Paula Deen refuses to heed her haters, quickly dismissing them in an interview Friday with Al Roker for the the Today show.’ In fact, the Food Network star, famous for her deep-fried, buttery recipes, says she feels it’s a “blessing” to reach an age where she even has to deal with diabetes.
Deen revealed her Type 2 diabetes last month, which prompted an intense backlash from her fans, chefs, doctors, and media who called the star out for keeping her diagnosis a secret for three years. Upon announcing her battle, she explained she would be making some adjustments to her famously fat-laden cooking.
And now, in the NBC interview at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, she brushes off Roker’s question of whether the negativity she received affected her, saying she was “lucky.” She admits that while “a few” people were mean about it, mostly people came out to support her.
Roker presses Deen’s son, Bobby, for the juicy, sob-story details, instead: “How hard was it seeing your mother hurt like that?” Bobby—who has his own show on the Food Network—wins the Best Son award for saying it was hard to see her endure the backlash, but quickly hopping on the defense and praising his mom’s new road to health. “Look at her!” he exclaims, crediting her healthier lifestyle of a lightened diet and exercise.
While Deen is exercising portion control and experimenting with healthier recipes, she doesn’t seem resentful at all about her condition. “God has given me a blessing,” she tells Roker. ”Because my mother and daddy died very young, and I feel so proud that I’ve lived long enough to be a part of the Baby Boomers and have to deal with something like this!”