Under-pressure celeb chef PAULA DEEN backed out of an interview with the Today Show this morning about her racial confessions and use of the N-word  – as first revealed by The National ENQUIRER.

Matt Lauer told viewers that Today staffers had been in discussions with Paula’s people yesterday and late yesterday afternoon Lauer spoke with her himself and she agreed to come on the show.

He said that Paula accepted the line of questioning would not be limited and told him she would be “honest”. .

Paula, who admitted using racial slurs during a videotaped deposition in a lawsuit filed by an ex-employee Lisa Jackson who worked at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House in Savannah, Ga., had flown to New York City and checked into a hotel.

Twice during the first hour of Today, Lauer told viewers that a representative for Paula had called to say she was “exhausted.”

“The impression Matt gave was that Paula had chickened out of the interview,” said one viewer

“Maybe Paula got cold feet because she’s deeply ashamed of what The ENQUIRER uncovered”.