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Flying High

Trina Braxton helping ‘Braxton Family Values’ soar

By Ronda Racha Penrice Travel & Entertainment Writer | 3/29/2013, noon
The women-oriented television network WE TV has been flying high in recent years and the Atlanta-based “Braxton Family Values” reality ...
"Braxton Family Values."

ATLANTA – The women-oriented television network WE TV has been flying high in recent years and the Atlanta-based “Braxton Family Values” reality show about R&B star Toni Braxton and her four sisters is one of the main reasons why.

The popularity of the high-energy show can be attributed largely to Trina Braxton, who is fast emerging as a fan favorite. Her trials and tribulations as a wife, mother, sister and entertainer have resonated with many fans. Most importantly, it has resonated with her.

Unlike many others who’ve had their lives completely unravel due to reality show appearances, Trina Braxton says quite the opposite has happened with her – a fact fans will observe throughout season three, which premiered March 14.

Braxton, the next to last child in the Braxton clan of six, said she and her husband Gabe Solis are in a much better place now and she credits the show for that.

“We are definitely the reverse of it,” Braxton said, referring to the so-called reality show curse that has split many couples up. She and Gabe are faring better because “we allowed it to work for us as opposed to against us. We let the mirror of our life allow us to change the negatives as opposed to exacerbating them.”

Unlike other reality stars who have complained about unfair editing, Braxton believes that reality television gets it right on some levels. It helped her acknowledge her drinking problem.

“People can talk about editing all day long . . . [but] when it comes to television, they can only air what you give them. People can only call Trina an alcoholic if Trina was drinking in every take.”

Instead of fighting that reality, Braxton owned up to it. “I learned that it was okay to talk to people. It’s okay to have counseling because, a lot of times, we live in a little covered wagon [where] we don’t want people all in our business. We don’t want people all in our marriage, in our life. You know, it’s not a sign of a weakness; it’s actually a sign of strength to talk to somebody.

“I found when I was drinking, I was definitely using it as a crutch because I felt like I didn’t have anybody to talk to about what was going on,” she said. “I didn’t want to be judged by my family. I didn’t want to be judged by anybody from the outside. I just wanted to drown it away and I did it by not just drinking, but eating. Eating was a really big huge source of comfort for me. I gained over 25 pounds and what I found out about myself is that I am a stress eater and a stress drinker.”

Now, Braxton said, “when I find myself being stressed out, I know ‘Hey, it’s time to talk to somebody. It’s time to pick up the phone and call somebody.’ ”

And her family is the better for it. This season, her sons, who soon will be 18 and 15, have even decided to participate.