The children of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi have been dragged into the very public airing of the couple's dirty laundry which is being played out in court this week.
Cosima and Bruno – Miss Lawson's teenage children by her late first husband John Diamond – and Charles Saatchi's daughter Phoebe – were said to have been given almost £200 a week each in spending money by one of the housekeepers on trial for stealing from the celebrity couple.
They were also said to have enjoyed numerous meals out at Mr Saatchi's expense.
The details emerged at Isleworth Crown Court in London in response to questions yesterday about the TV chef's household spending.
Barrister Karina Arden, defending Francesca Grillo on a charge of defrauding Miss Lawson and Mr Saatchi, said: "Were either of your children on your payroll?"
Miss Lawson, who has a fortune of around £20million, said: "I think I've got a way of paying university fees by putting them through a payroll, totally legally, and I declare it.
"I'm afraid to say I make them appear in my television programmes."
Asked by Miss Arden whether appearing on her programmes 'is the only job they do', Miss Lawson replied: "No. When I'm testing a new recipe they will taste it as I go. They will do many things I ask of them."
But Miss Lawson strongly denied a claim by Miss Arden that Francesca Grillo had used her family credit card with her permission to give the three teenage children cash so regularly it averaged £29,000 a year – almost £200 a week each.
She also rejected claims that Francesca would have had to use her family credit card to pay for restaurant meals and takeaways for the children.
Miss Lawson said the children could eat at several restaurants on tabs established by Mr Saatchi, and said they could use the family PayPal account to order takeaways over the internet.
Later, Miss Lawson said she would never risk making her children 'orphans' by becoming addicted to cocaine.
The 53-year-old, who has admitted using the class A drug, said she would never 'sabotage"' her health and also denied keeping a stash of cocaine in a box with her late husband's wedding ring.
Miss Arden suggested to Miss Lawson that she had been a habitual user of cocaine, often seen with a 'runny nose' and 'white powder' around her nostrils.
Miss Lawson grabbed the sides of the witness box and said: "I don't know what quantity of drugs you think I get through. I am in no sense a drug addict or habitual user.
"If I was taking drugs to the extent you say, I wouldn't be standing here today. You know as well as I do that regular cocaine users don't look like this. They are scrawny and unhealthy. I value my health and my children have only me as a family. If you think I am going to sabotage my health and leave my children orphans, you are very wrong."
She added: "If you want to put me on trial, put me on trial, but I cannot think that it's right to have me here as a witness for the Crown and treat me like this."