With new album, Sex & Cigarettes, on the way and a new season of Braxton Family Values on the horizon, Toni Braxton is as busy as ever. The timeless beauty was diagnosed with lupus in 2008, and stress can often wreak havoc on her immune system. Fortunately, she has the love and support of fiancé, Cash Money Records founder Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, to keep her sane during her most trying moments.

In this exclusive interview with EBONY, the seven-time Grammy winner shares what made her fall for the New Orleans boss, saying it was a slow and steady courtship that even she didn’t see coming.

“We’ve been friends forever. We were friends who realized, ‘Wow, we really care for each other,’ Braxton reveals. “I don’t think we ever expected this to turn into a relationship, he was just my buddy. He’d show me support, he’d come to see me in my plays, it was really a friendship that became something more.”

Toni Braxton

The R&B icon goes on to break down exactly how she knew Baby was ‘the one,’ after he came through for her during an intense health scare.

“The turning point for me was when I had a giant [lupus] flare, and I had obligated myself to go on tour. I was trying to still do it–even though I should’ve cancelled–and he told me, ‘I’m going to be out there with you just to make sure you’re OK.’”

Braxton continues, “How he treated me made me look at him different, like, Wow! That’s how the friendship kind of transitioned into what it is today.”

While the pair couldn’t be more in sync, the stunning songstress can’t help but notice the public’s perception of them.

“People see us and think we’re total opposites, and we are! We are OPPOSITES,” the mother of two admits. “Opposites attract, but he’s truly a gentleman, I mean he’s really a gentleman. People don’t know that about him.”

Sex & Cigarettes drops March 23 and is available for pre-order. Braxton Family Values, Season Six, debuts March 22 on WE tv. Check out the trailer below.