She shot to fame as the pouting, lip-and-spoon-licking domestic goddess with a love of food as rich as her second husband.
The epitome of the aproned domestic goddess, the Nigella mantra seemed to be; smother your plate with lashings of butter, olive oil and whipped cream and ensure all that comes out of your oven is golden and your entire life will be wonderful.
Then it backfired.
Everything in Nigella’s kitchen began to seem so sickly-sweet, it got nauseating. Even the most ardent fans started to bite back.
But it now appears things aren’t quite so peachy-pie (muscovado caramel-grilled, two good glugs of vanilla essence).
Pictures of her being gripped around the neck by her angry husband Charles Saatchi (in the garden of their favourite London restaurant, no less) have gone global.
That image of those big, melted chocolate eyes we know so well suddenly swimming with hurt has turned her from kitchen goddess to the unexpected face of domestic violence.
It’s changed our view of her completely; shocked us into a new sympathy for Nigella. Ah, we remember, now, that La Lawson has tasted sweet and sour. The child of a bitter divorce, she lost her mother to cancer at just 25, then 16 years later her first husband, journalist John Diamond succumbed to throat cancer, leaving her with two young children.
It has also served up a smack-in-the-face reminder that many women’s lives are not what they seem on the outside. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, be they to a celebrity’s mansion, or a council semi.
Charles Saatchi is adamant it was merely an innocent tiff. He has accepted a caution from police for assaulting her, but is insistent no pressure was applied by his grip and that he took the legal caution to “draw a line” under the episode.
But something is clearly amiss; no man should grip someone around the neck in an argument, least of all his wife.