Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Toni Braxton Reveals Guilt about Abortion in Memoir 'Unbreak My Heart'

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In her new memoir, "Unbreak My Heart", Toni Braxton  has opened up on her life, especially on how she still feels guilty about getting an abortion for her first pregnancy. She also talks about the two very public bankruptcies, her feelings on cosmetic surgery and getting a nose and boob job in 1992 as well as her divorce.

Love was in the cards when Toni Braxton met Keri Lewis, a keyboardist and producer. She got pregnant but decided that the baby should be aborted because she was taking Accutane for acne, a drug that has since been taken off the market for possible catastrophic side effects of deformation of a fetus for up to two years after ceasing to take the drug.

Toni Braxton had signed a waiver at the time she got the prescription, saying she understood the side effects. So she quickly decided to terminate the pregnancy, but now admits that even if she hadn’t been on the medication, she would’ve made the same decision. According to Braxton, her reasons had more to do with convenience than fear her baby would be abnormal. Now she is wracked with guilt over that decision.
'I believed I had taken a life – an action that I thought God might one day punish me for’.

Keri Lewis and Toni did get married in 2001 and eight months later had a baby boy, Denim. Two years later, she would have a second baby boy, Diezel was diagnosed with autism.

I have sometimes wondered whether God was punishing me for the abortion I had years ago by allowing my son to have autism. Or by giving me so many health issues.

On cosmetic surgery and getting a nose and boob job

‘I’d been wanting to change my nose for years – I wanted it to be less broad. But because of the conservative ideas I was raised with, I struggled with the thought of altering my body. And of course, I later got my boobies done. I’d always been shaped like a gymnast – size double A breasts and thunder thighs. In fact, I wish I would’ve had lipo on my inner thighs. I’ve always hated them. I loved how they looked. At last – Homely Toni Braxton had some curves. Before I got the breast implants, my stylist would use duct tape beneath my tiny boobs to make it look like I had cleavage. To this day, I am still happy I got that nose job. Yes, I wish I’d gotten it smaller, but the new nose did fit my face so much better’.

‘Now people started asking, ‘Who’s the short girl with the chubby cheeks, the pixie haircut, and the big ol’ butt? I never thought I had a big butt — though I do have Serena Williams thighs.

On becoming rich and famous

Her first big financial payday came in 1996 with an advance on future recordings that came to a whopping $1.6 million before paying taxes, agents, lawyers, managers – which left her $600,000. So she started spending.

She bought a house, a mahogany Schimmel piano, leased a Jeep Cherokee. She began sleeping in the double suite penthouse at the Four Seasons in New York.

My only regret was having no one to share the room with me’

Clive Davis, the famed record producer and music industry executive, wanted her to go out on tour with saxophonist Kenny G. so she could develop the same crossover appeal as Whitney Houston and develop a white audience.But she needed to work with black promoters as well.

She tried backing out of the tour but it was too late; tickets were being sold. When the tour ended, she had to borrow a million dollars from Arista to pay for the band, the sets, lights, background singers and dancers, wardrobe.

On being Heartbroken

During the tour, she hooked up with Curtis Martin, a football running back who played for the New England Patriots.Several weeks in the relationship, Curtis asked her how she felt about waiting. They had only been kissing and hugging.

'For me, sex is for when you get married. 'I can't wait to make love to my wife one day'.

In early 1998, around the time of her first bankruptcy, Curtis was very supportive 'but then things started to get weird in other ways'. He had new restriction on touching and started saying;

'We shouldn't touch each other below the neck'. We'd be making out, and all of a sudden, he'd just stop. 'That could lead to other things.He then announced that 'Jesus told me we had to break up. God told me that we shouldn't be together anymore. I can best serve you as your friend'.

'Huh? We're friends now', she protested. 'We're not lovers - we haven't even been intimate'! I flew back to Los Angeles feeling numb and confused. I was completely heartbroken...' Once home, I curled up in my bedroom and cried like a little kid...'

Being Broke Again

Nothing was going right. She couldn’t keep up with payments she owed Arista. She sold her home in Atlanta and moved to LA but she still needed to borrow more money to pay for the tour.

After Arista deducted their costs and production of the album that was selling with the hit Un-Break My Heart, her royalty check was $2000.

Despite five Grammys, five American Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards at the end of 1997, her debts totaled nearly $4 million.She had to sue her producer and Arista and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She had signed a bad contract that allowed the record company to collect marketing costs of her albums from her instead of underwriting the expenses themselves.

‘Even though I was trying to act strong, I felt broken.’

She cried her way through her depression and ate Twizzlers and Kit Kats.

She finally reached an agreement with the label and Toni received $20 million. But then there were agents, managers, and attorneys to pay, along with taxes. She moved back to Atlanta.

On her deteriorating Health and Divorce

Her health kept deteriorating with the pressure to perform and stress over her deteriorating marriage. Divorce was inevitable, she writes, but Toni and her ex have but remained friends. A second Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing was also inevitable.

She was now being sued to cover the cost of the cancelled shows at the Flamingo. She was the producer and the insurance company was not going to pick up the cost because she failed to list her health conditions. She had also taken out a personal loan for millions to launch the Vegas show

She lost her home in Vegas. The bank foreclosed on her home in Atlanta and she moved into a rented home in LA.

Following the diagnosis of lupus, she thought it best not to disclose her condition thinking people wouldn’t hire her or want to be associated with her. ‘

But carrying such a big secret is a form of bondage – and above all else, I want to be free"

She’s now on the drug Kenalog, a steroid for the lupus. She also gets shots that cause her face to balloon up.

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