Toni Braxton is opening up like never before in her brand new memoir, ‘Unbreak My Heart.’ In her emotional tell-all, Toni discusses her ‘extreme’ religious upbringing and shockingly reveals that her parents’ cult forced her to speak in tongues when she was only 8 years old!
Toni Braxton, 44, has already shared a lot about her personal life on WE’s hit reality show Braxton Family Values — but now the six-time Grammy award winner is digging even deeper in her first book, Unbreak My Heart: A Memoir. In the memoir, Toni reveals shocking, never-before-told details about her troubled childhood and her family’s involvement in a frightening religious cult called the Pillar of Truth.
Toni Braxton Reveals She Pretended To Speak In Tongues To Survive Parents’ Cult
Toni Braxton grew up in Maryland with her brother and four sisters in a family that was not very well off. When Toni was a little girl, the Braxtons joined a rigid Apostolic Pentecostal congregation called the Pillar of Truth, the UK’s Daily Mail reports.
The group was so strict that Toni says women were forced to ”cover their nakedness by wearing only skirts or dresses, full stockings even in the summer and no holidays were acknowledged — or ‘you’re going to hell!” Listening to pop music, going to the movies and even going roller-skating were also considered evil by the cult.
Toni recalls having to be prepared for the rapture to come at any time. The goal was to be “saved,” and that meant being baptized and learning to speak in tongues. Toni goes on to reveal one shocking moment when, at just 8 years old, she faked speaking in tongues to appease members of her church. That’s when she realized that “the ties that bound us together became the ties that strangled us. Our family had fallen into religious extremism.”
Toni Braxton Reveals She Had A Nose Job
The Braxton family’s religious beliefs made it difficult for Toni to connect with other children, but through the church, she did find one outlet that she loved — singing with her sisters.
Toni and her sisters traveled to churches around the area before Toni went away to school. When the time came for college, she transferred from school to school, but always wanted to pursue music instead. She was finally given the chance when she met producer Ernesto Phillips, who produced the Braxton girls’ first demo, “Good Life.” The girls signed with Aristo records and their single hit the airwaves but unfortunately did not do well. Producers were forced to make a tough call, and they only kept Toni.
With the money that she made from signing her first contract, Toni was able to do something she had been waiting years to do — get a nose job.
Toni said, “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 idea of altering my body.”
Toni’s Highs & Lows
For a while things were going well for Toni. She won six Grammys and stayed at the penthouse suite at the Four Seasons in New York City while planning her tour. Then suddenly Toni had to file for bankruptcy! She ended up having to borrow money from her record label in order to pay for her tour.
After finally settling with her record company and picking up a $20 million dollar paycheck for Secrets, the album that included her hit song “Un-Break My Heart,” Toni was able to move back to Atlanta, where she found love with ex-husband Keri Lewis. The couple had two sons together, Denim and Diezel.
Toni’s next move was to Broadway, where she took the lead in Aida. But after collapsing on stage, the talented singer was diagnosed with lupus. After that, Toni writes that divorce was inevitable and so was filing for bankruptcy — again.
These days, Toni is in a much better place. She was a competitor on Dancing with the Stars and she’s currenetly starring alongside her sisters in the hit show Braxton Family Values.
Toni writes, “My job is done. Braxton Family Values is the final punctuation mark on a sentence of guilt that has gone on for too many years — since that day in 1991 when my mother told me, ‘Don’t forget your sisters.'”
We think Toni is so brave for opening up and writing her memoir. We can’t wait to read Unbreak My Heart, which is available now!
What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Are you excited to read Toni’s book? Are you shocked by her family’s participation in a religious cult? Let us know!
— Caitlin Beck