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Who Is Celine Dion?
French-Canadian singer Celine Dion is the voice behind some of the most iconic songs to ever grace the music industry. With hits like ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and ‘I’m Your Angel’, Celine has immensely influenced our modern pop-culture landscape.
Who Is René Angélil?
Born on 16 January 1942, Canadian manager René Angélil is the man responsible for introducing Celine Dion to the world. Before discovering Celine’s talent, he was a popular French singer, and an established music manager with 20 years of experience under his belt.
Apart from music, René is recognised as a professional poker player and has earned a whopping $AUD827,268. On top of that, his net worth is estimated to be around $AUD583 million.
Celine And René Relationship
Celine Dion and René Angélil raised a lot of eyebrows when they went public as a couple. With a 26-year age gap, Celine’s mum wasn’t happy that her young daughter was dating a much older man. Despite this, the pair made it work and remained happily married for 21 years until René’s unfortunate passing. Let’s look back on the everlasting love between Celine Dion and René Angélil!
How They Met
In 1980, The Dion family sent René a tape of 12-year-old Celine singing an original piece she wrote, ‘Ce n'était qu'un rêve’. René was impressed with what he heard and asked her to audition in person for a chance to be signed under him. Recalling this moment, Celine shared: "While I was singing, he started to cry. I knew then, I had done a good job."
Falling In Love
After years of working together, Celine developed feelings for René but was afraid that others would be judgmental of their relationship. The two secretly began dating when Celine was only 19 – in an interview on Larry King Live, René said that it all started in Dublin: “When we kiss good night, [we’d] always kiss on the cheek”. But instead of the usual peck on the cheek, they shared their first kiss that night and René believes, “everything changed” after that moment.
René’s Past Marriages
Initially, Celine’s mum didn’t approve of the relationship because of the huge age difference and René’s history with divorce. He was married to his first wife, Denyse Duquette, for 6 years before filing for divorce. Two years later, he marries Anne Renée, only to end the marriage after 12 years. Despite this, Celine felt strongly about pursuing a relationship with him and didn’t mind what others had to say – including her own mum.
In 1991, Celine and René announced their engagement. On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Celine shared that when René proposed “he was crying like a baby”, she then added that they’re extremely happy together and that they can’t wait to be married.
In 1994, Celine and René recited their wedding vows in Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica Church to honour Celine’s Roman Catholic religion. They held an extravagant wedding, costing about half a million USD ($AUD729 million)! Celine wore a tiara that comprised 2,000 crystals to match her pearl-embellished silk gown by Mirella and Steve Gentile. To top it off, they broadcasted their special day on live television for the world to see.
Celine and René had three kids together: firstborn René-Charles Angélil and fraternal twins Eddy Angélil and Nelson Angélil. The couple raised three healthy sons, but starting a family was difficult with Celine’s fertility problems.
On The Dr. Oz Show, Celine opened up about her miscarriage: “At one point I thought I wasn’t going to be a mother.” She added that she already felt fortunate and blessed with a successful career and a loving husband, but “you can’t have it all.” She continued with: “It took a while, but [now] I have three magnificent children.”
René’s Battle With Cancer
What started out as a lump on René’s neck marked the beginning of his battle with throat cancer, which commonly develops in smokers. Celine immediately took a hiatus from her career to take care of her ill husband. She told Katie Couric, "When something like this happens to you, it hits you so hard. But I felt very strong because I said to myself: René needs me, maybe for the first time in my life."
To everyone’s surprise and relief, Celine Dion’s husband was cancer-free after two years of intense treatment. The couple celebrated by renewing their wedding vows in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Cancer Comes Back
On their wedding anniversary, René received the most heartbreaking phone call of his life. He told his wife, “The doctor just called me and I have cancer again.” Celine was devastated after hearing this; she told ABC News: “My heart started to beat faster, but my body shut off.”
In 2013, he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumour in his throat. Once again, Celine took time off work to aid her husband in his recovery. Only this time, his condition worsened. She told Good Morning America: "For three years, my husband did not have a sip of water or food. He was eating through a tube.”
As René’s health deteriorated, he told Celine that his dying wish was to be in her arms in his final moments. Unfortunately, she couldn’t fulfil this promise when René died from a heart attack in his sleep, just two days before his 74th birthday. Celine told ABC News, “He did not die in my arms, but I think he died in my heart.”
On the night before he passed, Celine desperately wanted her husband’s suffering to be over. She revealed that she told René: "You were worrying for everything. It's enough. The kids are fine. I'm fine. I promise you, we're gonna be okay. Please, leave in peace. I don't want you to worry.”
René’s televised national funeral took place in the same church where he married Celine – Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica. Family members, colleagues, Quebec celebrities, and Canadian officials were among the thousands of people who attended the funeral to pay tribute to René’s life.
Their eldest son, René-Charles Dion, spoke on stage to deliver his eulogy. He expressed: “Fifteen years is not a long time for a son to get to know his father. You had a busy life, but we were communicating through golf, hockey, poker and smoked meat.” He ended by adding: “You left me now with enough good memories of you to share with my younger brothers... I’ll make sure to pass on what I learned from you.”
Celine’s Brother Passes Away
On what would have been René’s 74th birthday, Celine’s brother, Daniel, tragically passed away from the brain, throat, and tongue cancer. He was reported to have died surrounded by family in what they described as a “peaceful death”. Celine told ABC News: “I said to myself, my husband came and got my brother, because my brother was too weak to fly on his own.”
A Love Story Cut Short
Celine may be ‘all by herself’ now, but she’s still standing strong. With René always in her heart, she’s been able to continue growing both in her professional and personal life.
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