Nigella Lawson's Secret For Finding Happiness After Tragedy

Nigella Lawson has seen enough sadness to last a lifetime. But at 60 years of age, she won't allow it to last any longer, she told The Guardian during an interview last autumn. The celebrity chef, former journalist, and always-writer has a new cookbook out called Cook, Eat, Repeat; and because it is a combination of tips for cooking chicken and musings on life, she's taking stock (if you'll pardon pun) on how far she's come. And if "Keep Calm and Carry On" could be personified, it might look a little something like Nigella Lawson.

"It's not an image, it's an armour," Lawson tells The Guardian, about keeping her chin up during some of her more public battles. "And that's how I feel about everything: you plough on." The wisdom is hard won: Lawson suffered a traumatic childhood before losing her mother to cancer when Lawson was just out of university, and then her sister not long after that, when Lawson was pregnant with her first child. When her first husband died (also of cancer) after 10 years of marriage — leaving Lawson alone with two young children — no one would have blamed the chef for hiding under a blanket, never to be heard from again. Instead, she wrote a cookbook called How to Eat, and sold three-quarters of a million copies (via The Guardian).

Nigella Lawson is staying in and staying present

If you found yourself stuck, contemplating the tragedies that befell Nigella Lawson and wondering how she pushed on, you should know that she isn't — stuck, that is. "I don't know if it was the calm of lockdown, or getting older, but I've stopped looking back on the past an awful lot," she says in the interview. "And after 60 years of being a ruminator, it's an amazing thing ... I'm very happy at last." Lawson also credits the lockdown for a much-needed "pause" on the social events that had been consuming her time and energy, sharing how happy she's been to stay in, write, and enjoy a Campari and soda and bowl of crisps on the couch.

In addition to staying present, Lawson credits the mending of wounds that had once seemed too deep to heal. A troubled second marriage, and the messy, very public divorce that followed, were off the table, so to speak, in an interview that was meant to promote Lawson's new cookbook. But she did hint at how far she's come since those dark days. "I didn't think [happiness] was one of my gifts," Lawson explains. When the reporter asked why Lawson had contacted her during that difficult time, the stoic chef revealed yet another secret to her newfound contentment: "That's the point of life, isn't it? Reaching out, making connections."