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UK celebrity chef Nigella Lawson turned away from U.S.-bound flight

Posted at 11:40 AM, Apr 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-03 11:40:52-04

LONDON (CNN) — UK celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, whose private life hit the headlines when she testified about drug use last year, was prevented from boarding a flight from London to the United States, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Lawson was turned back from boarding British Airways Flight 283 from London Heathrow to Los Angeles on March 30, said Lynne Platt, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in London.

Platt would not say why Lawson had been stopped, but Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that the reason was Lawson’s admission of past cocaine use.

A representative for Lawson declined to comment.

The admission of drug use came during the fraud trial of two former personal assistants to Lawson.

In her own testimony, Lawson confirmed she had taken cocaine half a dozen times, during two periods of her life, and used cannabis in the past. But she denied being a habitual user.

The assistants, who claimed to have seen signs of repeated cocaine and cannabis use by Lawson, were cleared of the embezzlement charges.

Platt said Lawson had been invited to come to the U.S. Embassy in London to apply for a visa for travel to the United States.

“We understand she has professional requirements for U.S. travel,” she said. “These matters are generally handled routinely and expeditiously.”

Lawson, whose divorce from millionaire art dealer Charles Saatchi also made front page news last year, has appeared as a judge on ABC show “The Taste” in the United States.

The second season of the show wrapped up in February.

CNN’s Andrew Carey contributed to this report.

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