How Toni Braxton's Toughest Times Will Be Unveiled in Unbreak My Heart

Ingela Ratledge
toni braxton
Lifetime

Divorce. Multiple bankruptcies. A life-endangering health crisis. Sounds like another over-the-top Lifetime movie—only all of the drama in this tale happens to be true. Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, based on the 2014 memoir of the same name, offers a diva’s-eye view of the platinum-selling artist’s personal and professional struggles. Braxton, who serves as executive producer, sings like a canary about the experience.

Even on Braxton Family Values, your reality series on WEtv, you’ve stayed pretty reserved. Why open up now?
I tend to be aloof, so there’s a lot people don’t know. I just wanted to tell my story, because others have been doing it for years.

Any misconceptions that you’re especially eager to clear up?
Probably what happened with my first bankruptcy. Or both bankruptcies, if I’m honest—my money problems have such big claws. We have a court scene that is powerful and will explain a lot.

How hands-on were you in the production?
I was involved in hair, makeup, everything—except picking who would play me, because I couldn’t be objective. The young lady [Lex Scott Davis] they chose is great. It’s surreal. She holds her head like me, and she fit into all of my outfits—we use my real clothes!

What were the toughest topics to cover?
Oh, there were a couple. There was the moment I found out my 3-year-old son [Diezel, currently 12] had autism. And my marriage [to now ex-husband Keri Lewis].

In 2010, you went public about suffering from lupus. How will it be addressed?
People will see what I went through. I remember feeling like I was going to die. It’s been tough.

The title is borrowed from your biggest hit. What does Unbreak My Heart mean to you?
I love making a living at music. But I never knew that this whole journey would break my heart as severely as it did. Now, I’m asking permission to unbreak it. And yes, I know that sounds really corny!

Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart  Saturday, Jan. 23  8/7c, Lifetime