Braxton explores her career — good, bad — in TV movie

Mesfin Fekadu
Associated Press

New York — – Toni Braxton has opened her life to the cameras on the WEtv reality series “Braxton Family Values,” but she’s exploring more of her past in a Lifetime movie debuting Saturday.

“Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart,” named after one of her Grammy-winning hits, takes a look at the 48-year-old singer’s career, which spans 23 years.

The TV movie, which she executive-produced, stars Lex Scott Davis as Braxton.

“I think it’s important that when I’m telling my story … I wanted to be honest with myself. Not only did people hurt me, but I hurt people, too,” she said in a recent interview.

“And I wanted them to go along with me during my struggle. I wanted them to feel like they were sitting right there beside me through all the ups and downs.”

Braxton released her self-titled debut in 1993 with the help of Babyface and L.A. Reid. The album reached eight-times platinum status, winning three Grammy Awards, including best new artist for Braxton. Her follow-up, 1996’s “Secrets,” won two Grammys and was also certified eight-times platinum.

But, despite her pop-star success, she’s filed for bankruptcy multiple times.

“The (first) contract I signed, if I could do it all over again, I would do it again,” Braxton said by phone from Los Angeles. “I think what we show in the movie is that once I had success, I was still governed by the old contract and it’s supposed to change. … I did get some bumps and some raises, but it was so minimal and it wasn’t reflected on the sales” of her albums.

Braxton said she grew emotional watching her story unfold on the screen. She has appeared in film, TV and on Broadway; has battled lupus; and is an avid advocate for autism research (her son, Diezel, has autism).

“It was surreal,” said the singer, who released her memoir, “Unbreak My Heart,” in 2014. “Overall, I’m proud of myself that I survived those things.”

Braxton said she was honest with her story and tried not to tell other people’s stories in the process of making the two-hour TV movie.

“I think it’s very important in any business that, especially in our business, to guard secrets. Sometimes while you’re telling your story, you tell other people’s stories, and a lot of things happened that I would never feel comfortable talking about — ever, ever,” she said. “So that was the most challenging part, even writing the book, once it was in black and white, you know, there were some stories that needed to be completed, but we can’t talk about that.

“But overall, the story is 100 percent accurate on my part, what happened to me, that part of it.”

‘Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart’

8 p.m. Saturday