Charles Saatchi has asserted that the controversial pictures of him with his hands around his wife Nigella Lawson’s throat were nothing but a “playful tiff” and that there was “no tiff”.

Nigella, who is a popular British chef, but has proved to be popular in America too, was thought to be strangled by her millionaire art collector husband Saatchi following the release of the pictures, but the mogul has subsequently denied those claims. "About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point,” he explained. "There was no grip. It was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt."

And in explanation of her tears, Saatchi said she was not crying from pain, but from an innate displeasure of arguing. Lawson hasn’t made an official comment, but said yesterday that she had "left the family home with her children," which is a pretty big reaction to a "playful tiff."

He added: "We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids till the dust settled." The man who procured the photos told ITV News: "It wasn't a game, from what I saw, it was more…if that was a game it was a pretty rough game. I couldn't hear what they were saying."

Nigella LawsonNigella Lawson hasn't explained exactly what happened yet

Nigella Lawson
While her husband has had plenty of explaining to do