Burning Issues

Toni Braxton Reveals Why She Stripped for Playboy

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Written by Igor K

Toni Braxton, the famous R&B singer, daughter of the Pentecostal priest, who lived an extremely conservative childhood, made a breakthrough in 1996 with her hit "Unbreak my heart"

This sounds more like something women would read, right? Well, think again. We can learn valuable lessons from Braxton.  

Making that much money with the single song would make you think that she didn’t have to worry about anything ever again. And yet, 15 years later, then 45-year-old Toni Braxton was taking her clothes off for the Playboy to pay her bills.


So what the hell happened to Toni Braxton?

Apparently, devil lies in those hidden details. Her first recording contract, which by the way breached through the roofs, got her an astonishing $1,972 royalty check (yeah, that number is correct), according to the statement she made in an interview for the abcNEWS back in 2012.

According to Braxton, most newcomers are starting out of debt. Record company is issuing them advances so they are basically spending someone else’s money.

Brutal lesson #1: Fail to control yourself, and you’ll end up flat broke in no time.

That’s exactly what happened to Toni Braxton due to her reckless spending on houseware among everything else, which forced her to file for her first bankruptcy already in 1998.

I guess buying the Faberge egg on credit is not exactly the brightest idea. It seems like a good investment for rainy days, but don’t forget that you’ll sell it for far less because buyer will know that your feet are on fire.


And then Braxton made a comeback

New contract, promising millions, seemed like a sure way to revive her financial situation. And yet, that didn’t happen.

Song, “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” supposed to do the trick but she decided to move away from her personal brand and sound more like Beyoncé and few other new rising stars.

Brutal Lesson #2: Be careful when you’re playing with your brand because it might not work for the best.

Her brand is her sound. In 1996, that sound clicked at fans. Sudden shift in 2000 did not. She did try to do damage control, bringing her music directly to her fans through self-financed Las Vegas revue show (talking about persistence and not giving up, right?), but then another tragedy hit her.


18 months later, Toni Braxton was diagnosed with a dangerous disease and after that with another one

It crushed both her, her Vegas show, finances and will do something even worse in near future.

Doctors told her that her body couldn’t endure extensive physical stress so her dreams of rocking the world’s stages again disappeared over the night.

She was forced to file for her second bankruptcy, feeling a bit ashamed because, in her mind, somebody like her should be smarter. "Because you're supposed to be smarter. People expect for you to be smarter," reflected Braxton on the situation.


Disaster after a disaster and Toni Braxton ended up divorced after 12 years of marriage

Her marriage was over and now she has to take care of her two children, one of which is diagnosed with autism. Talking about the bad luck, huh?

So now, we have a fallen star, with fucked up financial situation, diagnosed with two lethal diseases, which has to provide for her two kids where one of them is not doing so well.


What do you do?

Well, some of us would become alcoholics or drug addicts or put the bullet in our brains. It does happen, regardless of the gender. But that wasn’t the option for the fighter such as Toni Braxton.

She sucked it up and decided to roll with the Option B; well known among the celebrities. She started performing for audiences overseas after accepting the fact that money simply must keep pouring in. These privately funded performance concerts and parties are extremely lucrative.

"The money is lovely. I can't deny the money is yummy," claims Toni Braxton and continues, "I love Russian audiences. They love to be entertained. I don't know if it's the vodka or what, but they love it, and I'm just their girl."

Woman was just determined to make the comeback.

Lesson #3 – When it seems that you’re sinking deep down in shit, close your mouth and swim. Because, there will be days when you’ll find yourself in crap up to your eyes. There’s nothing you can do but to make your way to the shore.  


And what you focus on expands as Toni Braxton will soon learn

In 2014, Toni Braxton wrote her memoirs “Unbreak My Heart.” Few months later, people from Lifetime contacted her. They wanted to turn her life into a TV movie.

Now 48, Braxton will be portrayed by a young actress from Maryland, Lex Scott Davis. She’ll recover financially and fans will finally learn what made possible for Toni Braxton to become an R&B star.

And we will all learn how one should never give up the fight because even when everything looks black and hopeless, you just have to do 3 things:

  1. Focus on positive,
  2. Suck it up, and
  3. Push like you never pushed before.

That’s a lesson for all of us.


About the author

Igor K

Former detective, now entrepreneur with the passion for applied investigative journalism, profiling, personal development and business analyses.