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45 Interesting Facts About Toni Braxton: How She Went From a Conservative Home to a Grammy-Award Winning Singer

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 26: Recording artist Toni Braxton attends the 5th anniversary 'Creme of the Crop' post BET Awards Dinner Celebration at Mr Chow on June 26, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Photo : David Livingston/Getty Images) BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 26: Recording artist Toni Braxton attends the 5th anniversary 'Creme of the Crop' post BET Awards Dinner Celebration at Mr Chow on June 26, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.

Toni Braxton is an R&B singer-songwriter and actress best known for the hits "Un-Break My Heart," "You Mean the World to Me" and "Breathe Again." Here are 45 interesting facts about this talented and Grammy-Award winning singer.

  1. Her full name is Toni Michelle Braxton and she was born on Oct. 7, 1968, in Severn, Maryland.

  2. Her father worked for a utility company, but was also a minister and deeply religious man. Braxton's mother was an amateur opera singer, and gave her daughters singing lessons that they put to use in their father's church choir.

  3. Their upbringing was very conservative and her parents did not allow them to listen to pop music or watch TV. They were only allowed to listen to Gospel. Over the years, the parents allowed them to listen to soul and rock singers like Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan.

  4. Toni loved "Soul Train" as a kid.

  5. Toni Braxton also studied piano and composed her own songs.

  6. Braxton is the eldest of six siblings. She has a younger brother Michael, Jr. (born in 1968) and four younger sisters Traci (born in 1971), Towanda (born in 1973), Trina(born in 1974), and Tamar (born in 1977).

     Performer Toni Braxton arrives at The Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes October 28, 2000 at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.
    (Photo : Chris Weeks/Liaison) Performer Toni Braxton arrives at The Carousel of Hope Ball benefiting The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes October 28, 2000 at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.
  7. Braxton and her younger siblings were members of a number of faiths during their childhood as the Braxton parents searched for a harmonious spiritual fit.

  8. Braxton attended Bowie State University to obtain a teaching degree, but decided to sing professionally after she was discovered by William E. Pettaway, Jr., who reportedly heard her singing to herself while pumping gas.

  9. Toni and her sisters formed a group called "The Braxtons" in the late '80s and were signed to Arista Records in 1989. Their first and only single, "Good Life," was released in 1990.

  10. In 1992, she caught another big break when she was asked to fill in for Anita Baker and sing on the soundtrack for the film Boomerang.

  11. Her very first single, "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" was featured on the "Boomerang" Soundtrack.

    Toni Braxton at MTV Video Music Awards 2000 September 7, 2000
    (Photo : Frank Micelotta/Getty Images) Toni Braxton at MTV Video Music Awards 2000 September 7, 2000
  12. Toni was the first female to sign with Laface records.

  13. LA Reid stated during an interview with VH1 that LaFace records was very happy to have her on their label. "We called her the first lady of LaFace. She was our Diva. Clive had Whitney, Tommy had Mariah and we had Toni."

  14. Her self-titled debut studio album was released in 1993. It sold over 10 million copies worldwide, spawning such hits as "Another Sad Love Song" and "Breathe Again" and earning Braxton three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist.

    Toni Braxton with Grammy backstage at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2001.
    (Photo : Scott Gries/ImageDirect) Toni Braxton with Grammy backstage at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2001.
  15. Toni's song "Let It Flow" was recorded for and included on the soundtrack to the hit 1995 movie "Waiting to Exhale."

  16. Toni Braxton appeared in the Aaliyah tribute video "Miss You".

  17. In June 1996, Braxton released her second and most successful album, Secrets.

  18. Toni Braxton met her future husband, musician Keri Lewis, in 1997, when the group Mint Condition (which he was a member of at that time) opened up for her while she was on tour.

  19. Along with Babyface, Braxton also worked with R. Kelly, Tony Rich, and David Foster on the album.

  20. By 1996, Braxton had sold more than 20 million records; unfortunately, she was still waiting on her financial rewards, eventually launching an unsuccessful lawsuit against Arista and LaFace Records. Soon after, she filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  21. Upon successfully filing for bankruptcy, Braxton relinquished the rights to many of her valued possessions, including the Grammys and American Music Awards she had previously been granted.

  22. Toni's signature song, "Un-Break My Heart," spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart in 1996-1997. The song is the second biggest-selling single by a female singer in Billboard history behind Whitney Houston's, "I Will Always Love You."

  23. Toni co-wrote the 1997 single "How Could an Angel Break My Heart," which was also later included on the "Diana, Princess of Wales Tribute."

  24. She is 5' 2" tall.

  25. In February 2000, Toni performed with Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera at the Super Bowl halftime show.

  26. Her financial situation showed some signs of recovery after Toni released her hit album "The Heat" in 2000, which went on to sell over two million copies.

  27. On April 21, 2001, Toni and Keri Lewis married.

    Keri Lewis, right, the keyboardist for the band Mint Condition, holds his new bride, singer Toni Braxton, April 21, 2001 in Alpharetta, GA. The couple wed in a private outdoor ceremony.
    (Photo : Derringer & Weitz Communications/Newsmakers) Keri Lewis, right, the keyboardist for the band Mint Condition, holds his new bride, singer Toni Braxton, April 21, 2001 in Alpharetta, GA. The couple wed in a private outdoor ceremony.
  28. On December 2, 2001, she gave birth to their first child, a son named Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis.

  29. Toni's second son, Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, was born on March 31, 2003.

    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Singer Toni Braxton is seen onstage at the 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 7, 2005 in Pasadena, California.
    (Photo : Kevin Winter/Getty Images) PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Singer Toni Braxton is seen onstage at the 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 7, 2005 in Pasadena, California.
  30. Her son Diezel has been diagnosed with autism. She has been outspoken regarding her doctor's failure to diagnose Diezel's condition earlier, contending that if he had been diagnosed earlier, he could have been helped. In an October 2006 concert at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, it was reported that Toni Braxton broke down in tears discussing her son's condition.

  31. Toni Braxton made history in September 1998, when she became first black actress to play Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.

    Singer Toni Braxton attends the 'Duftstars 2010' at the Station on May 7, 2010 in Berlin, Germany.
    (Photo : Florian Seefried/Getty Images) Singer Toni Braxton attends the 'Duftstars 2010' at the Station on May 7, 2010 in Berlin, Germany.
  32. Toni Braxton made her acting debut in the 2000 movie "Kingdom Come" which also stars LL Cool J and Whoppi Goldberg.

  33. Throughout her career, Braxton has sold over 66 million records, including 40 million albums, worldwide.

  34. She has won seven Grammy Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards and several other awards.

    HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 10: Singer Toni Braxton and songwriter/record producer Kenny 'Babyface Edmonds attend a ceremony honoring Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds with the 2508th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 10, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
    (Photo : Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)) HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 10: Singer Toni Braxton and songwriter/record producer Kenny 'Babyface Edmonds attend a ceremony honoring Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds with the 2508th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 10, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
  35. Toni appeared on the season finale of "American Idol" in 2006, where she performed Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto" with Taylor Hicks.

  36. Toni replaced Wayne Newton as the new headlining act at Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel and Casino in 2006. "Toni Braxton: Revealed" became the first headlining show from an African American to enter the top 10 Vegas shows charting.

  37. In 2008, Toni Braxton was one of the contestants on "Dancing With the Stars." Her partner was Alec Mazo, but they were voted off in the fifth week of the competition.

  38. In November 2009, through her attorney Antavius Weems, Braxton announced that she and her husband had separated.

  39. Toni Braxton was forced to file for bankruptcy again in October 2010. In this filing, Toni was reportedly as much as $50 million in debt. She owed money to a wide range of creditors including the IRS, Tiffany & Co, AT&T and Neiman Marcus, just to name a few. She reportedly spent $2.5 million on makeup, clothing and hair alone in under two years.

  40. In January 2011, WE tv confirmed that it had signed Braxton for a reality series, Braxton Family Values which features Toni Braxton and her family. The show highlights the drama between the Braxton sisters.

  41. Braxton has been recognized for her distinctive contralto voice. Her voice has been called "husky, sultry, elegant and sexy.

  42. In 2011, Toni turned down an offer to pose in Playboy, citing her young sons.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Recording artist Toni Braxton attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by )
    (Photo : Jason Merritt/Getty Images) LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Recording artist Toni Braxton attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by )
  43. Toni Braxton has an auto-immune disease called lupus which affects her ability to perform on stage and can leave her feeling tired. It is a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease.

  44. Her net worth is $10 million.

  45. In July 2013, Toni lost the rights to 27 of her most famous songs, including "You're Making Me High", "Always" and "How Many Ways", as part of her ongoing bankruptcy case. That means she is no longer eligible to receive the lion's share of royalties from the sales of her own music.

    EW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Toni Braxton prepares backstage at the Heart Truth 2013 Fashion Show at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 6, 2013 in New York City.
    (Photo : Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Heart Truth) EW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Toni Braxton prepares backstage at the Heart Truth 2013 Fashion Show at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 6, 2013 in New York City.

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