Toni Braxton was told to hide her lupus diagnosis: 'People get scared around sick celebrities'

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The Grammy-winning singer says she struggled to find work following her diagnosis.

Toni Braxton is opening up about how her lupus diagnosis affected her career.

The Grammy-winning singer and actress, 56, said she was told by her management to hide her diagnosis in the latest episode of women's health podcast SHE MD. "People get scared around sick celebrities," Braxton said. "And 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."

Braxton said, "No one wanted to put me on a stage. 'Well, suppose she collapsed on stage, and the insurance, how are we going to do that?' And so I couldn't, at first I did not work."

Braxton first shared in 2010 that she had lupus, an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. The "Un-Break My Heart" singer said on the podcast that she met with at least six doctors before she was able to get a proper diagnosis. "Lupus can be very challenging and difficult to diagnose because everything has to line up, it's almost like an eclipse," she said. "And no one could find out what was wrong with me."

"It took me 10 years to get a diagnosis," Braxton added. "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 — not to say that other things do, but we always try to fake that we're feeling great or we don't want to worry anyone. As mothers and women, we tend to do that anyway."

Braxton also revealed in 2023 that she avoided a near-fatal heart attack after considering skipping a doctor's appointment related to her lupus diagnosis. The singer-songwriter isn't the only public figure who has been candid about her struggles with the autoimmune disease. Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga, among others, have spoken about their experiences with the chronic illness.

Watch more from Braxton's interview above.

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