Like many celebs, Toni Braxton and Babyface’s divorces were both exposed to the public, but instead of just keeping their heartbreak in the headlines, they channeled their experiences into a new collaboration album, “Love, Marriage & Divorce.”
The six-time Grammy winner, who married Mint Condition keyboardist Keri Lewis in 2001, finalized her divorce in July of this year, and had announced her retirement from recording earlier in February. But Babyface, who split with his second wife Tracey Edmonds in 2005 after 13 years of marriage, had an idea for the project that helped convince her to come back.
The album was born after Babyface wrote “Hurt You,” the first single on the new album which has already gone #1 on two charts. ”He said ‘Toni what do you think of this idea I have?’ and he just started playing it and I loved it,” the singer said of hearing the track for the first time. “And the rest was why we’re here today.”
While lyrics from the album cover a wide range of emotions, “Hurt You” represents a grey area for Toni that falls somewhere in the middle of the marriage and divorce parts of the equation. “I think it’s the in-between,” she told HelloBeautiful of the track’s sentiments. “It’s the marriage when you’ve gone to the therapist and you realize that you have to take blame for your fault in the relationship so you go ‘I never meant to hurt you ‘ and he says it back. Responsibility.…that’s what they tell you in therapy.”
Babyface shocked fans when he opened up about Tracy Edmonds in a sit down interview with Oprah and said, ”The reality is that there was a connection that wasn’t really there.” Adding, ”We loved each other but we weren’t really in love with each other. It was more the idea of it falling apart and me holding onto the image of what I thought we were.” On “Hurt You,” the producer, writer and singer sings lyrics like, “I did you wrong so many times yes/So I know why you crossed the line/Oh but girl I never dreamed you’d cheat on me,” with conviction.
One thing’s for sure: the ride of these musician’s relationships has been a catalyst for compelling, bittersweet songs!
Watch Toni and Babyface perform “Hurt You” in the video clip below and catch HelloBeautiful’s InterludesLIVE special with the pair exclusively on TV One, February 8, 2014 at 10p ET/9p CT.