Toni Braxton Claims Oprah Winfrey Was Mean

by Yesha Callahan

Toni Braxton and Oprah Winfrey will probably never be best friends after tonight’s airing of Braxton’s VH1 Behind The Music special. Braxton puts Winfrey on blast, saying during her 1998 interview about her bankruptcy, Oprah was mean and it shocked her.

Toni tells VH1:

“She was so frickin’ mean to me. I was in shock.”
“I couldn’t believe it ‘cause I loved her so much. I admired her and looked up to her and she pretty much reprimanded me.“
“She says to me, ‘I heard you have Gucci flatware. I’m Oprah Winfrey and I don’t have Gucci flatware.’
“You ain’t got Gucci flatware because you didn’t want to buy it, not because you couldn’t afford it! What do you mean?”
“And immediately she made me feel this big. That moment completely changed my career. It made people look down on me.”

Well, apparently Oprah’s tough love didn’t work on Toni. Since the interview Toni file for bankruptcy again in 2010 claiming she owed between $10 and $50 million. In the documents, Braxton owed everyone from AT&T to BMW. As of today, there are also speculations of Toni fraudulently giving $53,000 to her husband. According to new docs filed in Toni’s ongoing bankruptcy case, Toni’s estranged husband Keri Lewis received the 5-figure sum after Toni’s money was already earmarked to repay creditors. Now, the bankruptcy trustee is suing Lewis to get the money back. A rep for Braxton tells TMZ, “All of the payments made to Lewis prior to Toni’s bankruptcy filing were appropriate transfers for reasonable and necessary personal and business expenses in the ordinary course of her business.”

  • Shelly

    She couldn’t see that Oprah was trying to open her eyes about her extravagant spending habits. Next time, listen to Mother O.

  • http://gravatar.com/heavenleiblu heavenleiblu

    She was mean for pointing out your (continued) fiscal irresponsibility that is still playing out some 15-odd years later after her pulling your coat tails? Aunt Toni…please have a seat.

  • TJH

    Tough love is usually the hardest to take, but the most honest and valuable. Everyone else around you stroking your ego and allowing you to blame the world is never helpful. If you own Gucci flatware and you are in the hole, going bankrupt, and fending off a line of creditors, then yes there is something wrong with that. Toni gets no sympathy from me–and she probably won’t get it from many other people.

  • African Mami

    I do NOT care about Toni Braxton’s bankrupcy issues, but Oprah does have a mean streak in her, that is not apparent, but when it rears its ugly head, ooooweee you better be ready to feel like a safari ant.

  • http://gravatar.com/ndakanatswa Zanele

    “And immediately she made me feel this big. That moment completely changed my career. It made people look down on me.” – Toni Braxton.

    Ummm. Nope! People look down on you because in their opinion (going by album sales in number) and mine (because I agree :D) people want to emulate and admire someone who is responsible and takes ownership of past mistakes, addresses their bad and/or damaging habits (like wreckless management of money) and does so graciously without passing the blame onto unrelated third parties.

  • http://sixfoota.tumblr.com DeezaPeeza

    Folks hate to hear the truth

  • Laugh

    I REMEMBER this interview!!! Ummm Toni, you need to take sev.er.al. seats! Because Oprah was actually helping you and she wasn’t one bit mean to you. Seriously someone basically saying hey I’m a billionaire and I don’t even have Gucci silverware or even knew Gucci made silverware. This is mean? I remember Oprah told you to make sure you sign your own checks so people can’t take advantage of you. But of course you probably don’t remember that part! And the fact that you are trying to make Oprah seem like a mean woman for saying she doesn’t have Gucci silverware is a disgrace on your part.

    I watch the Braxton’s and Toni who recently filed again was looking at $35,000 a month rental homes. The homes were HUGE and keep in mind it was just for her when she would be in LA. If she would learn she would get a nice $1-$2 million dollar property for her and her two sons pay it off outright so she doesn’t have to keep this cycle of wasting millions and filing bankruptcy. But no all she’s learned from this is that Oprah was mean for not patting her on the back for wasting money.

  • Starla

    I didn’t even know Gucci made flatware. You learn something new everyday.

  • __A

    That wasn’t mean. Toni should have listened. Gucci flatware? Really? Didn’t she have money problems a second time?

  • CurlyBunnie

    She STILL hasn’t learned a thing. I watched an episode of the Braxton’s {just one!} and couldn’t get over how materialistic they were. if you are going through bankruptcy, who spends much needed funds on a thousand dollar pocketbook?! You get no sympathy from me. Oprah was trying to open your eyes, not beat you down. she was probably disgusted w/you, as am I!

  • http://mybigfatqlife.wordpress.com The Mighty Quinn

    Miss Thang needs to take a WHOLE stadium of seats. Really? I LLOVE O, who has never claimed she was perfect and WILL ask the tough questions. I will never understand the keeping up with the Joneses.

  • Mademoiselle

    It bothers me so much when people equate being honest with being mean. Even if Oprah can be mean, her point still stands: “Is Gucci flatware worth bankruptcy considering it won’t make the food taste any better?” Prioritize your extravagance.

  • Laugh

    I watched the video and this just amazes me because Toni is essentially trying to say Oprah ruined her career! Wow, for saying she didn’t know Gucci made flatware? Really Toni? If you had any sense you would have tried to keep contact with Oprah and learned all you could from her on how to manage such great wealth.

  • ruggie

    Toni Braxton remains one of the most talented singers ever, IMO. Her bankruptcies, tacky sisters and that 2001 Grammy dress did more damage than Oprah could. But Toni is still one of my favorite singers.

  • therealloLa

    I think Toni is an amazing talent in the industry, but this shows that she has a lot of growing up to do. This woman is on television blaming someone else for her problems. And not taking any responsibility in any sense. How many times does this woman have to call bankrupt to learn her lesson on being wise and knowing how to invest her money that will benefit her and her children (she has 2). Im not a fan of Oprah and never really watched her show but I understand what he was saying, she wasn’t being mean she was giving tuff love to someone who needs to wake up and see reality for what is is and realise she cant live life at such a whim. ‘Money comes fast and goes really quickly’ and unfortunately she has not learned that lesson in any shape or form.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I don’t think Oprah was wrong in this world you need people to tell you if you have dirt are your face and Oprah did that by giving to her straight. Personally agter watching a couple of episodes of the Braxtons Toni was a major part in while her career failed.

  • Keepitreal

    Psssst. Toni, Oprah was right. Gucci flatware, really? This dummy equates sage advice with meanness, no wonder she continues to have money issues with judgement like that. RMFE

  • Mr. Man

    I was a total Toni B. fan as I loved Anita Baker. I have thing for classy, very talented strong singers. Binks you are right on the money, Toni ruined her own career when she left Babyface went skank style, in an interview it was a direction she always wanted to go but Laface records wouldn’t let her (they were protecting her career)once she left them to do her own hot mamma thing she fell flat. She’s really an immature woman.

  • SS25

    “A fool and his money are soon parted”. This applies to everyone, not just black people.

  • Rue

    I have never loved Oprah more.

  • Apple

    Aw I thought it was her medical bills that bankrupted her

  • Sunshine

    I’m gonna take it there and play Devil’s advocate. I remember watching the show and feeling like Oprah was doing like a lot of these older BW do with the younger women and throwing some hate Toni’s way INSTEAD of being supportive and loving with her constructive criticism. The Big O does it a lot, which is why I can’t really take her. That kind of attitude will diminish and alienate our young sisters, yet we wonder why we all act so hateful to one another? I know Oprah thought she was helping Toni in some sense but she did it in such an embarrassing and humiliating way and I know that was also on purpose. In our community, we thinks it’s okay to knock a sister down because she thinks she’s “all that.” TRUST, I’ve had many women who calls themselves my family and my mother’s friends side eye me and talk ish instead of coming to me in love and concern. All the while worrying how long my hair is or what I’m wearing. Hmmm…. Don’t tell me that Oprah doesn’t go there with other BW. Remember Tyra and Iyanla????

  • Nikster

    I disagree. I remember that episode and Oprah was talking to Toni like a business woman. Stop spending wastefully on name brand items and also be aware of who spends your money. She was letting people sign her own checks. Oprah kept it real and guess what Toni decided not to listen and has another BK. If Oprah gave me financial advice I would be all over that. I would put my ego aside and realize that maybe there are some mistakes I am making.

  • Shirl

    I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone that owns Gucci flatware.

  • Sunshine

    But, obviously by her current circumstances, she’s not a great business women and humiliating her in front of the world is NOT going to make her overnight be a successful, confident woman who has her stuff together. Give me a break! If anything, that will lower her self-esteem even more, especially being chastised by an icon in the Black community. Does no one get this? I watched a few episodes of Toni’s show and it seems like she is a passive personality who gets taken advantage of, even by her family. Where was the compassion??? Oh, I forgot because she’s cute and had the audacity to buy Gucci flatware- throw her to the lions! smh

  • sara medlock

    Also, Ms Winfrey also gave Toni Braxton advice on how to handle her money and sign her own checks in that interview. Sometime the wisdom of others can benifit others. It is were your put your priorities in Gucci flatware or building an empire you decide. Having an TV network or being on a reality show. Just saying I think I would be upset with myself not Oparh Winfrey

  • Keepitreal

    Older black women are evil, got it. RMFE

  • Pseudonym

    …but Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy multiple times and has Gucci flatware and was on her reality show house-shopping for a second home…

  • Rue

    “But people like Oprah, should be educating brothers and sisters about money, or the ways of old money.”
    ROTFL. Why. Oprah was smart enough to figure stuff out for herself, why can’t Toni? It’s not like you have to be a rocket scientist to know not to buy tacky ish.

  • YOUTOO

    oprah was right- she went bankrupt and oprah knows how to “keep money
    listen to oprah dummy

  • lisa rice

    Since Toni didn’t listen to Oprah maybe she should talk to Ivanlya or Suzie

  • Downsouth Transplant

    you & my boo, he will be giving a lot of ya’ll shade for talking about his girl like that! LOL regardless that he has never met her nor does she know him.

  • Toia

    After reading Sunshine post. It occured to me that Toni’s generation takes constructive criticism as an insult. That’s to bad. Bill Crosby gave sage advice to Oprah many years ago and she took heed. He told her to sign your own checks no matter what! She passed that infro to toni. However, many black entertainers don’t understand that and many are in dire straits now. P.S I like Oprah and she is a learned journalist and now we have the likes of Wendy Williams crass arse.

  • http://mybigfatqlife.wordpress.com The Mighty Quinn

    I remember reading that O signed her own checks decades ago and I was truly impressed by that. I’m sorry it is just knuckleheadedness for her to carry on like that and then file bankruptcy HOW many times. You would have thought she would have RAN to get a financial adviser after that interview.

  • Gucci Gucci!

    Gucci Flatware or Louboutins or Prada or Lamborghini’s it’s all the same. People are penalizing her for this purchase as if CELEBRITIES don’t make extravagant purchases but more importantly she just explained she sold 20 million+ records but got a royalty check of $1600! That can barely cover one month of living expenses for someone that works a 9 to 5. I’m not saying Toni is perfect but between her contracts, her Lupus, her child having a disability, she was dealt a hand that would have many of you in her same situation.

  • Sunshine

    I guess you read what you wanted to read in my post. No constructive criticism isn’t an insult but Oprah was not kind to to Toni, so the message was lost. Mannnn, y’all are cold. I hope none of you never make any mistakes that are reported across the world and go on Oprah for her to further ream you and make you feel worse because how dare you buy Gucci anything! Especially from the Queen Bee who buys whatever she wants because she was fortunate enough to NEVER make a financial mistake. Yeah, Bill Cosby didn’t embarrass Oprah in front of the world when he gave her advice. THAT was my point. It wasn’t the message was wrong, it was delivered in a condescending and almost hateful way by a women Toni wanted to bond with.

  • NY’s Finest

    Toni should be the last one talking about someone being mean. When I was watching the realty show she has with her sisters I couldn’t believe how she was treating the women who auditioned to sing back up for her. It was truly ridiculous and so unnecessary.

  • EJ

    So true Sunshine! If happens to a lot of artist. TLC had to file bankruptcy as well. It really wasn’t their fault, it was the record labels they did business with. And then Toni had to file again because of her medical bills, she does have Lupus, she had a heart attack, and had a lump removed from her breast. Geez give the woman a break. Yes, Gucci flatware may be a little ridiculous, however since she was selling millions of records, I’m sure she was expected millions of dollars…not less than two thousand!

  • Simply Me

    I like O and I like Toni but I agree with Sunshine. O has a way with words and she can make or break a person’s character by simply stating her platform. If she likes you: then the world approves and if she doesn’t then you get you the finger. What O could have said to T instead is “You know Toni, there is a lot of advice that I can give to you but I’d rather extend an invitation to you before I share” If O had good thats the best way to go. No one wants to be reprimanded on television by someone with so much influence, it was ill willed and ill timed. Maybe Toni would have made different financial decisions, if O would have taken her under her wing (as she has done w/others). Face it, O just didn’t feel like being nice that day so she took it there with Toni and then tried to down play it by throwing in suggestions like: “Sign your own checks”. Toni was already in a contract that screwed her over. So now, whats some other advice? O didn’t even have the facts, she just assumed Toni had over spent. That was way too low and O knew if she hadn’t said something positive then she would have really looked bad. Either way, O simply owes Toni and apology. Toni just has to pray and move on.

  • RJ

    I don’t think that the sarcasm in your post registered…

  • maemay

    Toni??

  • RJ

    Another valid point is the difference in how each woman earns her money. Oprah’s money works for her a million times over-toni Braxton has to work for her money. so she is at the mercy of a fickle music industry and consumer. Just because you make say -$3 million today, does not mean that you will continue to make that type of money.

  • gmarie

    In that moment it seemed as if Oprah actually WAS trying to put Toni up on game. And I’m sure she would’ve talked to her more about it after the interview if Toni had not been so butt hurt about it.

    I’ve learned in life you can attempt to teach everything you know, but if the person on the receiving end has an effd up perception and victim mentality it will never stick

  • Egypt

    While I don’t condone Toni’s behavior, I think that Oprah could have definitely went about it differently. Mama O is a reporter at heart and I think in the case of Toni and Gabby Douglass (just recently), she tries a little too hard to go for the controversy, negating the after shocks of public opinion. Why couldn’t she take her aside sister-to-sister and mentor her on finances or keep it real or what have you.. Why did it have to be on her show? Why put someone’s career at risk, just for the sake of a story.

  • gmarie

    I think Toni is just dramatic overly sensitive to criticism of any kind (I avoid people like this). What she should’ve done was asked Oprah to be a mentor. If not Oprah then some other successful Industry woman. Patty loves the babies and she never seems to be hurting from money.

  • GeekMommaRants

    Those of us who watched this episode of the Oprah show knew that Oprah was trying to explain to Ms. Braxton that she was rich but not wealthy. Ms. Braxton did not want to hear that from Oprah. When Oprah mentioned that she has not purchased such expensive goods, Ms. Braxton completely missed the point. Since then Ms. Braxton should now understand what Oprah meant about being all hat and no cattle.

  • http://www.lifestylebyky.com ky

    I agree…O owes Toni an apology. Its apparent that it still opens a sore wound when she talks about it…Can you imagine working so hard…doing every show and get $2000 out of it and then after all that be judged by such a respected public figure…O was dead wrong…Leave the judging up to God and contrary to what people think O is not God. O is a human who made a mistake like we all do but she wasn’t right for this one.

  • http://www.lifestylebyky.com ky

    OPRAH WAS WRONG! and she illustrated why as a race we would rather bring each other down then help one another. She did not have to put Toni on blast like that. I despise judgmental people…whats that all about? You don’t have to teach a woman that being wealthy and rich is two different things, you teach her that off camera or at another time, the wound was still open she just found out she has NOTHING and you choose at that point to tell her she was wrong for spending. Thats like adding fuel to the fire and its unnecessary. I was very disappointed in hearing this from Oprah and yet not surprised at all…
    What Toni does with her money is Toni’s choice and I am 110% sure Gucci Flatware was not the cause of her bankruptcy. My family has owned Gucci Flatware since the day I was born and we are not half or even a quarter as rich as Toni Braxton. What people do with their money is their business. Gucci Flatware didn’t bankrupt her…c’mon

  • Shira j

    That’s what I thought!! Although I haven’t seen that interview, I realize Sometimes even one’s opinion can be skewed by emotion. When Toni’s response about Oprah was “you don’t have Gucci flatware because you don’t want to buy it” sent a signal off for me. I started thinking, maybe Oprah wasnt so much scolding you as she was helping you realize in general the way to spend ones money is specific to how they manage it, and even she, a billionaire would not manage hers in that way because it’s too lavish. IMO

  • Rue

    She also has the choice to go broke…which she is. Bottomline that most celebrities don’t wanna hear is: You are only gonna be marketable for so long (unless you are madonna) so eother spend your money wisely or shut up and be broke.
    BTW: the whole “as a race…we bring each other down” thing? Are you uplifting the race when you spend a killing on gaudy, tacky dishes making a white guy rich?

  • http://www.designsdelight.com/art/20-book-art-sculptures/ interior design

    Your guys are a bit wrong,

    The problem is the contract, most music industry contracts are written in gross profits. but when the expenses are paid for, there is no money left.

    Toni Braxton should look at her contract, and move it net rather than gross. But that is what happens in the music industry. The music industry is dirty as dirty can be. What is reported people earn and what they earn in reality is at odds.

  • Ms. Information

    I think that Toni’s “career” was already at risk with her dressing like a $10 hooker..she did not have to go that route because she can sing….Toni ruined her own career.

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  • glenda

    I saw that interview Oprah said she didnt know Gucci made flatware she didnt ruin her career she wasnt manager.

  • http://gmail.com jamesrodgers

    Toni is just a spoiled brat that is looking for someone to blame for her troubles.. I ffeel Oprah is great an do not need Toni at all in her life!0

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