paula deen tracy morgan

*A chance encounter between Tracy Morgan and celebrity chef Paula Deen threatened to foil the comedian’s element of surprise at the recent Emmy Awards.

Morgan’s Emmy appearance, his first award show since he was nearly killed in a June 2014 limo accident, had been secretly in the works for weeks, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He flew from New Jersey to L.A. on a private plane to avoid paps at LAX, and few involved in the telecast even knew he would be presenting the night’s final award. Those at the Emmy’s rehearsal the day before were told the final presenter would be a surprise.

After all of that secrecy, Morgan happened to run into Deen in the lobby of their Los Angeles hotel – and she took a photo.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, publicists swarmed Deen with a quickness to prevent her from posting it on social media, and possibly ruining the suprise that would come later that evening, when Morgan walked onto the Emmy stage without a cane to present the final award.

Tracy spoke about his emotional return with reporters backstage.

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