Charles Saatchi accepted a police caution for assaulting his wife Nigella Lawson, the celebrity cook, to stop the incident "hanging over all of us for months".
He told the London Evening Standard he volunteered to go to the police station and take a caution after a discussion with his lawyer.
Art collector Saatchi, 70, publicly abused Lawson, 53, at a London restaurant on June 9.
Fellow diners reported a heated argument, during which Saatchi repeatedly grasped Lawson's neck, pushed his hands into her face and pinched her nose. Lawson appeared upset and left the restaurant in tears.
The art collector, who owns the Saatchi Gallery, said they were having an "intense debate" and though the pictures looked "horrific", it was really just a "playful tiff".
Saatchi told the Standard: "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."
The couple seemed relaxed and normal in the days following the argument, and hosted two dinner parties at their home, their friends told the Standard.
The friends said they were known to have occasional arguments, but there was nothing to suggest anything more serious.
Scotland Yard announced details of the caution saying that officers from the Community Safety Unit at Westminster were aware of the images of the incident, first published in the Sunday People newspaper, and had carried out an investigation.
Lawson's spokesman confirmed she and her children had left the family home, but would not say whether it was permanent.