The Huffington Post reported today that six-time Grammy winning singer Toni Braxton was weighed down for years under a load of guilt. Braxton revealed that she felt so guilty about a 2001 abortion of ex-husband Keri Lewis’ child, that she believed God had punished her by giving her son Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, 11, autism.
Braxton shared her struggles in her new book, a memoir called “Unbreak My Heart”. Braxton said that she was raised in a very religious household. Viewers of her reality show “Braxton Family Values” are familiar with her parents Michael and Evelyn Braxton, now divorced. Even though their children are adults, Mom and Pop Braxton often appear on the show and do not bite their tongues about what they feel is right and wrong in their children’s lives.
Both Michael and Evelyn are pastors and Toni said that bible study was more important than school homework when she was growing up, and she was forced to memorize 26 verses of scripture per week. According to Toni she was taught women had to cover their nakedness by wearing only skirts or dresses, full stockings even in the summer and no holidays were acknowledged – or “You’re going to hell!”
In her book Toni says that she began singing in the Sunshine Band, the children’s church choir because there were so many religious restrictions that it left little else for children to do. Toni couldn’t go roller-skating because that music was evil. Going to a movie was a sin. Drinking was ungodly. Braxton said that she began connecting religion, God and church with judgment, anxiety and guilt.
According to Us Weekly Magazine, Toni felt that she had taken a life and sooner or later God was going to get her back. She said, “I believed God's payback was to give my son autism.” Writing her story and sharing her burden of guilt has been cathartic for Toni. She says she has since had a change of heart. While she admits that raising a child with autism has its challenges, it also has its rewards; and she no longer views it as a punishment.