Grounded: Miss Lawson in London after her US travel ban. She was not allowed to board a flight to L.A. after her drug admission in court last year
Nigella Lawson has been banned from the US because of her court confession that she took cocaine.
Humiliatingly, the celebrity cook was stopped from boarding a flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles, the Daily Mail can reveal today.
Her television career in the U.S. - she is a judge on talent show The Taste - is now in peril.
The 54-year-old ‘Domestic Goddess’ was forced to confess under oath during a trial last year that she had snorted cocaine seven times and smoked cannabis in front of her children.
Although Scotland Yard did not act over her confession, the U.S. authorities are taking a tougher stance.
Miss Lawson arrived alone at Heathrow’s Terminal Five on Sunday morning to catch a direct British Airways flight to LA.
She is thought to have checked in and passed security before being told she could not board her plane. She had to return to the first class check-in to arrange to collect her hold luggage.
‘She didn’t seem to say much, but she did not look happy,’ said an onlooker. ‘She could not get on the flight so she had to turn around and leave.’
Miss Lawson is thought to have tried to enter the U.S. by registering online for permission to travel and confirming she had not been arrested or convicted of offences including taking illegal drugs. But the US can also decide to bar foreigners who have committed drugs offences without ever being charged. Would-be travellers can apply to have the ban lifted, but this can take months.
Miss Lawson wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday that she was ‘packing for my holiday’ – including a picture of a sun hat and some Colman’s mustard.
The specific grounds on which she was barred entry to the US have not been confirmed. And it is not known if she was stopped at passport control or at the departure gate where passports are often scanned.
She is now expected to engage lawyers to ensure she can travel freely to America, which she regularly visits for pleasure and for work. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s customs and border protection department said it could not comment on individual cases.
Confessions: Miss Lawson admitted taking cocaine and smoking cannabis during an appearance at Isleworth Crown Court last year
Miss Lawson arrived alone at Heathrow's Terminal Five on Sunday morning to catch a direct British Airways flight to LA. File picture
But a spokesman said foreigners who had admitted committing drugs offences in the U.S. or another country were deemed to be ‘inadmissible’.
‘In general, an alien found inadmissible will need a waiver of inadmissibility,’ he added. ‘Depending on the basis of their refusal they may be eligible to apply in advance of travel for a temporary waiver of inadmissibility. The waiver application process can be lengthy.’
Airlines are required to supply U.S.security officials in advance with details about all passengers on flights to America so they can be screened against Washington’s ‘no fly list’ of suspects linked to terrorism.
The carriers must also check that passengers have a valid visa or other authorisation to enter the U.S. before they take off from the UK.
Nigella Lawson with her ex-husband Charles Saatchi. Although Scotland Yard did not act over her drug confession, the US authorities are taking a tougher stance
Sisters Francesca (right) Grillo and Elisabetta Grillo. They were found not guilty of fraud