Can Braxton Come Back From Bankruptcy No. 2?
Despite the bad sales, Braxton took her music directly to fans with a Las Vegas revue show. Eighteen months later, she said she was diagnosed with microvascular angina, a narrowing of vessels in the heart, and later lupus, a hereditary autoimmune disease that killed her uncle.
"The doctors told me I would never be able to perform. They said, one or two songs, here and there, occasionally," she recalled.
The life-threatening diagnosis squashed her self-financed Vegas show and caused her second bankruptcy she claimed. "The Vegas show, I just renewed all my contracts with all my vendors, and then a month later I got sick," she said.
Filing bankruptcy for a second time was difficult for the R&B diva. She felt she had let her fans down.
"Because you're supposed to be smarter. People expect for you to be smarter," Braxton said, adding that she hoped being open about her financial troubles would serve as a cautionary tale for young aspiring singers.
Now, she is doing a reality TV show, "Braxton Family Values" alongside her sisters on WE-TV to tell her side of the story.
"My bankruptcy situation worked out really great for me," she said on an episode of the program.
Indeed it did. A federal court discharged most of Braxton's debt and allowed her to keep her personal possessions including a Porsche, piano and her six Grammys. Though she is now keeps a tighter grip on those Gucci purse-strings.
"I have to monitor myself because I'm definitely on a budget," she joked.
To support her two children, one of whom has autism, Braxton, like many celebrities, has joined the lucrative private performance circuit, singing for adoring audiences overseas.
"The money is lovely. I can't deny the money is yummy," said Braxton, who declined to disclose exactly how much she is paid, but did say she is still immensely popular in Europe.
"I love Russian audiences. They love to be entertained. I don't know if it's the vodka or what, but they love it, and I'm just their girl."
But wherever Braxton goes, she said audiences still want to hear the same old songs. Thankfully, that's not the song she dreads singing the most.
"There are moments that I would choose to exercise not singing ["Breathe Again"], I can't deny it," she said. "Still. I prefer that over 'Un-Break My Heart.'"
At 45, Braxton is determined to make a comeback. She is acting now, starring in the Lifetime movie, "Twist of Faith" as a singer in a church choir.
"I'm slowly getting comfortable in the acting world. It's really nice. I like pretending so it's great," she said of the movie which premiers Feb. 9, 2013. "I think it's important for an artist to graduate and try new things even if it doesn't work. But of course I'm Toni Braxton, the entertainer, the singer. That's my love."
She recently entered the studio to record new music for the first time in years. The first single, "I Heart You" topped the dance charts this summer.
The moral of the story, with a voice like that, she'll always be able to sing her way out of a hole.