Food Network Star Returns to Hosting in Wake of High-Profile Divorce

Former Food Network star Gina Neely is returning to the spotlight as the Bluff City Life host for Action News 5 in Memphis, Tennessee. A native of Memphis, Neely co-hosted Food Network's Down Home With The Neelys with her then-husband, Pat Neely, from 2008 to 2014. "Gina Neely is the perfect person to host Bluff City Life," said Action News 5 Vice President and General Manager Jonathan Mitchell. "Her enthusiasm and passion for this city are evident the moment you meet her. We are excited to welcome her to the team." 

Neely expressed excitement over joining Action News 5, saying, "I get to highlight the city I was born and raised in, as well as 'Show the Good' of The Bluff City. We are a city that is rich with history and progress. New and exciting things happen here every day. I've been an ambassador for the city of Memphis for years all around the world, and this just feels like home!" Neely told Action News 5

Gina filed for divorce from her Down Home co-star, Pat Neely, in September 2014, after 19 years of marriage, TMZ reported. The divorce documents state that the couple started living apart in 2012 but continued filming Down Home together. Gina blamed their dissolution on "irreconcilable differences" and told People in February 2018 that she had not spoken to Neely since the divorce. The two have two adult daughters, 29-year-old Spenser from Gina's previous marriage and 23-year-old Shelbi. 

"I remember leaving with my purse and my duffle bag, and I was out of there," she told the outlet. "I haven't spoken to Pat in four years. I don't wish him any harm, but he's never reached out to me… I guess he's well? Our girls are older, so we're not really co-parenting or anything." 

Gina also told People she cried before taping every episode, explaining, "I never wanted to be a TV chef. I was a branch manager at a bank. I was going to divorce Pat prior to the show." As the Food Network show gained popularity, Gina said their marriage crumbled behind the scenes. "He became my business partner, whereas I needed a husband." 

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Since the divorce, Neely took a break from TV for over three years before becoming the producer of her own 2017 cooking show, Chop it up with Gina Neely, on Magic Johnson's Aspire TV Network.  She told WMC-Channel 5 in Memphis that "people can really get to see a little more of my personality in the show. A little more me, in a more transparent way." Neely prepared dishes by herself while conversing with guests in the show, including actors Lamman Rucker, Jasmine Guy, and Trina Braxton. 

She has also written a self-help book called These Are My Rules, This Is My Life and I Want It Back, released in 2020."My hope is most women will realize you do not have to be everything for everybody. You can own this life without the guilt, without the shame," she said. In May, Neely will take the helm of Bluff City Life, which airs weekdays on Action News 5 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.