Toni Braxton became an immediate R&B superstar after the release of her first album. LA Reid stated during an interview with VH1: “We called her the first lady of LaFace. She was our Diva. Clive had Whitney, Tommy had Mariah and we had Toni.” BBC called the album “spiritedly, a mature soul at its best – and just urban enough to make it the bedroom album for the hip hop generation. “Braxton had the sound of R&B greats like Anita Baker and the sex appeal to compete with fellow superstars Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Over the span of her career Braxton has sold over 66 million records, including 40 million albums, worldwide. Braxton’s musical catalog contains many classics that have won her many accolades. Her greatest is “Un-Break My Heart”, the Diane Warren-penned ballad that spent 11-weeks at number 1. Bob McCann, the author of Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television (2010), considered it “simply one of the most haunting R&B records ever made.” Reviewer Mark Edward Nero named it one of the best R&B break-up songs and considered it Braxton’s “finest moment”. He further commented, “damn, this song is so sad it can make people cry for hours at a time.” It’s Braxton’s ability to capture her audience that plays a factor in her continuous success. Braxton is a recipient of seven Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and nine Billboard Music Awards.
Throughout Braxton’s career, she made several impacts on fashion mostly for her legendary high splits in her dresses. Her now-famous Richard Tyler white satin gown has gone down in history as one of the most revealing and sexiest dresses. In 2011, Braxton topped the list for the Grammy Award’s best dressed of the decade. “I’ve always gone a little risque with all my other award show outfits.”In 2012, Braxton made the list for VH1’s 50 Greatest Women in Music. Braxton’s 2000 performance at Super Bowl XXXIV is ranked as one of the most memorable Super Bowl performances. Braxton is featured alongside other R&B and pop divas as a primary character on the popular web parody Got 2B Real: The Diva Variety Show. Braxton cemented her diva status in the music industry in 2006, with her Las Vegas residency Toni Braxton: Revealed, by becoming the first African American performer in Las Vegas to have her act enter the top ten Vegas shows charting. Braxton also made headlines for her signature and legendary Giantto Million Dollar Microphone that she performed every show with. Braxton said: “I think it’s a great element to the show. You have to have a little sprinkle of Liberace and this is my little sprinkle of that.” Braxton’s famous prop was made up of white gold and encrusted with 650 carats of diamonds. The microphone reportedly cost $1 million.
Braxton met musician Keri Lewis when his group, Mint Condition, opened for her on tour; they married on April 21, 2001. In 2001, she gave birth to their first child, a son named Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis. In 2002, while gearing up for the release of her fourth studio album, Braxton discovered she was pregnant with her second child; the complicated pregnancy confined her to bed rest. The couple’s second son, Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, was born in March 2003. As Diezel has been diagnosed with autism, Braxton has become involved with Autism Speaks, serving as their International Spokesperson. In November 2009 Braxton announced that she and her husband had separated. The couple later divorced in July 2013.
In her early 30s, Braxton had an abortion after discovering she was pregnant with then-boyfriend Keri Lewis. In her memoir Unbreak my Heart, Braxton discusses her abortion and guilt, saying that her son Diezel’s autism was “God’s payback.”
Braxton was dating rapper Birdman in May 2016, and the couple announced their engagement in February 2018. In January 2019, the couple had called off the engagement. However, in April 2019, both Braxton and Birdman confirmed that they were still together.
On July 8, 2015, Braxton’s attorney, Antavius Weems, announced that Braxton had settled her contentious child support case with her former husband, Keri Lewis. On June 2, 2016, the city and county officials of Atlanta, Georgia, named June 2 as Toni Braxton Day.
As of August 2007, rumors surfaced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Braxton stated to Access Hollywood, that the breast cancer rumors were false and that her health is in great condition. However, in 2008, she had a benign lump removed from her breast. On April 8, 2008, near the end of her two-year run at the Flamingo Hotel, Braxton was briefly hospitalized and the remaining dates on the show, which was scheduled to end on August 23, 2008, were canceled. Later, while appearing on Season 7 of Dancing with the Stars, she stated, that she has been diagnosed with microvascular angina (small vessel disease).
On November 18, 2010, Braxton admitted to CBS News that she had been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease.
Braxton’s uncle died of complications from lupus. While taping her reality series Braxton Family Values, she went in for surgery. Braxton was hospitalized in Los Angeles in December 2012 because of “minor health issues” related to lupus.