Nigella Lawson has accused her ex-husband Charles Saatchi of trying to ''destroy her reputation'' with false allegations of drug use.

The TV chef took the stand today (04.12.13) at Isleworth Crown Court in London to give evidence in the ongoing fraud trial against her former assistants Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo - who are accused of spending £685,000 on a credit card belonging to Nigella and Charles - and blasted her former spouse, who claimed she was ''off her head'' on cocaine in an email seen by the court last week.

In an explosive testimony, Nigella, 53, said she had been subjected to a ''summer of bullying and abuse'' since separating from Charles, 70, in June - after he was pictured with his hands around her throat in a London restaurant - and admitted she was initially reluctant to give evidence as she feels she has been ''put on trial'' over the drug allegations.

She explained: ''He said to me that if I didn't go to him and clear his name, he would destroy me, and also started spreading false allegations of drug use and, in particular, the awful incident in Scott's [restaurant]. And I felt his way of getting this out was to use this case.''

Nigella also claimed her ex-husband often became ''irritated'' by her independence as a successful TV star and insists she never used any of Charles' wealth to pay off debts left by her first husband, John Diamond, following his death in 2001.

She said: ''I'm an independent woman and I used none of his money to pay off my husband's debt.''

The self-styled domestic goddess further commented that art dealer Charles had quite a temper, adding: ''Yes, he did have a temper and I don't think that anyone can be in any doubt he had a temper.''