Paula Deen broke down in tears upon being greeted with applause at her first public appearance since the scandal that brought down her empire, People reports.
Deen received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining show in Houston on Saturday. "These are tears of joy, y'all," the Southern chef said, crying. "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."
"We all experience pain in some way, but pain is also a good thing because it makes you grow," Deen continued, before doing a cooking demo with her two sons.
Close to the end of the demo, Deen's spirits seemed to be restored as she put her face near a camera and said, "I'm back!"
Deen came under fire when she and her brother Bubba Hiers were sued for racial discrimination and sexual harassment by former employee Lisa Jackson. In June, a transcript of Deen's deposition was released, in which the chef admitted to using racial slurs. Deen was dropped by Food Network and several other companies, including Target, Walmart and Home Depot, but the racial discrimination portion of the suit was thrown out last month. Deen and Jackson reached a settlement regarding the other claims.
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