Advertising guru Charles Saatchi says he took a police caution for assaulting his wife Nigella Lawson to avoid having the incident "hanging over all of us".
The 70-year-old voluntarily attended a central London police station and accepted the caution after photographs emerged showing his hand around Lawson's neck.
The pair were pictured having an argument on the terrace of a restaurant on June 9.
Lawson, 53, the daughter of former chancellor Lord Lawson, was reportedly seen weeping following the episode outside Scott's in Mayfair, central London.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard , Saatchi said: "Although Nigella made no complaint, I volunteered to go to Charing Cross station and take a police caution after a discussion with my lawyer because I thought it was better than the alternative of this hanging over all of us for months."
Police cautions are not criminal convictions and are given to adults who admit minor offences. Failure to agree to be cautioned can lead to an arrest or charge.
Earlier, Saatchi told the Standard: "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."
Bernard Jacobson, a gallery owner and a friend of Mr Saatchi, told Sky News he believes the photographs have been "taken out of context".
"I don't think he was trying to strangle her," he said.
"I've seen them in public and I've seen them in very private situations and I've never, ever seen anything like that before."
Mr Jacobson described the couple's relationship as "very warm" and said they always appeared "very cuddly" together.
He added: "I think people are making a huge issue out of this because he is a public figure.
"I'm hoping the whole thing will blow over, that it is very innocent and that it was, as he says, a playful tiff."
Lawson's spokesperson said there would not be any comment on Saatchi's explanation, but did confirm that she "isn't at the family home".
Police confirmed they had not received a complaint of assault from Lawson or anyone else.