Michel’le Toussaint: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Michel'le Toussaint, Michel'le today, Surviving Compton, Dr. Dre girlfriend, Dr. Dre victim

Michel’le Toussaint in 2015. (Getty)

Michel’le Toussaint, known professionally as just Michel’le, is the subject of Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, a new Lifetime movie that debuted on October 15. Toussaint had an abusive relationship with Dr. Dre, claims he disputed this past week by trying to keep Lifetime from airing the movie. The 45-year-old singer has a son from her relationship with Dre and also has a daughter with ex-husband Suge Knight.

After the film first aired, Michel’le wrote, “My love,my goal is to educate 1st n for most…keep in mind what matters.”

Here’s a look at Michel’le’s career and, yes, an explanation for her famous high-pitched voice.

1. Michel’le Has a Unique, Squeaky Voice Because She Talks Over Her Larynx

When Michel’le was on The Wendy Williams Show earlier this month, the first thing Williams wanted to get out of the way was her unique, mousy voice. Although she has powerful vocals when she sings, she sounds entirely different when she talks. Michel’le explained that this is because she talks over her larynx. Her singing comes from her diaphragm.

In an interview with The Breakfast Club in March 2015, Michel’le said that her voice has always been like this. She said that she didn’t start talking until she was 3 or 4 years old. When asked if her voice was due to anything wrong, she said it wasn’t. It’s just the way she talks.

When SoulTrain.com asked Michel’le if she would like to voice a cartoon character, she said she would be interested.

“I’m signed to a voiceover agency so hopefully I’ll land something really quickly because I love it. I’m waiting for something to bite,” she said. “And I don’t care if I get to do the voice of a pig, a dog or a bear—I don’t care—I just want it!”

Actress Rhyon Nicole Brown, who plays Michel’le in Surviving Compton, did her best to recreate the voice in the film. While on The Real, Brown explained how she did it:

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Surviving Compton is the latest Lifetime Movie and centers on the relationship between Dr. Dre, Suge Knight and Michel’le. Click to find out when it airs.

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2. Dr. Dre Claims Michel’le’s Allegations That He Abused Her are False & He Threatened to Sue if ‘Surviving Compton’ Aired

In her Breakfast Club interview, seen above, Michel’le claimed that she had five black eyes, suffered a crack rib and a broken nose during her relationship with Dre. At the time of Straight Outta Compton‘s release in 2015, Dre issued an apology “to the women I’ve hurt.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, it appeared that he directly apologized for what he allegedly did to Michel’le.

“I made some f**king horrible mistakes in my life. I was young, f**king stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true – some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really fucked up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”

However, Dre’s attorney told Jezebel that the apology did not refer to Michel’le’s claims. “Her false claims of being a victim arose for the first time more than 25 years after their relationship ended, coinciding with the success of Straight Outta Compton and her own efforts to sell a life story,” Dre’s attorney said.

TMZ obtained a cease and desist letter to Sony Pictures TV, saying that they will sue if Surviving Compton airs. They also wanted her to stop talking about her claims. Michel’le insisted to TMZ that the Surviving Compton shows the truth.

Still, as Jezebel notes, Surviving Compton does end with a disclaimer. “Dr. Dre, through his attorney, denies abusing Michel’le and challenges her credibility,” it reads.

In her interview with Jezebel, Michel’le said it feels like Dre retracted his 2015 apology. She said:

That’s what it looked like to me. Did it look like that to you? First of all, he didn’t apologize to me. He apologized to the public. So why would you do that? That makes no sense. We thought [the letter from Dre’s attorney] was hilarious. I loved it. I thought, “This could not have closed the movie any better.” It’s like an oxymoron. I couldn’t believe it. I had them read it to me three times.

‘Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le’: Meet the Cast of Lifetime’s New Movie

Lifetime's newest movie is Surviving Compton: Dre, Knight & Michel'le, the story of Dr. Dre's relationship with singer Michel'le. Find out who plays them here.

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3. She Thinks She Was Responsible for the Success of Ruthless Records & N.W.A.

Michel'le Toussaint, Michel'le today, Surviving Compton, Dr. Dre girlfriend, Dr. Dre victim


Although Michel’le’s self-titled 1989 album came out a year after N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton, she told Elle Magazine that she does think she was at least partly responsible for Rutheless Records’ success. She said that her status as an R&B singer instead of a rapper gave her a wider audience in the late ’80s.

Michel’le explained to Elle:

Rap was forbidden with the people who were interviewing us and the shows that I was getting [booked on], and I had kind of crossed over. So Jerry [Heller, who managed N.W.A.] would tell me, ‘Do not say you’re a rapper, always say you’re R&B.’ Then instead of introducing Dre as the guy from N.W.A., he would say Dre was my producer! Dre would come to my interviews with me—he’d come to all these places that would never have had the guy from N.W.A. Wasn’t it genius? Do you see how Jerry Heller made it work? That is how he combined what we did to make the rap music into mass music. That’s exactly how it happened.

Despite her important role in Dre’s early success as a producer, Michel’le was left out of the Straight Outta Compton movie. She told Elle that the film is an “illusion” and “how he wanted it to be remembered.”

Dre was a co-producer on Michel’le’s first album, which included the smash hits “No More Lies” and “Something In My Heart.” However, she didn’t record another album until 1998’s Hung Jury, which failed with critics and didn’t connect with fans, for Death Row Records.

“I cried, and that’s all I want to say. That’s all. I’ll leave it like that,” Michel’le told the Washington Post about her thoughts on Straight Outta Compton. “I have no comments because I haven’t collected my feelings on anything.”

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4. Michel’le Was Married to Suge Knight, Who Also Threatened to Sue if He Looked Bad in ‘Surviving Compton’

Michel’le married Suge Knight, the co-founder of Death Row Records and they had a daughter, Bailei, who was born in 2002. She also had a son, Marcel, with Dre. Her marriage with Knight ended soon after Bailei’s birth.

In 2009, Michel’le went to court over unpaid child support from Knight, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Three years after Death Row Records and Knight filed for bankruptcy, she asked the bankruptcy official handling the estates to pay $40,476 in unpaid court-ordered spousal and child support bills that had stacked up in three months.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Michel’le said that Knight also threatened to sue her and Lifetime “if we made him look any type of way” in Surviving Compton.

Suge Knight is still behind bars and facing murder charges in a January 2015 hit-and-run case, in which one man was killed.

5. Michel’le Revealed That She Attempted Suicide in 2013

Last year, when Michel’le spoke with the Daily Mail, she revealed that she attempted suicide two years prior. She had reached a breaking point because Knight also controlled her life, claiming that he was the reason why she didn’t sing for seven years.

“Two years ago I tried to kill myself as I was at such a low point in my life,” Michel’le told the Daily Mail. “Looking back I didn’t even know I was depressed, I was just so used to feeling that way and thought that was what life was. I tried telling my family and friends but they just blow you off and say: ‘Yeh right’ they don’t know what it is, so they just don’t want to be around that.”

In that same interview, Michel’le revealed that she showed Bailei the security camera footage that allegedly shows Knight running over two men. And even though Knight was in prison when Bailei was born, she was still tying to make an attempt to have keep her Bailei’s father in her life.

“Even if he is found guilty, it does not change anything. He is still her father,” Michel’le told the Daily Mail. “I wouldn’t be happy for her to visit him in jail, but I wouldn’t stop her.”

“It’s easy for people to say, ‘OK, get over. Let it go,’ but then it’s not as easy,” Michel’le told the Huffington Post about abusive relationships. “And the same goes with substance abuse, too. It was hell and didn’t help the situation, at all. I just really don’t want women to go through it, at all.”

Michel’le is also recording a new album and writing an autobiography that will be released in early 2017. She also starred in the reality show R&B Divas: Los Angeles from 2013-2015.

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  1. Michel’le you are the bomb 💣 baby!! The men in your life were arrogant assholes & that’s a true fact!! You never needed them and went through hell! Your first instinct about Suge was right and he’s not any better than Dre but I do understand your reasons. You deserve a good man in your life, however you don’t need one in your life if they don’t respect you so take care of you & yours, from a true fan, with all my love

  2. Women should never stop talking about abuse experience
    You never get OVER abuse,you just learn to forgive, and try toove on

    • No one deserves abuse of any kind …. Women can be assholes, men can be assholes …. An asshole, always an asshole ….. Take your life elsewhere is the only way!!!! Remember everyone has free will and some people choose to be an asshole and too often prey on a vulnerable soul … Always be aware of choice and don’t give up your life to an abuser!!

  3. I would have taken this article more seriously if the writer would have taken the time to fix all the misspelled words before publishing.

  4. Michel’le you are a brave,strong , and beautiful person. You make your life a beautiful one forward…. You so deserve it … I am with you … It is hard to shake what you grow up with …. mine centered me too until I too said enough … That is when things changed for me … Take care of yourself … You deserve only great things and great people around you…. That is WHO YOU ARE! Love to you ….

  5. I loved this movie. I just wanted to know what happened to her career. I am extremely happy for her and I want her to continue to strive for the stars. In regards to Dre. I don’t see him in a different light because I do believe that he has changed. I grew up around that error and it is unfortunate that a lot of young men during that time did not have any structure. Many of them were raised by the streets, pimps or gangs. I think he will have to live with his past behavior for the rest of his life and what has he become today does not have to reflect his past. I believe that he definitely needs to sit down with Michel’le and talk; apologize and ask her to forgive him. I don’t think he needs to do it through his publicist or attorney because it has nothing to do with them. It is the both of them that have the history and he owes that to her. Dre is a multimillionaire/billionaire so suing Michel’le is pointless besides that risk the chance of a countersuit from her and I’m sure she would win. Them speaking on his behalf and sending out apologies on his behalf feels unreal and it needs to be personal.

    Kudo’s to Michel’le.

    • This is a great post. I agree they should talk and forgive one another.
      Yes Dre was young and so was she, I am sure they both did things wrong.
      Youth is no excuse to abuse another person, I want to believe Dre is a better man today and has left that part of his past behind.

  6. Michel’le I really admire you and I’m so sorry you had to go thru so much Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. God will STRAIGHTEN OUT WHEN HE COMES trust and believe that.

  7. Dr Dre is an abuser in the worst way. You are a rich thug! You should be ashamed of yourself as man and a father. Just think how you would feel if a man beat your daughter so viciously. May God have mercy on your soul.

  8. Michele I wish I could just hug you forever. Abuse is nothing to play with and my heart truly goes out to you. Glad you are strong for your kids and yourself now!

  9. Oh Please! Cry me a river. She has no proof of these allegations. She just needed publicity for her movie. Coincidentally the slandering coincided with her release. She’s broke and needs money lol. She’s probably just waiting on a payout to close her mouth. She’s an attention seeker. I mean I never knew of her until today. If this story has not been published I still would not have known about her. Trying too hard to stay relevant lol.

    • You fool … Are you one who enables abusers!!! Sure sounds like it …. Open your eyes ….Evidence of Dre’s abuse all over and seen by so many. … and less that of Suge …. You make yourself look like a magnificent FOOL saying what you did …. Money no Money the TRUTH is the TRUTH!!

  10. She was vulnerable and yet aware of what she was doing …. Suge was not the asshole that Dre is … Suge was good to her and took care of her when she needed it most … Out of relationship with Dre and security to make fresh start …. Suge took as Zhe needed her …. Suge was not the asshole that Dre is …. maybe lower level but should not be compared to the MAGNIFICENT ASSHOLE DRE IS

  11. A man Physically abusing a woman … a woman can do no equal unless she has a weapon especially if Michel’le’s size … common Dre was an idiot …. It is above all shameful … He will have to wear that shame the rest of his life.

  12. Did you not see the look on their faces?? They were not to go against him because they knew what he was made if and come back worse at then … I believe they would make that claim ….. You sound like you too tend to be an enabler and can’t call it as you SEE IT …. There are those of you around …. NO INTEGRITY …. Be careful with the side you take because the bottom line … YOU ARE NO BETTER