Paula Deen divorced her first husband Jimmy Deen (described as her hard-drinking high school sweetheart) in 1989 after 27 years of marriage; they had two sons together. In 2004 she married Michael Grover.
Soon after her divorce, Deen started her own catering company, The Bag Lady. She later worked at a Best Western Hotel as a cook before starting her own restaurant, The Lady and Sons.
Deen published her first cookbook in 1997, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cooking, and has since released three more cookbooks. In 2003 she was given her own show on the Food Network, Paula's Home Cooking.
Well known for her recipes using high amounts of fat and sugar, Deen announced in 2012 that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In January 2013, in an interview with People Magazine, she disclosed that she had lost 40 lbs by reducing her carbohydrate intake. Losing weight was a family project as her sons and husband also lost several pounds.