The 46-year-old is the only one of her sisters who did not walk away from filming their reality show, Braxton Family Values, during the middle of season six to take part in unconventional contract renegotiations.
“We had a contract,” Traci notes to ET. “And when you have a contract, you have to fulfill that contract. You have to wait until the next season before you can say, ‘OK, I'm not gonna do anything.’ You can't do that.”
Traci’s choice to continue working on the show while her sisters (Toni, Trina, Towanda and Tamar) stepped away from the cameras caused strain within the family. The four sisters and their mother, Evelyn, missed out on more than filming; they missed out on life events, including Traci’s first grandchild’s dedication at church. Still, the sisters labeled Traci a “traitor.”
“That hurt me because, why am I a traitor?” Traci asks. “Because I have a mind of my own?”
Traci says she didn’t feel a responsibility to carry the show but was just being “mature and fulfilling my promises.”
“The thing is, they went on strike,” she adds. “So, when things are scheduled, things are scheduled the way they is. So, when that happened, I just decided to just show my family, and what we do as a family. Life still goes on. Just because they're striking doesn't mean I have to stop my life, also. And I decided to keep it going.”
Producers brought in some reality TV heavy hitters to fill in the gap left by Traci’s sisters, with Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Phaedra Parks, Bad Girls Club star Natalie Nunn and comedian Luenell joining the cast.
“It's showing my life,” Traci notes. “Just like they would show any of my other sisters' life, they're showing mine. I have some friends! Just because you don't think that I have any friends, or it's made up or make-believe, this is not made up or make-believe, OK?”
“Sometimes you just need friends to surround you when you're going through some kind of family turmoil,” she continues. “It's nothing wrong with that. It's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we have friends, they tend to help center you and bring you back.”
Phaedra, who Traci didn’t know well before the show, has turned out to be one of her closest confidants. Traci says the best piece of advice her new bestie has given her is, “Keep family first. However, your business, separate.” It’s easier said than done, though, seeing as the show, which is about the family, is also a business.
“Right now, I'm in the middle and I try to stay positive,” Traci says of her current relationship with her siblings. “I don't try to talk to them about business, whatsoever. Because, our situation... our situation can show people that in business with the family, sometimes it doesn't mix. And, you have to remain family first before you can have a business.”
The sisters were absent from the last two episodes of Braxton Family Values, but will return to the series starting this week to “tell their side and how they feel with their business decision.” It’s unclear how much of the sisters viewers will see in Thursday’s episode, though.
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What is for sure is that all the Braxtons will get a lot of screen time on the two-part season finale, airing Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. The special set of episodes will feature Fix My Life host Iyanla Vanzant conducting an intervention of sorts with Traci and her sisters. Traci calls the experience “strenuous.”
“She didn't fix my life, but she helped me see better and keep my process going positively,” she shares.
It seems safe to say the “emotional” experience wasn’t positive for all of Traci’s sisters, though. Tamar called Iyanla “the devil” after taping the episode in a since-deleted tweet, and when asked which sisters Traci is in contact with today, the only one she didn’t name was Tamar.
“You gotta watch!” she teases, adding that it’s up in the air whether Braxton Family Values will ever return to the show it once was.
For now, Traci’s focused on the show as it is. The next few weeks will also feature some fun for the singer, as she, Phaedra and a couple of their pals head to Wyoming to live as “cowboys” for a couple days.
“We’re having a ball,” Traci admits, before summing up the rest of the season as “bipolar.”