Photos emerged at the weekend of Charles Saatchi seemingly putting his hands round Lawson's throat at a London restaurant, before she appeared visibly upset upon leaving.
70-year-old Saatchi has played down reports that he was in any way attacking his wife, saying it was merely a "playful tiff".
He told the Evening Standard that while the couple had an argument at Scott's in Mayfair, they had actually "made up" when they arrived home.
Saatchi - who is a columnist for the Standard - said: "About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.
"There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella's tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.
"We had made up by the time we were home. The paparazzi were congregated outside our house after the story broke yesterday morning, so I told Nigella to take the kids off till the dust settled."
Alleged witnesses to the incident spoke of their shock upon the seeing the incident, describing how he used both hands around the TV chef's neck.
One witness said : "It was utterly shocking to watch. I have no doubt she was scared. She was very tearful and constantly dabbing her eyes. Nigella was very, very upset."
A spokesperson for Scott's said: "The staff and management at Scott's are aware of the reports in the media and would like to make it clear that they did not see the alleged incident nor were they alerted to it at the time."
Nigella Lawson has yet to comment on the story, and has not made any immediate plans to return to their home.