ATLANTA, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. celebrity chef and author Paula Deen says she is "fighting to get her name back" after a racism scandal nearly destroyed her career last year.
Deen, 67, admitted in a 2013 deposition she used the N-word in reference to an African-American man who robbed her at gunpoint decades ago.
The confession sparked a media firestorm and, although Deen apologized for her behavior and insisted she is not a racist, she was fired by the Food Network and lost numerous product endorsement deals.
"I'm fighting to get my name back," Deen told People.com, adding she feels she has survived her "greatest fear."
"I used to have dreams that I lost everything," she said. "And when it finally happens, you think, 'I'm still alive.'"
She admitted to People.com there were some days she struggled to get out of bed.
"When I woke up each morning, it was like my world was crashing down again," she said.
TMZ recently reported Deen signed a $75 million deal with a Phoenix-based investment company to revitalize her brand.
Jahm Najafi made the pact to sell Deen's pots and other cooking related items. The company owns SkyMall magazine, the Book of the Month Club and Columbia House.