Paula Deen, Paula Deen Enterprises LLC
Second act: Paula Deen was 42, divorced, broke and battling agoraphobia when she started a catering company to makes ends meet. Six years later, the Savannah, Ga., restaurant she opened serving cheesy meatloaf, deep-fried Twinkies and other Southern specialties earned her national acclaim and the nickname Queen of Comfort Food. Aided by sons Jamie and Bobby, she parlayed her initial success into a food empire that extends to cookbooks, books, a magazine, TV shows and frozen foods.
Lesson learned: “I’m livin’ proof that the American dream is alive and well, that you can be an imperfect person and still end up with so much fun in your life you can hardly stand it,” Deen wrote in her 2007 memoir, It Ain’t All About the Cookin’ (Simon & Schuster).
Image courtesy of pauladeen.com