The Sad Reason Paula Deen's First Marriage Didn't Work Out

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has not had an easy life at all. Before she became famous, she had to face an uphill battle as she dealt with losing her father a year after her marriage to her high school boyfriend, Jimmy Deen. She was just 18 years old at the time of the wedding. After a few years, her mom passed away, something that was too much for Deen to handle (via Amomama.) 

Paula Deen found herself struggling with mental health issues as she tried to cope with her loss. She regularly had to deal with panic attacks. She said, "At 19, I woke up every day waiting to die." What made matters worse was that her marriage to Jimmy Deen was a source of constant sadness in her life. She also had two kids to look after. Her husband wasn't a huge source of support, unfortunately, and she had to find ways to manage on her own.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Deen wrote about her traumatic experiences

Jimmy Deen was addicted to alcohol and couldn't kick the habit, something that bothered his wife a lot. Deen wrote in her book "It Ain't All About the Cookin'" that by the 1990s, the couple was in big trouble. Paula explained, "He drank, and he drank way too much to suit me." She added that he was not at all trustworthy and she simply couldn't rely on him to get anything done. 

A particularly troubling incident made Paula realize that she'd had enough. Their son's truck was seized despite the fact that he would always make the payments. He'd give the money to his father, who was supposed to follow through and give the money to the bank, but Jimmy forgot "one time too many," she wrote. This was too much to handle for Paula, who basically told her husband that she was done with the relationship.

Thankfully, the chef found love again when she met her neighbor, tugboat captain Michael Groover. Paula's dogs ran off to Groover's yard, which is how she met her future husband (via Delish.) The two hit it off immediately and decided to tie the knot in 2004.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).