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Getty images - Instagram/Paula Deen
Source: Getty images - Instagram/Paula Deen

Paula Deen's Husband of 18 Years Had No Interest in Marriage until She Rushed onto His Property for Her Dogs

Esther NJeri
Jun 30, 2022
01:30 P.M.
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Paula Deen met her husband at a time when he had no intentions of finding love. As fate would have it, her dogs rushed into his backyard and obliviously facilitated their first meeting. Eighteen years later, they are inseparable and are living their best life.

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Paula Deen and her husband, Michael Groover, met 18 years ago. At the time, Groover was a fresh divorcee. He had recently come out of an arduous marriage and given up on pursuing anything serious with any woman.

He'd vowed never to marry again and promised to be happy living the rest of his days alone with his children. It thus came as a pleasant surprise when he saw a white-haired girl running around on his property yelling that her dogs had gotten loose.

Michael Groover and chef Paula Deen attends EVINE Live launches new digital retail brand during live broadcast from The Plaza on February 14, 2015 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Groover and chef Paula Deen attends EVINE Live launches new digital retail brand during live broadcast from The Plaza on February 14, 2015 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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As soon as she came into Groover's view, she piqued his interest. She was gorgeous, but the one thing that caught his attention was her eyes. He recalls:

"God, they were this gorgeous deep early mornin' sparklin' sea-blue eyes — I'd never seen anyone with eyes like that."

But more than her physical beauty, Groover was attracted by her energy and enthusiasm, which he thought was contagious. She kept talking fast and apologizing for the dogs, and Groover was pretty much left breathless. While Groover had never seen the chef in person, he recognized her from a photo from one of her cookbooks.

Paula Deen attends the EVINE Live celebration at Villa Blanca on September 29, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Paula Deen attends the EVINE Live celebration at Villa Blanca on September 29, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The dogs in question, who had been in his backyard, had already come up to Groover. A huge animal lover himself, the two little dogs immediately took to him, and by the time Deen was catching up, Groover was already petting the dogs.

She appeared clad in jeans, an apron, and a baseball cap and started yelling at the dogs to stop and sit. But they paid her no mind. And as she spoke, Groover noticed her Southern accent, which he liked.

WHO IS MICHAEL GROOVER?

Opposites attract, as was the case for Groover and Deen. While Deen loved the attention and thrived in her career in the spotlight, Groover worked in an entirely different environment.

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As a tugboat captain in the deep waters of Savannah, Georgia, his job required solitude and quietness and needed him to communicate only through a radio.

Despite their different career paths, Groover's profession may have helped him and Deen get together. Soon after their first meeting, Groover invited the TV personality out on a ride in his new boat, and as they say, the rest is history. It did not take long for Deen to fall in love with the captain. She says:

"I fell in love with this salty sea captain. And I guess you could say the first thing I fell in love with is his sense of humor; very dry and witty."

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The celebrity chef describes Groover as a rough, gruff on the outside but a teddy bear on the inside. Deen disclosed that when they fell in love, she was going through a sad time, but Groover brought laughter and joy to her life, and for that, she feels she will love him until she dies.

DEEN IS A LITTLE OLDER THAN GROOVER

Traditionally a man is expected to be older than the woman he plans to marry, but things have changed in recent years. Modern-day relationships are not often determined by age but by the chemistry between the parties involved.

For Deen — who is nine years older than Groover — age has never been a problem. It has never affected the couple in any way whatsoever. If anything, Deen always looks young and lively, despite her age.

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The couple has been married for 18 years and is still as strong as ever. They married in 2004 in a beautiful ceremony. Deen recalled how happy she had been on her wedding day.

She revealed she had needed someone to slap her to remove the silly grin from her face. "But I guess that's just the way it goes when you're married to your soul mate," She said, adding:

"I still look back on my wedding day just as giddy as a schoolgirl. I don't think my feet were ever on the floor—I was just floatin' from sheer happiness."

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Over the years, Deen has credited their meeting to fate. She never shies away from celebrating her husband every chance she gets. During his birthday, she posted a heartwarming caption writing:

"Fate brought us together, but love has kept us together."

Even though they never had children of their own, Groover became a wonderful stepfather to Deen's children and an even better grandfather to her grandchildren. She has also praised him for being a supportive husband and for being the one that always makes her smile.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE?

Paula Deen and Michael Groover at the Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village at the 2012 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 26, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. | Source: Getty Images

Paula Deen and Michael Groover at the Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village at the 2012 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 26, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. | Source: Getty Images

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Deen and Groover's marriage has lasted longer than many often do. Even so, they have faced rumors of a breakup numerous times. In 2015, Deen sparked rumors that she was looking to divorce after quietly handing over the deed to their million-dollar home to him.

According to documents filed in Georgia at the time, Deen handed the deed to their three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 5,646-square-foot mansion worth an estimated $1.3 million to Groover.

Reports at the time also claimed that she wanted to divorce Groover after he allegedly had an affair with a "sexy, middle-aged brunette." The dalliance had reportedly been going on for a year.

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 Paula Deen signs copies of her book during Cuts the Fat Book Tour on January 30, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. | Source: Getty Images

Paula Deen signs copies of her book during Cuts the Fat Book Tour on January 30, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. | Source: Getty Images

When Deen found out, she confronted Groover, who denied the claims vehemently. He insisted he was telling the truth and when Deen still wasn't satisfied with his answer, she grilled him some more.

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In the heat of the moment, he walked out of their home but returned once they had calmed down. Even though Groover denied the claims, insiders believed the deed transfer was part of the private divorce settlement.

However, a spokesman for Deen shut down the rumors, calling them false. He shared that the couple's marriage was doing well and that gifting Groover the deed had been part of Deen's estate planning process.

Despite the rumors, the couple appears to have sorted out their misunderstandings and today, continue to be the perfect example of a long-lasting marriage. Years after the alleged affair, they are still going strong and don't seem to slow down.

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