Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Before Toni Braxton entered the reality-show world with her WE tv reality show Braxton Family Values (whose two-hour season finale is Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET), she was best known as a once-multiplatinum-selling singer who’d weathered her share of financial woes and health issues. Getting the 43-year-old singer to do the show took convincing from younger sister Tamar that it was the perfect venue to clear up misconceptions about who she is.
"I think the biggest misconception about me in the last few years is financial issues, where people think I’ve just spent all my money," Braxton -- a mom to sons Denim, 9, and Diezel, 8, who’s autistic (dad is musician husband Keri Lewis, from whom she’s separated) -- tells iVillage exclusively. "When I filed bankruptcy for the second time, I remember feeling really embarrassed. I felt like a failure, I felt that people were going to judge me as this person who spent all her money. What a lot of people don’t know is that my first bankruptcy, my royalty statement after I sold all those records was less than $2,000. This bankruptcy, because of my illness when I was diagnosed with lupus, I had to cancel my Vegas show. I had to file bankruptcy to protect myself.”
Braxton Family Values has given a no-holds-barred glimpse into her life, including the often-heated bickering with her singer sisters Trina, Tamar, Traci and Towanda. "We may fight really hard and drive each other to drink -- literally, with my sister Trina," says Braxton. "But we love each other and that’s what family’s about."
And the singer doesn’t have any regrets about doing the show. Well, maybe one. "I do regret having that towel on my head and the toothpaste on my cheeks," Braxton says about one episode. "I could have been a little bit cuter. I didn’t have to be that candid."
Watch our exclusive video interview to hear more about how Toni Braxton is coping with lupus and how she balances life as a mom.
Serena Kappes is iVillage's Entertainment Editorial Director. Follow her on Twitter: @serenakappes