Alton Brown has come a long way since his 2015 divorce.
In the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, the Good Eats star opens up about his split from ex-wife DeAnna Brown for the first time.
“We really went separate ways in our lives,” he says. “We changed, the world changed, and she went one way and I went the other way. I think we’re probably both a heck of a lot better off where we are.”
Alton and DeAnna were married for 21 years, much of which was during Alton’s rise to becoming one of Food Network’s most popular and prolific stars. The two were deeply devoted to their Southern Baptist religion—but their devotion to each other couldn’t go the distance.
Shortly after their split, Brown resigned from the Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, which tried to keep the couple together despite their desire to separate.
His attachment to the church simply “didn’t take,” says the chef, who recently brought back his hit show Good Eats. “There’s too much contradiction for my social beliefs. My social beliefs are far more liberal than what falls under most of the structures of organized religion, and I find that difficult to work with.”
For much more on Alton Brown, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
Alton has since decided that he’s “taking a break” from religion. “I don’t have any bad problems with God, but I have problems with religion,” he says. “I’m on hiatus.”
Alton and DeAnna still co-parent their daughter Zoey, 19, a sophomore at Georgetown University, but otherwise don’t talk much.
“We have a great kid in common, so we talk about her and I wish her well,” he says.
“I think that you get to a point in life where you realize that regret is really a waste of time in most cases,” he says. “I’m very fortunate to be doing work that I’m good at, and I’m married to a wonderful woman that seems to like me, and so I can’t complain about how I got to there.”
Good Eats: The Return airs Sundays at 10/9c and 10:30/9:30c on Food Network.