Celine Dion has some very tough years behind her. First, the pandemic had most of the world locked down, leading to artists being unable to do their scheduled gigs. Unfortunately, that was also the case for Dion. But more importantly, she’s been dealing with some alarming health issues that kept her off the stage.
Six years ago, Celine and her children lost their beloved husband and father, Réne, to cancer. Since then, the beloved Canadian singer has raised her boys in Las Vegas, where she’s had several residencies earning millions.
Her marriage with Rene seemed like the happiest love story ever. But now, in a new book, two journalists paint a whole new picture of Dion and Angeli’s marriage – with his gambling problems directly affecting Celine’s career.
Celine Dion – nor Rnée Angelil – did know it at the time. But when the Canadian youngster was only a child, she met her future husband for the first time.
When Celine was 12, her parents sent a demo tape to Angelil, who at the time handled the career of famous French singer Ginette Reno.
Dion sang a song she had written with her mother and brother, and Rene liked what he heard.
So he invited her to audition – and that’s where the real success story began.
“She was this homely little kid named Celine Dion. The mother did all the talking, and the girl never said a word,” Angelil recalled.
“Then she started singing into a pencil, pretending it was a microphone. And what I heard was enough to make me cry. I heard a special voice like I had never heard before.”
Rene decided to dump his other clients and even mortgaged his house to put out Dion’s first album – the rest, as they say, is history.
René believed in Celine and her career so strongly that he remortgaged his house to finance her first record. He stood by her through thick and thin, and as Dion grew older, their love was no longer able to be kept hidden.
Rene and Celine’s relationship began in 1987, and by 1991 they were engaged. Three years later, they married in Montreal, Canada, and in 2000 they renewed their vows in Las Vegas. They went on to have three children together.
They had their first son in 2001, naming him René-Charles Angélil. But, six years later, they felt that something was missing. The couple wanted their son to have a sibling, and Celine and Rene went public with the news that they were trying IVF.
The couple’s first pregnancy via IVF resulted in a miscarriage, but they kept trying – and the seventh attempt proved a charm.
In May 2010, Celine announced she was 14 weeks pregnant with twin boys. Five months later, Dion gave birth to fraternal twins by Caesarean section at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The twins’ names have a special meaning for her.
One was named Eddy, after Dion’s favorite French songwriter, Eddy Marnay, and the other, Nelson, after former South African President Nelson Mandela.
“My greatest reward is my children. Unless you are a mum you don’t know what you’re missing or what it even is really. It felt for me that with all my children another heart grew inside of me,” she said in 2013.
“I don’t believe in the umbilical cord being cut. For me it’s never cut, once you’re a mum you’re a mum for life – it gives you true meaning to your life and it’s the most important job.”
However, Celine and Reene’s lovely union ended in an absolute tragedy.
Angelil was diagnosed with throat cancer, and Celine took on the caretaker role while her husband was sick. She worked hard to look after him during the very challenging period.
“When you see someone who is fighting so hard, it has a big impact on you,” she told People. “You have two choices. You look at your husband who’s very sick and you can’t help, and it kills you. Or you look at your husband that’s sick and you say, ‘I got you. I got it. I’m here. It’s going to be just fine.’”
In 2016, René passed away at age 73 after he fell off his bed. Celine revealed that she was performing the same night. Still, to this day, she mourns her late husband.
“Rene wanted to die in my arms. He must have wanted to get up and he fell on the floor,” she told Paris Match magazine, as quoted by US Weekly.
Celine explained, “Normally, after my show, when he had taken his last medications, I gave him a kiss, tucked him in, and sent him off to sleep. That evening I didn’t want to wake him. It was the nurse who found him the next day. Distraught, she came to find me.”
Celine later said that René’s still a big part of their daily lives. But, six years later, the singer says she is not ready to date yet.