Nigella Lawson

Profile of the sexiest television chef ever to grace an apron. She has inspired women to be domestic goddesses, whilst maintaining a thriving career as a journalist and battling personal tragedy.

Daughter of one of the most prominent politicians in Margaret Thatcher's government, Nigel Lawson, the young Nigella was a shy child who, although intelligent, struggled with her schooling. Having moved schools a total of five times by the time she was 18, she eventually secured a place at Oxford to read Medieval and Modern Languages, achieving a Masters degree in the subject.

A successful career in journalism followed and she went on to become the deputy literary editor of The Sunday Times, before turning freelance and writing for such publications as The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

Her love of food started to cross-over into her writing when she was asked to write a food column for The Spectator magazine. In 1992, Nigella married fellow journalist and broadcaster John Diamond and the couple had two children, Cosima and Bruno. Diamond was instrumental in encouraging his wife to write and helped shape her image 'make-over'.

Published in 1998 her first book, 'How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food', was the springboard to her Channel 4 TV series, 'Nigella Bites'. Thanks to Nigella's unique approach to food and effortless charm, the show became a huge success and the second series was accompanied by another book, which helped push her worldwide book sales past the 1.5 million mark.

In 2000, Nigella turned her attentions to the art of baking with the publication of 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess'. The book proved to be another huge success and was voted 'Cookery Book of the Year' by the Guild of Food Writers in 2001.

While her career was taking off, Nigella's life was becoming increasingly affected by cancer. Her mother died of cancer of the liver, her sister was lost to breast cancer in 1993 and her husband John died in 2001 after battling the disease for over four years.

Having taken time off following the death of her husband, the successful TV series and book formula was repeated in 2002, with 'Forever Summer'.

Nigella married the infamous art lover and collector, Charles Saatchi in 2003 and the following year she published a new book, 'Feast: Food That Celebrates'. However, she divorced him in 2013.

In 2005, her foray into the world of daytime television was less successful and her show 'Nigella' lost 40 per cent of its audience in the space of a week.

However, this ratings glitch is unlikely to dent a career that can boast million selling books, internationally successful cookery shows and her own kitchenware range.

She bounced back when her 'Nigella Feasts' aired in the US in autumn 2006. Since then she has signed a £2.5 million deal for the show to be aired in ten other countries.

Nigella signed a contract with BBC Two for a three-part series 'Nigella's Christmas Kitchen', which aired weekly from 6 December 2006. This show enjoyed record ratings and Nigella was awarded a second World Food Media award in 2007.

Her influence as a food commentator was also proven in 2006 as Waitrose and Tesco saw their sales of goose fat double after she advocated it as an essential ingredient for Christmas.

The BBC signed Nigella up for a 13-part series called 'Nigella Express', which started on 3 September 2007. In the show, she showed people how to cook simple and quick dishes, which she admitted were not always healthy. This was another ratings success. The accompanying book, which was released in 2007, became a UK bestseller.

She revived 'Nigella's Christmas Kitchen' in 2008 and appeared on the US's 'Top Chef' in 2009 and 'Iron Chef America: Super Chef Battle' in 2010. The same year, Nigella starred in 13 episodes of 'Nigella's Kitchen'.

It is thought that her books have now sold over three million copies worldwide and that she is worth $15 million. Her latest TV venture is 'The Taste', appearing in both the UK and the Us versions of the show.