Paula Deen's successful career as a celebrity chef came crashing down in June 2013 after she admitted using the N-word while under oath in racial discrimination lawsuit. The aftermath was devastating, the 68-year-old lost millions of dollars from endorsement and sponsor deals, who didn't want to be associated with her name.

Paula Deen
Deen recently opened up about returning to the limelight

However, Deen has now successfully rejuvenated her career via launching her very own digital network. But the journey back into the limelight, which she spoke candidly about while appearing on Tuesday's Meredith Vieira Show, wasn't easy due to the frequent scrutiny.

"Meredith, I have to say it's the hardest thing that I've ever been through in my life," she explained to the talk show host. "When people ask me, 'Paula how does one get through things like that?' I tell you it was the four F's: My family, my friends, my faith, my fans."

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She added, "My fans saved my life, they saved my life Meredith. They would not even consider me just going away."

Although the racial discrimination lawsuit was eventually dropped, when Vieira asked Deen if she ever thought about never making a comeback, the Southern cook said she contemplated the idea. "I didn't know what to think Meredith," she admitted. "If you've ever been in shock, you know, I couldn't think."

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However, everything changed after one of her family members introduced Deen to a pro-Paula Deen Facebook page, it is the fans support that made her return to our television screens. "I would get up every morning, get my coffee and go straight to that site and read everything those folks were saying to me," she recalled. "Each day it made it easier to get up because I knew they were there with comforting words for me."