Toni Braxton Says Lupus Diagnosis Took 10 Years

The singer was misdiagnosed multiple times.

Toni Braxton has been living with Lupus for nearly 20 years now. But it took multiple doctors and years before she received a proper diagnosis. According to the National Institutes of Health, lupus is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body. Lupus occurs when the immune system, which normally helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks its own tissues. Braxton had been experiencing fatigue and other symptoms for months and chalked it up to stress and being tired from performing. While performing a show during her popular Las Vegas residency, she passed out. She was initially told she had a heart attack and would never perform again. "Lupus can be very challenging and difficult to diagnose because everything has to line up; it's almost like an eclipse…And no one could find out what was wrong with me," she said in a recent chat about her journey with the disease, as reported by The Jasmine Brand.

Before meeting Dr. Daniel Jeffrey Wallace, who ultimately diagnosed the "Unbreak My Heart" songstress and has helped her manage her lupus, she said it took her a decade to get a proper diagnosis. "It took me 10 years to get a diagnosis…I felt like a hypochondriac…Like I'm just telling people, 'I don't feel well,' and no one's listening….And lupus doesn't have a look to it," she said. "Not to say that other things do, but we always try to fake that we're feeling great or don't want to worry anyone. As mothers and women, we tend to do that anyway." 

Once she was diagnosed, her health issues impacted her career. She canceled her Las Vegas residency and ultimately had to file for bankruptcy for a second time. It took a while to find work as symptoms impacted her performance. Her colleagues were also not understanding. "People get scared around sick celebrities. I couldn't get insured. You would not get work, because the second I was told I had it, I didn't get work at first," she recalled. 

Luckily, things improved. Her reality series, Braxton Family Values, premiered in 2011 on We tv which followed her life alongside her talented sisters and mother. The show lasted for seven seasons before its cancelation in 2020. It gave her a second career boost, resulting in more music, tours, acting, and brand partnerships. She's also a spokesperson for the lupus foundation. Her family's revived reality series is in the works.