Nigella Lawson accused her ex-husband Charles Saatchi today of threatening to "destroy" her as she gave evidence in the trial of their former personal assistants on fraud charges.
Ms Lawson, 53, was greeted by dozens of photographers and television crews from around the world outside Isleworth Crown Court in west London as she arrived this morning.
It is alleged that between January 1 2008 and December 31 2012, Italian sisters Elisabetta, sometimes referred to as Lisa, and Francesca Grillo, committed fraud by abusing their positions as PAs by using a company credit card for personal gain.
Ms Lawson, dressed entirely in black apart from a white collar on her shirt, said: "I have been put on trial here where I am called to answer, and glad to answer the allegations, and the world's press, and it comes after a long summer of bullying and abuse.
"I find it's another chapter in that."
She admitted she had been reluctant to give evidence in the trial, and spoke of her ex-husband Mr Saatchi's reaction to her reluctance.
"He had said to me if I didn't get back to him and clear his name he would destroy me," she said.
Ms Lawson said following the "awful incident at Scotts (restaurant)", false allegations of drug use began circulating on a "PR blog".
She said these allegations on the blog were "dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi's reputation and destroying mine".
Speaking about Lisa, Ms Lawson said: "It's very difficult when you find out that someone you have loved and trusted could behave that way.
"In my heart of hearts I do not believe Lisa to be a bad person.
"I believe her not to have a very strong moral compass."
The court heard last week that the Grillo sisters lived the ''high life'', spending the money on designer clothes and handbags from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood.
Jurors have heard they are accused of using credit cards loaned to them by the TV cook and her ex-husband Mr Saatchi to spend more than £685,000 on themselves.
Ms Lawson said: "I was flabbergasted at the extent."
Regarding Lisa, she said: "Lisa had been a stalwart and had helped me through a very difficult time when my first husband died.
"I loved Lisa. My children loved Lisa.
"She came to me at a very difficult time in my life.
"She was a rock. I would have done anything for her."
Ms Lawson, who referred to her multimillionaire ex-husband as Mr Saatchi when giving evidence, said she once took £7,000 out of her savings to pay for Lisa to have her teeth fixed, giving her "incredible confidence".
She said Lisa left the job at one point and she continued to pay her for three months so she would not get "too anguished" about finding a new job.
She added: "I didn't want her to feel that she had to stay with me."
On Lisa's return, she was "increasingly bitter", Ms Lawson said.
"She broke our heart."
Elisabetta, 41, and co-defendant Francesca, 35, both of Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater, west London, deny the charge against them.
Ms Lawson said Lisa had been a "rock" when her first husband, John Diamond, was terminally ill with cancer.
"Sometimes I had to rush to hospital, she would stand in," she told the court.
"She was my rock. I will never forget what she did for my family."
Ms Lawson told the court that Lisa had become "like a member of the family" while living with her but became "bitter" later on.
"She was not at all hardworking towards the end," she said.
"Most of the time she was on Facebook.
"I do not think her bitterness was towards me personally. I think it was towards her life."
Ms Lawson told the court she believed the amount allegedly claimed by the defendants was "a lot higher".
"I was very, very careful not to say something was unauthorised if there was even a flicker of doubt," she said.