Paula Deen got tearful in her first public appearance after discrimination allegations against her were dismissed by a judge. Paula, who looked slimmer during her appearance at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining show in Houston, Texas, received 10-minute standing ovation from audience members at the Saturday, September 14 event.
Paula was touched by people's warm welcome and could not hold back the tears. "These are tears of joy, y'all," she told the audience, as quoted by PEOPLE. "This is my first time out in three months. ... The one place I wanted to make my first step out was in Texas. You are forgiving folks with hearts as big as your state."
She added, "We all experience pain in some way but pain is also a good thing because it makes you grow." At the end of the show, she approached a cameraman and put her face close to the camera. The celebrity chef said with a smile, "I'm back!"
Paula was having hard times earlier this year when she and her brother Bubba Hiers were sued by their former employee Lisa Jackson for sexual harassment and racism. Paula admitted in a deposition which was released in June that she had used n-word in the past, causing public backlash. The chef was fired from The Food Network and also lost many endorsement deals because of the negative publicity.
In August, a federal judge dismissed racism allegations against Paula. Lisa and the celebrity chef reached settlement in the lawsuit.