Toni Braxton is a fighter and a survivor, having struggled with Lupus for over a decade.
Singer Toni Braxton dominated the world of music in the nineties and noughties, releasing some groundbreaking hits that remained chart-toppers for weeks, months, and even years. Her enormous success in her career made the icon a global superstar and one of the leading women in music.
With such an impressive profile, one would expect Braxton’s achievements to culminate in a bogus bank account and perhaps, a lifetime of megastardom. However, the songstress suddenly fizzled out of the music scenes, leaving the world with only traces of her glorious years and priceless appearances on the reality show, “The Braxton Family Values.”
Along with her dimming music career went her fortune, so much that she was forced to file for bankruptcy, not once, but twice. Being one to encourage transparency, Braxton has been open about the loss of her fortune and everything leading to her bankruptcy.
She attributes the first to several unfavorable contracts with her record deal and poor spending habits. Meanwhile, the second came about due to a potentially life-threatening condition she has battled for years, Lupus.
Toni Braxton’s Rise To Fame
The iconic singer was born to minister Michael Braxton and his wife Evelyn Braxton in October 1967. She grew up with four younger sisters, Traci, Towanda, Trina, and Tamar in Severn, Maryland. Being daughters of a minister, the five began singing at their dad’s church from an early age.
As she grew older, Toni Braxton entered several talent shows, along with her sisters in the hopes of furthering their music pursuits and clinching prizes. Eventually, they landed a record contract with Arista Records, labeling themselves as The Braxtons.
The songstress went on to snag another record deal with the Arista subsidiary, LaFace Records. She eventually landed her big break when she filled in for Anita Baker for the soundtrack of the movie, “Boomerang.”
Following the “Boomerang” soundtrack, Braxton’s career took an impressive turn. She released several hit songs and albums, landing two gramophones at the 1997 Grammy Awards.
Encountering A Set-Back
Following the release of her second studio album, the singer got into a messy tussle with Arista over contract agreement. The singer claimed the label paid her only a tiny fraction of what she earned from record sales.
At the time, her lawyers revealed Arista/LaFace paid Braxton less than 35 cents per album even though she generated millions for them. This twisted arrangement with the label left Braxton lacking financially. Hence, she filed a lawsuit against them, demanding a higher cut.
It seemed the litigation took a toll on her, as after dragging the record company in court for barely eight weeks, the icon filed for bankruptcy in January 1998. In a 2012 interview, the star disclosed her reason for filing for bankruptcy, saying she received less than $2000 in royalties but had to reimburse her record label for clothes, music video costs, travel, and studio time.
Her obsession for home décor and kitchen wares did little to help her situation, as she kept splurging on housewares despite her dwindling financial state. Those wrong financial decisions contributed to her going broke.
Coming Down With Lupus And Second Bankruptcy
Braxton eventually settled her legal feud with Arista, soon releasing her third album, “The Heat,” and landing a generous paycheck. She enjoyed continued success for the next decade despite reports she owed millions in agent, legal fees, and taxes.
The noughties proved to be a whirlwind decade for the songstress, who delved into acting, tied the knot with Keri Lewis, and welcomed two sons Diezel and Denim. However, the biggest highlight of that decade was her heartbreaking lupus diagnosis in 2008.
A year prior, Braxton collapsed on stage during a performance, leading her to be diagnosed with microvascular angina. The second medical scare led to her systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosis, ultimately forcing the mother of two to cancel a pre-scheduled Los Vegas show, “Toni Braxton: Revealed.”
She did so on the advice of doctors, who said she would never be able to perform again, except for one or two songs occasionally. Canceling the self-financed show ultimately incurred more debt for the star, leading her to financial ruins. In 2010, Braxton filed for bankruptcy again.
The second bankruptcy case was finalized in July 2013, with the actress having to pay only a fraction of what she owed in property and performance fees.
Toni Braxton went public with her lupus battle in November that year, gaining the support of fans and celebrities including singer Lady Gaga, a lupus survivor.
Braxton Endured Several Health Scares
The television personality has been vocal about her struggle with lupus, which has landed her in near-death situations on occasions. Her first lupus-related scare came in 2008 when she found herself in ER following a presumed heart attack.
After diagnosing her with the autoimmune disorder, doctors feared she might need a heart transplant. Luckily, she didn’t. She emerged alive but had to undergo rounds of cardiac rehab.
Braxton experienced another scare in 2012 and had to be hospitalized for days while receiving treatment for her ailing health. In 2016, she suffered a lupus flare-up once again and ended up hospitalized.
Aside from her occasional flare-ups, the star revealed every day to her, felt like she had the flu. On some days, it prevented her from getting out of bed. Yet, she strived to manage it all, and stay strong for her family.
Taking On The Reigns
Toni Braxton’s refusal to let lupus win has enabled her live life as normal as she could. For most of her struggle, she has depended on constant medical monitoring and prescription medicines.
However, the constant pain and discomfort induced by her immune system attacking her body became easier to deal with after discovering the miraculous potential of CBD.
The anti-inflammatory product, Uncle Bud’s especially, has been a life-saver when it comes to relieving pain, and the actress describes it as the best thing for her.
In addition to CBD, dietary assistance has also helped Braxton improve her health and wellbeing. Turning to plant-based diets proved effective in battling lupus and the self-proclaimed meat lover has since adapted to the big change.
Having endured the draining battle for over a decade, Braxton has learned a lot in her journey. The star once admitted that the most important lesson her journey taught her was knowing it is okay to have good days sometimes and decide to take the day off from everything except paying attention to herself.
This has helped her discover the much-needed peace and balance necessary to brave her condition and walk through her lupus journey in one piece.