Toni Braxton is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, record producer, actress, and television personality who has a total asset estimated at $10 million. The “Unbreak My Heart” singer should be worth far more judging from the level of success she accomplished in the 90’s, but unfortunately, she isn’t as good with financial management as she is with her voice. Toni has had to file for bankruptcy twice in her career and has even lost royalties to some of her most famous songs. However, since overcoming bankruptcy for the second time in 2014, Toni has been working hard to avoid repeating past mistakes. Read on to discover more.
Toni Braxton’s Bio
Toni Michelle Braxton, the eldest of the six Braxton siblings (including 4 sisters and 1 brother) was born on October 7, 1967, in Severn, Maryland. Toni and all of her siblings inherited the singing gift from their mother Evelyn Jackson who was a former opera singer.
Toni’s both parents were pastors and thus she was raised in a staunchly religious family where associations with pop culture were prohibited. Together with her sisters, Toni began to sing in the choir of a church pastored by their father, Michael Conrad Braxton, Sr.
Though she was really passionate about music, Toni never really dreamed of going professional, instead, she sought to be a music teacher. However, while studying to achieve her dreams at Bowie State University things turned around for her when she encountered William E. Pettaway, Jr who met her at a gas station singing to herself. Pettaway immediately offered to be her manager and there, her journey to a professional music career had begun.
In the 1980’s Toni began singing with her four sisters as The Braxtons. Thanks to Pettway, The Braxtons signed with Arista Records in 1989 and released their debut single “Good Life” in 1990. Unfortunately, the single was commercially unsuccessful and didn’t peak higher than #79 on the Billboard charts. The group’s inability to be marketable was blamed on the obvious age difference between the sisters, causing Arista Records to annul their contract with them. Toni, on the other hand, landed a recording deal with LaFace Records.
Toni’s major breakthrough came in 1992 when the then-pregnant Anita Baker chose her as her substitute to record “Love Shoulda Brought You Home”, a soundtrack for the Eddie Murphy movie “Boomerang”. The exposure and critical acclaim she had received from the movie soundtrack paved the way for the success of her own music.
Her debut solo single “Another Sad Love Song” was a hit that topped the R&B Singles charts and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her second single “Breathe Again” was also a major success; it peaked at #2 on the UK charts and also reached the Hot 100 Top 5. In 1993, Toni Braxton released her debut self-titled album which was an instant hit, debuting atop the Billboard 200 and selling over 10 million copies. The album also won her three Grammy Awards and 2 AMA Awards.
Her success skyrocketed with the release of her second album “Secrets” (1996) which spawned the hit singles “You’re Makin’ Me High” which topped the Hot 100 and later “Un-break My Heart” which stayed on the Hot 100 top spot for 11 consecutive weeks to become her biggest hit ever as well as her signature song which later earned her a Grammy for best RnB performance. “Secrets” have sold over 15 million copies. By the end of 1996, Toni had sold over 20 million records.
Toni Braxton First Bankruptcy And Comeback
Braxton’s tremendous commercial success wasn’t reflecting in her bank account as she wasn’t receiving a worthy cut from her label. This forced her to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy for the first time in 1998 declaring $5 million in debt. She was forced to relinquish the rights to some of the awards she had won including her Grammys.
In a bid to recover her finances, Toni dabbled into Hollywood and became the first black woman to play the role of Belle in the Disney Broadway show “Beauty and the Beast”. She also sang “A Change in Me” a musical for the show which became a huge success.
Toni resolved her conflict with LaFace label in 1999 and signed a new $20 million recording deal. Her third studio album “The Heat” was released in 2000. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and spawned hit singles like “He Wasn’t Man Enough For Me”. It sold almost 200,000 copies in its first week and received double platinum certification, by 2002 it received quadruple certification.
Health Problems And Second Bankruptcy
After a turbulent relationship with Arista, Toni left in 2003 and experienced moderate success in her music career. During this periods she also continued to make movie and TV appearances. Things looked bright again in 2006 when she signed a Las Vegas residency titled “Toni Braxton: Revealed”. The residency was highly successful but was abruptly canceled in 2008 due to Toni’s health problems. The singer had been diagnosed with autism and also suffered pericarditis and hypertension. She also revealed that she had been managing Lupus disease.
In 2009, Toni got her first major single since 2000 with “Yesterday” feat Trey Songz from her 7th studio album, Pulse (2010).
As a result of the abrupt cancellation of her Las Vegas residency, Toni found herself in money troubles yet again, and looked to an insurance agency, Lloyd’s of London for help. Toni had previously bought $70,000 worth of policy which included financial compensations for financial losses of up to $2.8 million. However, the insurance agency filed a counter lawsuit and nullified their contract with her. This left Toni in more trouble as she owed money to numerous companies as well as the IRS.
She filed for a second bankruptcy declaring $50 million in debt. She also lost the rights to over 20 of her famous songs. By 2013 Toni successfully had most of her debts cleared.
Family Values / Sisters
One of Toni’s comeback efforts was reality TV show “Braxton Family Values” which debuted on WE tv in April 2011. The show which chronicles the lives of Toni and her four sisters – Towanda Braxton, Trina Braxton, Traci Braxton, and Tamar Braxton – as well as their mom, has since become a hit for WE. It spawned the spinoff “Tamar & Vince” which began airing on the same network on December 11, 2011.
Toni also started earning top dollar from live performances and private gigs for American and European moguls. Despite a retirement threat in 2013, Toni returned in 2014 with “Love, Marriage & Divorce” album with longtime collaborator Babyface. Her “The Hits Tour” kicked off on October 8, 2016, and the first show was reportedly sold out.
Toni’s biographical music film titled “Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart” was released in 2016.
Though her health problems often interfere with her endeavors, it is no doubt that Toni is back to winning ways. In 2014, she paid $3 million for a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom, 5,323 square foot home in the celebrity-studded The Oaks in Calabasas.
Toni Braxton has sold over 67 million records worldwide. Her accolades include 7 Grammys, 9 Billboard Music Awards, 7 American Music Awards among others. Her wealth after all the past hurdles is estimated at $10 million.
Details Of Her Ex-Husband And Sons
Tony Braxton’s first and only husband was Keri Lewis whom she married in 2001. The couple got divorced in the year 2013 though they were separated in 2009. Tony had two sons with her ex-husband, namely; Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis (2001) and Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis (2003).