All About Paula Deen’s Husband, Michael Groover

Paula DeenOne of America’s most famous celebrity chefs. The 74 year-old Southerner has a successful chain family-style restaurants, published close to two dozen novels, and has her own channel on Roku. She’s also faced controversy and backlash, most notably for admitting to using racial slurs in a 2013 deposition. Through both the good and the bad, Deen’s partner, Michael Groover, has been by her side. Here’s everything you need to about Paula Deen’s husband.

Paula Deen has been married to Michael Groover since 2004

(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images NYCWFF

While Deen and Groover have been married for quite some time now, Deen had an even longer first marriage to a man named Jimmy Deen (who’s not the same guy as the legendary singer and sausage maker, Jimmy Dean.) The couple married in 1965—when Paula was just 18 years old—and had two sons together, Jamie and Bobbie. Paula and Jimmy remained married for 24 more years. During that time, Paula learned Southern-style cooking skills and worked as a housewife. It wasn’t until after she and Jimmy Deen divorced in 1989 that Paula decided to embark on a cooking career and open her first restaurant, The Lady & Sons.

Deen was fortunate to find a second chance at love with Michael Groover, her late-in life career success. Nine years her junior, Groover was a tugboat caption and a neighbor of Deen’s when they met. Fate brought them together when Deen’s dogs wandered into Groover’s yard—and Groover was instantly smitten.

“So when I met this white-haired gal who comes galomphin’ onto my property yellin’ her dogs had gotten loose, I got interested,” Groover wrote in his book, My Delicious Life with Paula Deen(Reprinted by “Probably the initial thing that really had me excited about Paula—the first thing that caught my attention anyway—was her eyes. God, they were this gorgeous, deep, early mornin,’ sparklin’ sea-blue eyes—I’d never seen anyone with eyes like that. And her enthusiasm and energy were contagious.”

Groover, like Deen, had been married and divorced as well as having children. He admits that he wasn’t looking to fall in love when Deen crossed his path. In his book, he wrote: “I’d recently come off a long and tough marriage… I’d pretty much made a vow, matter of fact, that I didn’t want to marry again and I’d be happy to live the rest of my life alone with my children.”

Groover, however, ended up breaking the vow. Deen and Groover tied the knot at the Bethesda Academy, Savannah in 2004. Of course, the menu featured some of Deen’s famous Southern-style dishes, including shrimp & grits, pickled okra sandwiches, fried collard green wontons, and The Lady & Sons crab-stuffed shrimp.

He Also Shares Paula’s Passion For Food

KEY WEST, FL - JULY 23:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Celebrity chef Paula Deen, left, tugs at husband Michael Groover's beard outside Sloppy Joe's Bar Thursday, July 23, 2015, in Key West, Florida. Groover is competing for the fifth year in the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, part of the annual Hemingway Days festival in Key West. He made the semi-final round which is set for Saturday, July 25. More than 125 entrants are registered for the contest.
(Photo by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via Getty Images

It’s no surprise that Groover and Dean have such successful marriage, as they’re both from the South and have a big passion for food. Groover has appeared frequently on Deen’s cooking shows and has also contributed to a number of her cookbooks. He even has his own line of coffee, Captain Michael’s Coffee, that he sells on his wife’s website.

Groover, like his wife, has strong opinions about food. And he’s not afraid to express them, even if it’s at Deen’s expense. In a 2008 interview with Good Housekeeping, Positively Paula star explained, “Listen, he hurt my feelings so bad. I replied, “Well, I can do that.” He claimed his mama made the best pear crisp in all of the land. So I made it, and I said, ‘What do you think?’ But now, you cannot ask Michael a question if you don’t want the truth. The man doesn’t have a lie in him. And so he said, ‘Well, it’s just not nearly as good as my mama’s.’ And I’ll tell you, I’ve tried it many times since, that darn pear crisp, and I still can’t get that sucker right!” 

Deen and Groover still have a strong marriage. In 2021, Deen posted a sweet tribute to her husband on Instagram in celebration of their 17th wedding anniversary, writing, “Happy anniversary to the love of my life and the one who can always make me laugh—my husband Michael!”