TV chef PAULA DEEN has been raising eyebrows around town – and sparking rumors that she’s cooking up a divorce!

In the past year, once-portly Paula has shed nearly 45 pounds and toyed with the idea of getting plastic surgery to tighten up her loose skin, leaving many to won­der if she’s getting ready to split from her hubby, tugboat captain Michael Groover.

PAULA IS SHOWING ALL THE signs of someone who’s plotting to make a break from her mar­riage, and rumors are swirling all over Savannah (Ga.) that she and Michael are heading for Splitsville,” a source close to the family revealed to The ENQUIRER.

“Quite a few peo­ple around town are suggesting maybe there’s a lot more to Paula’s drastic weight loss than a newfound health con­sciousness.”

The friend pointed out that Paula, who’s made a big deal about adopting a healthier lifestyle since an­nouncing she had Type 2 diabetes in early 2012, had actu­ally been diagnosed with the disease years before.

“That has every­one wondering why she’s suddenly de­cided to drop all that weight now,” the source said.

As The ENQUIRER has reported, Michael, 57, had previously suggested Paula undergo plastic surgery to look and feel her best, but Paula, 66, refused to consider it.

“Now,” said the source, “she seems to have done a com­plete about-face and is considering hav­ing the work done.”

This isn’t the first time that folks have speculated about a split.

Michael was di­vorced and living in Savannah with his daughter Michelle and son Anthony when he met Paula about 11 years ago.

The kids, who were in their late teens, “had a tough time as they saw me fallin’ head over heels in love,” Michael recalled in his book, “My Deli­cious Life with Paula Deen.”

MICHELLE took it particu­larly hard, says Michael, and as The ENQUIRER reported in 2010, her dislike for Paula nearly tore the couple apart.

“There’s been talk of divorce for years, but Paula and Mi­chael have managed to stay together through thick and thin,” said the source.

“Only time will tell what their future holds.”