Los Angeles - Nigella Lawson was publicly attacked by her husband in a vicious row.
The TV chef and partner Charles Saatchi were photographed last Sunday arguing at Scott's restaurant in London and passers-by saw the art collector launch an angry verbal tirade before grasping his wife around the neck four times.
The pair were sat at their usual table at their favourite restaurant, which is outside because he likes to be able to smoke.
It was revealed he pushed his hands in her face and their argument has brought up fears their 10-year marriage is suffering from severe problems.
Nobody stopped the incident, and one onlooker explained Nigella, 53, ''kissed him'' on the cheek as she tried to ''calm him down''.
The source told the Sunday People newspaper: ''It was utterly shocking to watch I have no doubt she was scared. It was horrific, really. She was very tearful and was constantly dabbing her eyes.
''Nigella was very, very upset. She had a real look of fear on her face. No man should do that to a woman.
''She raised her voice and got angry but at the same time was trying to calm him down, almost like a child. The kiss was a strange thing. He was being intimidating, threatening. And yet she kissed him.''
Charles - who left in a waiting car with his wife before they went home - was described as ''menacing'' while she was said to have the appearance of someone ''who loves him''.
The onlooker added: ''She appeared to be a woman who loves him but was clearly unable to stop him being abusive, frightening and disrespectful to her ... He looked guilty.
''It was clear he knew he'd done something wrong. He was menacing, there's no question. She had been abused and humiliated in public.''