Access Exclusive: Toni Braxton 'Dancing' Despite Heart Disease

Toni Braxton Toni Braxton

She might seem like an unlikely candidate for the next installment of “Dancing With the Stars,” but Toni Braxton is determined to overcome that pre-conception in people’s minds.

Access Hollywood guest correspondent and former “Dancing” alum Mel B caught up with Toni and her “Dancing” partner, Alec Mazo, where they were rehearsing some routines for the show.

Toni, who was diagnosed with heart disease five years ago and had a health scare last April, was resilient about focusing on her health. In fact, Toni signed on to do “Dancing” because she was determined to overcome the fear and anxiety that she was having about being able to do things like walk a flight of stairs without worrying about having tightness in her chest.

“To be honest, I am a little nervous. Just because when I perform, the adrenaline gets pumping,” Braxton explained. “I am a little nervous how my heart is going to feel. And second, am I going to remember my steps because I am so worried about my heart?”

When asked if he was easier on Toni as a partner given her condition, Alec replied, “I was a lot softer with her the first week-and-a-half and then she actually told me herself, ‘Push me as much as you can.’”

While having fun preparing, Toni is still being cautious.

“I am not thinking about my blood pressure although my doctor has been on me to check it during rehearsals, so I have to stop and check it,” she added.

As far as the competition goes, Toni said she’s not looking for any sympathy votes.

“I’m competing with myself because I don’t want to be the victim because people will be like, ‘Toni has heart disease, oh she is a victim,’” she added.

“Dancing With the Stars” premieres on September 22, 2008 on ABC.

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