New York, Nov 9 : Padma Lakshmi's friends are rushing to the stunner's defence after it was reported that she was a gold digger.
The New York Post's sources had earlier insinuated that the "Top Chef" host used former hubby Salman Rushdie for his fame.
"She does live in the circle of rich, famous people so it would be natural that they are the ones she may date," the New York Post quoted a pal, as saying.
"But that does not make her a gold digger, just like actors who date other actors are not star [bleep]ers. She had an Italian talk show and two series on the Food Network, plus an award-winning cookbook from Miramax Books before she even met her ex-husband. She has had acting roles in two films and four miniseries.
"She is a hard-working, self-made woman.
"She went to India at her own expense to visit not only orphanages that might make for a photo-op but truly difficult places with diseased and dying people . . . She also recently gave a cooking lesson for Art for Life that earned 27,500 dollars for the charity," the pal added.