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HOUSTON -- Thousands of fans packed the Reliant Center on Saturday to welcome celebrity chef Paula Deen in her first public appearance since her N-word scandal.

The celebrity chef wiped tears away after walking out to huge cheers at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show. This was also the first time she appeared at the show with her two sons, Jamie and Bobby.

I ve said all along that the one place that I would want to make my first step back out was Texas, Deen said to the crowd.

Deen said Saturday was her first time out in three months.

Deen was dropped by several major sponsors after a racial harassment lawsuit was filed against her in which she also admitted to using a racial slur. The judge later dismissed the suit.

The event continues Sunday at Reliant.

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