Céline Dion suffered unspeakable tragedy in 2016 when both her husband René Angélil and brother Daniel died from cancer within two days of each other. And a series of recent interviews proves the Grammy-winning singer is still grieving over her loss. Here’s what she had to say about her controversial marriage to her former manager.
Born in Quebec, Canada, in 1968, Céline Dion first found success as a French-language performer, winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. She became more familiar to English-speaking audiences when she released 1990’s Unison, while her big break came just a year later. That’s when she collaborated with Peabo Bryson on the Grammy-winning theme to Beauty and the Beast.
Dion consolidated her crossover success with 1993’s The Colour of My Love, a blockbuster record which spawned the U.S. number one “The Power of Love.” The singer then dominated the rest of the decade, with both 1996’s Falling Into You and 1997’s Let’s Talk About Love reaching diamond status in the States. 1995’s D’eux, meanwhile, remains the highest-selling French-language record in history.
“Think Twice,” “I’m Your Angel” and “Because You Loved Me” were just some of the international chart-toppers that helped crown Dion as the ’90s ultimate diva. But her signature hit remains “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme to Titanic which won at the Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys. Dion rounded off the decade by releasing one of the biggest-selling compilations ever, All the Way.
Dion took time out at the start of the millennium to spend time with her family, but she returned in style in 2002 with A New Day Has Come and then followed this with a well-received Vegas show. In fact, her residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace was named the highest-grossing of all time. Meanwhile, her current career record sales stand at a whopping 220 million.
Dion’s phenomenally successful career was largely guided by her manager husband René Angélil. The couple first met in 1980 after the music mogul was sent a demo of the young singer. So taken was René with her talent that he remortgaged his house in order to bankroll her early career. Dion was just 12 at the time, while Angélil was 38, but the couple only entered into a romantic relationship six years later.
In a 2018 interview with The Project, Dion admitted that initially her mother wasn’t too keen on the thought of her dating a much older man. “It was not the person that she wanted for me,” Dion revealed. “And I don’t blame her. I said, ‘Mum, I really love him.’”
Dion and Angélil got engaged four years later and walked down the aisle at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica in 1994. After renewing their vows at a Las Vegas ceremony in 2000, Dion underwent fertility treatment to increase her chances of falling pregnant, having struggled for years to conceive naturally. The pair then welcomed their first child René-Charles into the world in 2001.
Nine years later they added to their family unit with the birth of twins Eddy and Nelson. The former was named after Eddy Marnay, Dion’s one-time producer, and the latter after Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa. Coincidentally, Dion had sued the National Enquirer in 2000 for over $20 million after the tabloid wrongly reported she was pregnant with twins.
Tragically, the Dion family were left bereft in January 2016 when Angélil passed away due to complications from cancer. The 73-year-old had previously beaten esophageal cancer at the turn of the century, but sadly succumbed to the disease second time around. In a cruel twist of fate, Dion’s brother Daniel also lost his cancer battle just two days later.
Remarkably, Dion returned to her sold-out Vegas residency just over a month after the double tragedy. She also took to the stage in May that year to perform at the Billboard Music Awards. Here she was also presented with the Billboard Icon Award by her son René-Charles.
A few days before the Billboard Music Awards, Dion revealed to People magazine that her husband would have wanted the show to go on. “You know what, I’m 48 years old and I lost the love of my life,” she said. “I miss him a lot from when he was great but not when he was suffering. I cannot be selfish. You have to let people go. I feel at peace.”
A year later Dion opened up further in an interview with The Sun. In a heartbreaking admission, the singer revealed, “I think I will probably grieve for the rest of my life. René has prepared me for all my life since I’m 12. I have never met another man in my life, never kissed another man in my life. I miss him a lot.”
In the interview, Dion was asked about the prospect of her dating again. And it’s clear that she was struggling with the idea. “Now it is definitely too soon for me,” she confessed. “I am definitely in love with [René], married to him. He’s the love of my life. It’s very difficult for me to see myself with another person.”
Dion went on, “The love that I have for him, I live it every day. And as a woman, we do have emotions and feelings that come and go. And it’s always with him. When I sing, it’s with him. When I hug my kids, it’s for him and it’s with him.”
The singer revealed that she has instead poured all of her energies into raising her three children, who have been a source of great comfort over the past two years. “I organise myself to not feel lonely,” Dion said. “So I got myself a huge, huge, huge bed and I sleep with my twins. They are comforting me a lot. I need them. I need them close.”
The star is also keen to ensure that her young twins in particular don’t forget about their father. She told The Sun, “We have a little ritual where we say goodnight to him with a little picture. Then the kids talk to him. And they write words, put them in balloons and we send the balloons to the sky.”
A few months later one of Dion’s friends told Closer that the singer is being actively encouraged to hit the dating scene by son René-Charles. “He said, ‘Mom, if you’re going to be dating, it’s okay,’” the pal revealed. “But Céline just hugged him and said, ‘You’re smart like your father, but I don’t believe I’m ready.’”
However, according to various gossip sites, Dion then appeared to take her son’s advice on board. The star was repeatedly linked to Pepe Muñoz having accompanied the backing dancer at various social events. But TMZ later confirmed that the pair’s relationship was strictly a platonic one.
And another source recently claimed that Dion still hasn’t changed her stance on finding a new man. The insider told Entertainment Tonight, “She is very conservative and isn’t ready to date and she might never be. She talks about the love of her life often and still believes he is with her in many ways. She believes there could never have love again comparable to René.”
Dion recently made headlines for canceling a series of Vegas shows to undergo surgery for an ear condition. But the star bounced back shortly after with “Ashes,” the theme tune to superhero sequel Deadpool 2. Meanwhile, the singer is expected to release her 12th English-language studio album later in the year.