Nigella Lawson has revealed that she and her three siblings were hit by their mother Vanessa Salmon when they were children.
The TV cook says Vanessa was often depressed and 'so sensitive' to noise that she'd lash out even at the sound of a plastic bag being crinkled.
'She'd shout at all of us and say: "I'm going to hit you till you cry," and so I never would cry. I still don't,' says Nigella, 52.
'It wasn't a calculated thing; it was hot-blooded hitting, a thrashing out of things.'
Nigella admits that her relationship with Vanessa - who died aged 48 in 1985 after a battle with liver cancer - improved as she got older but that she would sometimes say 'incredibly hurtful' things to her.
She feels that her mother had a soft spot for her older brother Dominic.
'I never thought I could please her. She just didn't like me; maybe because I came after Dominic the princeling and I was my father's girl and she was jealous, I don't know,' Nigella tells the Daily Mail.
'I would say I'm sorry for whatever it was, some mess, and she'd say: "Why do you think being inconsiderate is an excuse?