London-born Nigella Lawson grew up as part of a Jewish family (although it was a non-observant childhood and Lawson herself is said to now identify as an atheist) alongside three siblings: a brother and two sisters. Nigella Lawson’s father is former Conservative MP Nigel Lawson and her mother (who passed away in 1985) was Vanessa Salmon, the heiress to the Lyon’s and Co fortune. As such the family had a comfortable existence and Nigella grew up in what might be perceived as a privileged position, however she has spoken about her problematic relationship with her mother from time to time, labelling it as the cause of a somewhat unhappy childhood.
In her professional life, Nigella Lawson started out as a journalist and food critic, before later becoming deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times, at just 26 years of age. Following this, Lawson continued to work as a journalist on a freelance basis, penning articles for high-profile publications like Vogue and Bon Appetit.
With such experience under her belt, Nigella released her first cookbook in 1998, How To Eat, which offered advice to home cooks and was conceptualised after Nigella witnessed a friend in tears over a problematic dessert at a dinner party she was hosting. The book was offered as the answer to all hosting prayers, providing practical advice for food enthusiasts with a penchant for parties. Following on from this hugely successful first publication – which sold 300,000 copies in the UK – Nigella has continued to publish popular cookbooks that focus on various kitchen debacles, from weekday baking to Christmas feasting, having penned a total of 12 culinary tomes.
In 1999 Nigella hosted her first TV show, Nigella Bites, which kicked off her career as a popular presenter, the role she’s now most widely known for. Famously nigella is not a trained chef and doesn’t even like being described as a celebrity cook, having said she develops recipes purely for her own pleasure, weighing up a dish’s worth by considering whether or not she’d eat more of it even after she was full. The TV personality’s style is indulgent and comforting, focusing on Italian classics like quick plates of pasta, meals for one such as midnight cheese toasties and celebratory bakes like er famously ric chocolate Guinness cake.
In her personal life Nigella has been married twice, initially to journalist John Diamond, who she married in 1992. The couple had two children together (daughter, Cosima, and son, Bruno) and were believed to have a happy marriage before Diamond passed away in 2001 from throat cancer. Her latter marriage was to art collector Charles Saatchi, a relationship which was widely reported in the press, with many speculating it was an unhappy union. This rumour seemed confirmed in 2013 when Saatchi was photographed with his hands around Lawson’s neck. The pair divorced in 2019, ending a ten-year marriage, during which they reached a private settlement.
Aside from her obvious culinary talents, Nigella is also often also lauded for her good looks which appeal to both men and women, with The Guardian famously having said about the cook, "Men love her because they want to be with her. Women love her because they want to be her".
When it comes to finances, Nigella is thought to be worth somewhere in the region of £15 million pounds, although the figure is regularly disputed.