​​Toni Braxton Reveals She ‘Was Told to Hide’ Lupus: ‘I Felt Like a Hypochondriac’

Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton on the SHE MD podcast. Photo: SHE MD PODCAST/YOUTUBE

Toni Braxton, the renowned singer behind hits like “Un-Break My Heart”, has not only captured hearts with her music but also inspired many with her courageous battle against lupus. In 2008, Braxton was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, and organs.

In a recent appearance on the SHE MD podcast, Braxton revealed a startling truth about her struggle with lupus – she was advised by her management team to keep her diagnosis a secret.

“I was told to hide that I had lupus. Like, ’Don’t tell anyone,’ ” the singer shares. 

Her management team instructed her to hide the fact that she had lupus, fearing that disclosing her condition would scare people away and make it difficult for her to get insured. Braxton’s revelation sheds light on the challenges faced by celebrities dealing with chronic illnesses and the pressure to maintain a flawless public image.

“People get scared around sick celebrities. Nobody gets insured, and I couldn’t get insured,” Braxton adds.

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Rheumatologist Dr. Daniel Jeffrey Wallace, who diagnosed Braxton with lupus, also addressed the challenges of celebrities revealing their health challenges. “I was president of the Lupus Foundation of America and our problem was we had all these celebrities with lupus but none of them would come out,” Dr. Wallace shared during the podcast.

“You would not get work,” Braxton adds. “I didn’t get work at first. No one wanted to put me on the stage. ‘Well, suppose she collapses on stage? And insurance? How are we going to do that?’ “

Braxton also opened up about the difficult journey to her diagnosis, sharing that she felt like a “hypochondriac,” before her diagnosis as she struggled with symptoms that seemed to mimic those of other ailments. Lupus, often called the “great imitator,” can be challenging to diagnose because its symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, and joint pain, can be mistaken for other conditions.

Many people with lupus may also develop a facial rash “that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across