- Toni Braxton was diagnosed with Lupus in 2008.
- In 2023, she revealed she underwent heart surgery in 2022.
- She had a procedure to get a coronary stent due to her disease blocking 80% of the main artery.
When Toni Braxton sang “Un-Break My Heart” in 1996, she had no idea that 25+ years later, she would need a stent to fix damage caused by Lupus. In May 2023, Toni, 55, revealed that in September 2022, she underwent a surgical procedure after 80% of the main artery in her heart was blocked.
She almost didn’t know about the life-threatening condition, telling People she didn’t make time to get a check-up.” I kept putting it off, thinking, ‘Oh, I’m fine. I’ll be okay.’ But my doctor was persistent, and I went to get tested in the last week of September. I did a specialized test, and they looked at my heart and saw some abnormalities,” she said. “I found out that I needed a coronary stent. My left main coronary artery was 80% blocked. The doctors told me I could’ve had a massive heart attack, I would not have survived.”
“It was a traumatic moment for me. I was in shock,” she told People. “I remember that day because my chest was aching often, just hurting. And I thought I was just sad because, unfortunately, my sister [Traci Braxton] had just passed, and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really aching in my heart for my sister.’ And come to find out, of course, I was sad about my sister, but I also had underlying health issues. It was my body talking to me, telling me something’s not quite right.”
This is something that Toni has been dealing with for almost two decades. Here’s what you need to know about her ongoing battle with the disease.
Toni Braxton Diagnosed With Lupus
Toni Braxton went public with her Lupus diagnosis in 2010, saying she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease two years prior. “Today I’m going to talk about it because I’m a survivor, and I’m here, and I don’t want to lose hope,” she said at the 8th Annual Lupus LA Bag Ladies Luncheon, per Billboard. “Take a look — this is what lupus looks like.” She later revealed on Twitter that going public with her struggle was “a big moment for me. It was a tough decision to come out about it. But it was such a relief!”
When speaking with Prevention.com in 2020, Toni shared how she struggled with trying to explain to her kids why she’d been in and out of the hospital for months. “I remember having to tell my kids that I have Lupus. It was difficult,” she said, reflecting on how her sons, Deizel and Denim, didn’t understand why their mom was sick. “I remember that feeling. He cried and said, ‘Mommy’s ok,'” she said.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack your own tissues and organs, according to the Mayo Clinic. “Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.”
It is a disease that’s hard to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign is the ‘butterfly’ facial rash that develops across a person’s face. However, it doesn’t always show up.
Symptoms include Fatigue, fever, joint pain, stiffness and swelling, skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure, fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods, shortness of breath, chest pain, dry eyes, headaches, confusion, and memory loss.
There is no identified cause of Lupus. It’s likely a result of genetics and environment. It can be treated through medication, diet, and exercise.
How Long Has Toni Braxton Been Sick?
Toni has been battling Lupus for over 15 years. “They said I have lupus, and it loves my heart,” she told Prevention.com about her 2008 diagnosis. “They also said I need a heart transplant. I will never forget that as long as I live.”
Thanks to her efforts, she’s avoided the need for a transplant. However, this journey has been a rough one for her. “I was petrified, depressed, and scared, but I realized I had to change my life,” she said. But Toni pulled herself up and got back on with her life. “I may have lupus, but I decided I was not going to be a victim,” she added. “Now, I listen to my body.”
To help with her health, Toni has cut down on public performances. “I can’t do five or six shows a week like I used to, but I can do three or four shows,” she said. She also has microvascular angina – a type of angina, or chest pain, that affects the heart’s smallest coronary artery blood vessels — and continues to experience blood clots.
She also follows a healthy diet and exercise routine. “I’m becoming plant-based. I’m in the process,” she said in 2020. At the time, she was a pescetarian, weaning herself off of red meat. “But I’m going fully plant-based. It’s making me feel better, so there is some truth to it. But I do miss a good burger!”
The sacrifice is worth it; she said her blood work has improved. She also knows when to take it easy when she has flare-ups. “Lupus doesn’t have a face, we hide it. We have the tendency to pretend we feel great when we don’t,” she says. “I’m learning to say it’s OK that I don’t feel well and that it’s perfectly fine to take that time for myself.”
Also, Toni uses Uncle Buds Maximum Strength CBD as a way to help her pain management. “I get achy sometimes,” she said, adding that the CBD product “helps me find relief. … “I never knew about CBD. I was never an herbal user, but I’ve since educated myself about the healing properties of CBD. And it’s absolutely wonderful.”
“I remember when I first was diagnosed, I’d heard of Lupus, but I knew nothing about it. I didn’t know where to go, where to look, who to contact,” she told People in 2023. “Your doctors tell you about it, but it just sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking, you know? Womp womp womp, like what are you saying? So I had to educate myself, and it was a pretty scary moment for me.”
How Is Toni Braxton Doing Today?
“I’m lucky today. I’m in a better state today than I was when I was first diagnosed,” she said in 2020. “I know what to do when my body feels weird. I listen to my body now. I always try to find the silver lining in everything. Today is a good day!”
In 2023, after revealing her heart surgery, she said that things were on the upswing. “Had I not gotten that test, my life would’ve been different,” she told People. I look at it like it was a blessing in disguise for me because now, putting off tests? Oh no, I will not put off tests. If all I have to do for my Lupus and my kidney health is pee in a cup, I can pee in a cup. How many times do you need me to pee? If all I gotta do is get my arm pricked for some blood? Oh yes, I can do that. How many vials do you need?”