Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi Granted Preliminary Divorce

Getty Images
Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi

The couple separated after photos emerged of him grasping her throat during an argument.

LONDON — Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and art baron Charles Saatchi have taken the first legal step toward finalizing the end of their marriage.

In a hearing at London's High Court lasting less than a minute, District Judge Anne Aitken granted the couple a decree nisi — the first of two stages of divorce.

PHOTOS: Hollywood's 16 Biggest Divorces Ever

The divorce of 70-year-old Saatchi and 53-year-old Lawson can become final after six weeks and a day, with the granting of a decree absolute.

The couple separated after a newspaper published photos last month of Saatchi grasping his wife's throat during an argument at a London restaurant.