For her sultry voice and classic songs about heartbreak, Toni Braxton is popular, but she says her career and personal life could have prospered more if it weren’t for her religious beliefs.
Braxton, the daughter of a pastor, says her religious experience is the reason she hasn’t personally and professionally done such things.
Toni Braxton is a preacher’s daughter.
Braxton grew up with her five siblings in a household. Her father is an ordained priest, and her mother also ministers and leads the choir of the church. Braxton reveals in her 2014 memoir, “Unbreak My Heart,” that before deciding on one that involved stringent practices, her parents pursued a few different religious affiliations.
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The Braxtons were Jehovah’s Witnesses at first, then Catholic, before the United Methodists were selected. Braxton was not permitted, under the strictest faith, to listen to secular music, go to movies, or engage in any extracurricular activities.
Braxton acknowledges that until she was 14, she was not able to wear trousers, explaining that if it was a cold winter day, her mother finally allowed her to.
It wasn’t until her late teens that the constraints were relaxed by her parents. By secretly watching episodes of Soul Train or listening to music while she was with friends, she discovered secular music.
Braxton sang inspirational music in a group with her sisters before receiving a solo recording contract.
Toni Braxton describes how her religious experience hindered her adult decisions.
Braxton was renowned on stage for wearing sexy clothing, but even that came at a price. In a recent interview, she claimed to Fault Magazine:
She said, “I was 20 and trying all kinds of things, but people still thought I was the preacher’s kid,” “But even the preacher’s kid has to grow up eventually. I think people still get caught up in it after all these years, but I understand that.”
Today, at 53, Braxton claims she’s not letting the thoughts of others get to her. “As I’ve gotten a little older, I’ve learned to live in the now and just enjoy it. I’m really proud of the work I have, so I don’t regret that. As you get older in your career, you get a confidence that allows you to maintain and enjoy your art.”
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She also confesses that her dating life has suffered.
Before, Braxton was married – to fellow musician Kerry Lewis.
But to fulfill her religious convictions, she says she kept back on dating.
“I regret not having more sex when I was younger. I should have drank more. I should have partied more. Smoked more, even. I think my religious upbringing kept me from doing a lot of things I should have done. At the age I am now, it doesn’t look good,” she told The Guardian.
She joked, “The way it works is you do this stuff in your 20s and 30s and then in your 40s you’ve earned enough to pay for therapy,”
Braxton now claims that she sees herself not as a religious person, but as someone who describes herself as “spiritual.”