned London restaurant chain/food manufacturer J. Lyons & Co.

After earning her degree in medieval and modern languages from Lady Margaret Hall College at Oxford University, Nigella went on to pursue a career that differed quite a bit from her schooling, as she decided to be a restaurant critic and book reviewer. It was 1998 when Nigella made her culinary publishing debut, releasing her first-ever novel, titled How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food, in Great Britain. Just three years later, her very first TV show, Nigella Bites, hit the airwaves in the United States.

Despite all of her early success, however, Nigella's career took a turn for the worse when a number of personal scandals landed her on the front page of countless papers and tabloids for all the wrong reasons. Here is the secret side of Nigella Lawson's life that the celebrity chef would surely like everyone to forget about.

She has admitted to repeated cocaine use

In 2013, Nigella Lawson was forced to testify in court against two of her former assistants, Italian sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, after they were arrested and charged with defrauding her ex-husband Charles Saatchi's business credit cards and using them to go on personal shopping sprees, spending close to half a million dollars, reports PEOPLE. While telling their side of the story, the sisters claimed that they were allowed to use the cards for personal expenses in exchange for keeping quiet and helping to cover up the British chef's alleged drug use.

As the trial progressed, Nigella was forced to take to the stand and eventually confessed that yes, she had in fact used cocaine. She said that she first tried the drug with her late husband, British journalist John Diamond, after he was diagnosed with cancer and told he was terminally ill, reports the BBC.

Nigella went on to declare under oath that she had only used cocaine six times with John, but then went on to add that, admittedly, she had turned to the drug again during her tumultuous 10-year marriage to Charles Saatchi, a global advertising executive and art collector, whom she divorced in a record 70-second hearing in 2013 after photos surfaced showing Charles physically assaulting his wife during a heated argument at Scott's restaurant in Mayfair.

Nigella emphasized in her testimony that she was "subjected to intimate terrorism" by Charles in 2010 and that she was "having a very, very difficult time", hence why she turned to the drug, reports BBC. "The idea that I am a drug addict, or habitual user of cocaine is absolutely ridiculous," she concluded.

She has been banned from entering the United States

Although Nigella spends most of her time in the United Kingdom, she frequently visits the United States to make guest appearances, tape shows and take part in various events. However, in April 2014, just four months after she admitted in court to using cocaine, she was actually banned from flying into the country by the US Department of Homeland Security. Why? She was deemed "inadmissable" due to her admitted drug use. The ban lasted a whole three months.

Nigella was at London's Heathrow airport, ready to get on a British Airways flight to Los Angeles, when US officials "decided to deny her entrance to the country," reports The Guardian. Although she was not charged with any drug offenses, The Guardian actually spoke to U.S. immigration law specialist Susan McFadden who explained that "typically any person who has used drugs within the last year can be considered a drug abuser or addict."

She has been ridiculed for her simple recipes

On November 2, 2015, the Domestic Goddess debuted a brand new cooking show dubbed Simply Nigella, which aired on BBC Two. During her pilot episode, Nigella decided to kick things off with a super simple recipe that turned out to be cause for some major controversy because it was just too simple, reports The Telegraph.

The show was billed as one that would show fans "that what—and how—we cook can make us feel better and more alive" and was surrounded by quite a bit of buzz. It seemed like Nigella might just be able to bounce back from all the front page drama. Until she decided to feature a recipe that included nothing more than mashed avocado placed on toast, that is.

After she spent several minutes peeling the avocado and smashing it, then spreading it on top of a slice of bread, Twitter wasted no time letting the chef know how they really felt about what many considered to be a seriously oversimplified segment. The passionate backlash included tweets like "Watching #Nigella spread some avocado on toast. Is this a joke?" and "Avocado toast experimentation? I'm out. #Nigella". Yikes.

Did she have an affair while her husband was dying?

In 2014, Nigella's ex-husband, Charles Saatchi, alleged that the two began having an affair just six months before Nigella's first husband, John Diamond, died of cancer. "Nigella and I began our relationship during the last six months of her husband John Diamond's life, rather than after his death as she (Nigella) stated in court," Saatchi alleged, according to the Mirror. "Looking back at that time, I very deeply regret that this betrayal of John occurred."

But was it actually a betrayal? Maybe not. Sources alleged that Diamond was "very keep on his young children having a father figure" and thus "actively encouraged Nigella to date Saatchi." "When John became really ill and they knew it was all going to end, Nigella would go out together a lot. When he knew he didn't have long left, he gave his tacit approval to Saatchi," a friend said, according to the Mirror. This theory was also backed up in a memoir published in 2005.

She has admitted to smoking marijuana in front of her daughter

During the now infamous assistants' trial, Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo accused Nigella of allowing her children to freely smoke marijuana, saying the mother of two smoked in front of her then-teenage daughter Cosima Diamond and allowed her to smoke as well. As The Daily Mail reported in its trial coverage, "Miss Lawson had already answered 'Yes' when asked under oath last week if she smoked joints 'with or in front of' her daughter. The judge then cut off questioning before her answer could be clarified." Meanwhile, an email sent to Nigella by her ex-husband Charles Saatchi, which was read in court, claimed that both Nigella and Cosima were "off [their] heads on drugs", reports The Debrief. The email goes on to list more serious accusation, with Charles claiming, "[you] poisoned your child with drugs and trashed her life. Classy!"

She has awkwardly scolded peers on national TV

During a taping of MasterChef Australia in May 2016, Nigella took a break from judging contestants' dishes to judge one of her peers. During the taping, Nigella was caught scolding fellow judge George Calombaris for using his knife to taste a piece of chicken. As cameras rolled, Nigella could be seen looking at George with an appalled expression on her face before declaring awkwardly, "You just ate with your knife!", reports The Daily Mail. As George defended, "I know. I do it all the time," judge Matt Preston surprisingly jumped in, agreeing with Nigella, saying, "He does it the whole time. Thank you, Nigella. He eats on his knife. It's a disgrace." Ouf!

She has received terrible ratings in America

On January 22, 2013, Nigella returned to American TV as a judge on a brand new ABC reality cooking competition called The Taste. The show, which also featured fellow celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson judging contestants alongside Nigella, had all the makings of a hit TV show. However, after just three seasons, it was pulled off the air due to plummeting ratings. As the Irish Mirror reported, The Taste experienced "a dramatic slump in viewing figures" and lost "more than half its viewers, falling from highs of seven million to less than three million viewers". An insider went on to tell the paper that "bosses just couldn't believe how quickly it lost viewers. America has not been the kindest of places for Nigella."