Celine Dion is a household name and one of the globe’s most legendary. She is strong, powerful and venerable. Much have been said about her unique, melodic, haunting and beautiful voice. But what do we really know about her?
She’s younger than her stepson
Before marrying Dion, Rene Angelil had already been married twice. His first marriage was to Denyse Duquette all the way back in 1966. The couple had a son together, Patrick Angelil. By the time Celine and Rene married, her stepson Patrick Angelil was older than her by a good few years.
Issues with Mom
Despite how Celine felt about Rene, her mom was strongly against the relationship and did almost everything in her power to dissuade Celine from being involved with him. It was probably the fact that he already had two failed marriages that worried Celine’s mother.
In 2000 Celine decided to take a complete break from her hectic performance schedule and spend time with her family. After many failed attempts to conceive she underwent a surgical intervention to help her with her chances. On 25 January 2001, she gave birth to her first child son, Rene-Charles.
Coming close to death
Dion went through a number of near-death experiences, but none was as close and severe as when she was 5 and was knocked over by a truck leaving her with skull fractures and in a coma for almost a week. She thankfully survived this near death experience.
“My Heart will go on”: not her favorite
When she first recorded Titanic‘s theme song “My Heart will go on” she believed it will fail and hurt her career. She even said in an interview “I didn’t really like the song at first. I did another song for a movie before. It was very successful, and I thought we were pushing our luck.”
Rene says try it….
It was Rene who managed to convince Celine to at least do a single demo version of “My Heart Will Go On.” She agreed to do the demo and that was the actual version that was used and became a global hit. She only ever sang the song that one time.
She was Called a Traitor
Another success for Celine was hit theme song “Beauty and the Beast”, from the successful Disney’s film of the same name, for which she recieved her first Grammy. But the song caused an extreme backlash from her Quebecois fans, because it was in English. She soon gained favor with them again when she refused the English Artist of the Year award.
Celine’s parents already had 13 children and were struggling financially when her mom found out she was pregnant again. This pregnancy was not planned and the entire family had to make adjustments and changes to welcome her into their already crowded home. It was so crowded that she had to sleep in a cabinet drawer because there were no more available beds.
A head for business
Aside from her incredible singing talent, Celine is also a great chef, just like her mom, and she opened a restaurant called Nickels, which was so successful that she expanded into a very lucrative chain of restaurants across Canada. Celine also published her own magazine called Celine Dion Magazine.
The ’90s were tough years for Celine. Rene had just been diagnosed with cancer and she decided to slow things down a bit after releasing 13 smash albums. During this time, National Enquirer released a fake story saying she is pregnant with twins. Dion sued them for $20 million. They apologized and donated money to the American Cancer society.
Honors and Titles
Over the years, Celine has been awarded many accolades such as the National Order of Quebec and stars on the Canadian and Hollywood Walks of fame. Celine, who did not even graduate from high school, has also received an honorary Doctorate from Laval University. She dedicated the doctorate to Rene as he had such a big influence on her life.
Destined to be a star
Celine was named after a Huges Aufray song called “Céline.” Born into a family filled with the musical talent she gave her first performance at aged 5 at her brother’s wedding and shone above all her siblings. It was the start of her very illustrious singing career that just keeps getting better.
Celine’s brother, Jacques, and mother wrote a song for her to perform. Her mother insisted that it be sent out as her talent was not to be ignored. They sent the recording to many producers whose names they found on records. Finally, they got a producer to listen to the song. His name was Rene Angelil.
Knocking on doors
When her mother sent out the recording to producers, she attached a note saying that the singer was a very talented 12-year-old. Rene received many of these type of recordings and ignored it until one of Celine’s brothers got in touch with him. After his first listen he instantly wanted her to audition with him.
A pencil for a microphone
Celine’s arrived to her audition with Rene Angelil and he gave her a pencil and told her to pretend it’s a microphone and that she was performing to thousands of people. He wanted to see if she really had talent. Needless to say, her performance blew him away.
Celine knew right away that the audition went well because as she looked at Rene, he had tears streaming down his face. That was the moment in which she realized that he could make her a megastar. The journey would not be easy as she was young and had a lot to learn.
A gambling man
Rene was known as a gambling man, but in 1981 he took the biggest gamble. He mortgaged his home so that he could have the money to record and produce Celine’s first single, “La Voix Du Bon.” The gamble paid off as the song quickly rose to number 1 in Canada.
The Pope was a fan
Celine quickly rose to stardom. In 1984 Pope John II visited Quebec and Celine was asked to perform the French anthem for him at the Montreal Olympic Stadium. With over 65,000 people present, she says that this was one of the most special performances of her life.
Let me grow
As Celine rose to fame and her career started to blossom, she was still very young and upon advice from Rene, she took a break from her career to grow up out of the public eye. Many believed it to be a risky move, but it paid off.
Going global in English
After taking her 18-month “growing up” break, Celine returned a much more confident singer. Her English had also improved greatly and she released a comeback album Incognito. This album was a great success and she sold over half a million copies. It was the first album she released after signing to CBS, her new record label.
An American sweetheart
In 1990 Celine released her first full English album Unison. This album propelled her into the American market and spotlight and the single “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” topped the charts in the US. She was getting ready to do her first American tour when something shattering happened to her.
As Dion prepared for her debut American tour she was shattered when she lost her voice. Due to a grueling schedule, her vocal chords were so strained that she was speechless and was immediately advised to stop singing for a month or she would have to undergo major surgery.
Celine Dion has always been a very private person, but amid mounting rumors she finally opened up to the public and revealed that her relationship with Rene has moved from a purely business one to a personal and romantic one. She revealed everything in the sleeve of her album The Colour of My Love. “Maybe at 17, 18 years old, my feelings started to change for him,” Dion said. “I kind of saw him differently.”
Worried about the fans
They actually started dating when Dion was only 19 and Rene was twenty-six years older than her. The couple knew the public would have opinions about their relationship and the huge age difference. But they also knew this relationship was forever and announced they would be marrying soon and planned to start a family.
She can keep a secret
Celine and Rene had been secretly dating for almost 5 years before the relationship was revealed to the public. Rene was afraid of what people may think and say but Celine was the one who insisted that they eventually share their secret love. After all, she was in love and wanted the world to know.
Delusions of Grandeur
As Celine’s fame grown, she was virtually Canadian Royalty. The couple wed in a lavish event, hosted at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica. the couple had the ceremony broadcasted on Canadian national TV. Some say that the couple had delusions of grandeur.
The Wedding Dress
Celine commissioned designers Mirella and Steve Gentile to design her lavish wedding gown. The dress took over 1,000 hours to complete and had a train almost 21 feet long. To top it all, Celine wore a 20-pound tiara on her head. The wedding remained a talking point for quite a while.
Property and Investments
When they marry, most couples start saving money to buy their first home. Not Celine and Rene. They had both amassed a fortune and had a number of properties to their names before the wedding. After they married they purchased an extravagant property in Florida that later they sold for over $72 million dollars.
He was my center
Celine’s career skyrocketed after the huge success of Titanic and she embarked on her “Let’s Talk about Love” world tour. Whilst at one of her shows she received the news that Rene had cancer. She still went on stage and performed. Rene sadly passed away in January 2016.
Choosing names for the kids
In 2010 Celine and Rene found out they were expecting twins. Celine had undergone a number of IVF treatments and finally conceived. In October she gave birth to beautiful two boys, Eddy and Nelson. Eddy was named after songwriter Eddy Marnay and Nelson was named after Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former legendary president.
Changing the world
Post the catastrophic Asian tsunami in 2004, Celine vowed to do what she could to raise funds to aid the victims of the natural disaster. She aslo donated $1 million for Hurricane Katrina victims, saying “there’s people still there waiting to be rescued. To me that is not acceptable…How can it be so easy to send planes in another country to kill everybody in a second and destroy lives. We need to serve our country.”
Her father was her biggest fan
Celine’s father, Adhemar Dion, has always been in the background and little was known about him. However, on the day he passed away in 2003 Celine went on stage and dedicated her show to him. She said that he would want the show to go on and that he had always been her biggest supporter and fan.
How do you tell your children that their beloved parent has passed away? Celine took the time with her children to prepare them and talk them through Rene’s illness and eventual death. She felt that preparing the children was the best way for them to be able to deal with the emotional turmoil.
Rene Charles Angelil
Celine had gone a great lengths to shield her children from the manic clicking of the paparazzi. However, after Rene’s passing, her 15-year-old son, Rene Charles, caused quite a social media storm when he presented an award with his mom at the Billboard Music Awards.
Celine’s mom: 90 and still going
Celine’s mother has always been a great driving force and constant support to her daughter. Therese Dion celebrated her 90th birthday in a feisty style. Celine posted a number of photos from her mom’s birthday party on social media and said how blessed she was to still have her mom by her side.
Always has time for the media
Celine Dion has always been very open and gracious with media. She gives them plenty of her time and agrees to interviews often.
Worst week of her life
The week Celine Dion lost the love of her life to cancer, she also lost her brother to the same disease. The emotional toll on her was heart-breaking, but Celine is a real fighter and always sees the positive in everything. She said in an interview that her husband Rene was there to escort her brother to heaven.
What about her siblings?
Celine Dion comes from a family of 14 kids. The entire family, including her parents, have musical talent, but none of them made it in the industry on the same scale as Celine. Her sister Claudette did venture into the music world and made some money, but nothing compared to the incredible stardom of her sister.
Celine is not only a megastar but she is also a very astute businesswoman. After being renowned as one of the music industry’s best-dressed stars she launched her own fashion line with over 200 items, including handbags and accessories. She says that her designs are inspired by her family.
Celine appeared in many TV shows and has had a string of roles over the years. One of her most memorable performances was in thesoap opera All My Children where she played herself and performed her song “Taking Chances.”
Her husband is diagnosed
In 1999 Celine’s husband Rene was diagnosed with throat cancer. His illness progressed at a rapid speed and soon he was unable to do even the basic things. Celine turned things around and spent almost every waking moment taking care of him.
A voice worth an untold fortune
From humble beginnings of having to sleep in a drawer to one of the wealthiest performers ever, Celine has an estimated fortune of over $700 million. Her voice is by far her biggest asset and has taken her very far.
9/11 Hit Hard
After the attack of September 11 Dion returned to the spotlight once again with her emotionally charged performance of “God Bless America” at the concert held as a tribute to the heroes who perished in this terrorist attack.
The star of Canada
Hollywood has the most iconic Walk of Fame in the world. But, Canada has its own version of it. Celine Dion is the only celebrity in the world, to date, who has stars on both.
Stars related to Celine
In 1634 Zacharie Cloutier fled France and crossed the ocean and founded one of the first French-Canadian Families. Global stars like Celine Dion, Madonna, Beyonce and Shania Twain, all have genetics tracing right back to him. Apparently, Jack Kerouac and Alanis Morissette are also related.
Celine Dion does not just have an astounding voice, she also has a great ear and tongue for foreign languages. Not only does she sing in French and English, but has recorded and performed in Spanish, German, Italian, Latin, Japanese and even Mandarin Chinese. She has really engaged with fans in their own languages.
Not famous enough
Dion hit the number one spot globally with her theme song of Titanic. But before that, Peabo Bryson was included in the recording of “Beauty and the Beast” due to Dion’s lack of fame at the time.
Not only does Dion love to play golf, but is often seen at the big tournaments watching the masters play. Celine decided to open her own golf course located in Terrebonne near Montreal, Canada which is called “Le Mirage.”
A record performance
At music awards, whenever Celine is nominated, the award usually goes to her. Celine has performed at many award ceremonies around the world and holds the record for most performances by a single artist at the Academy Awards.
A major hit
The smash hit “It’s all coming back to me now” was written by Jim Steinman who wanted the song to be sung as a ballad by a female artist. Originally it was going to be recorded by Meatloaf, but Steinman insisted, Celine got it, and the rest is history. Meatloaf did eventually record a version of the song.
Her children are her comfort
After the loss of her true love, Celine has admitted that it’s incredibly hard for her and she is often lonely. The loving and nurturing of her children brings her immense comfort and purpose.
Her own spin
Celine has a voice like no one else. She can sing anything and has a natural way of always adding her own spin into the song. Some of her best covers include “I drove all night” by Cindi Lauper, “All by myself” by Eric Carmen or Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.” She also loves to sing duets with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson.
In 1988 Celine Dion represented Switzerland in the Eurovision contest and performed to millions of people globally. Celine won the competition by a single vote over the UK. The competition was held in Ireland and this win propelled her into stardom.
Michael Jackson’s Fan
When Celine was signed by CBS she joined the ranks of artists like Michael Jackson at the label. When she was 18 she said she wanted to be like Michael and achieve as much as he had. She remained a firm fan of his, right up to his death.
Singing in a bar
Celine’s large family owned a piano bar called Le Vieux Baril in Charlemagne, Quebec. All the kids, including Celine, used to practice and perform in the bar. Celine started performing at age 5 and soon became the firm favorite with the clientele. The bar was demolished in later years.
Dating Her Dancer?
After Celine was spotted wandering through the streets of Paris with her dancer Pepe Munoz, rumors about a relationship between them have spread. Munoz denied these rumors.
Not Ready to Move On
A year after her husband’s death, and 23 years after they got married, Celine Dione spoke to a roprter from Bizarre Magazine about her feelings.
“Now it is definitely too soon for me,” the talented singer said. “I am definitely in love with him, married to him… He’s the love of my life. It’s very difficult for me to see myself with another person.” And so, despite the rumors about her love life, Dione says she is hardly ready to move on yet.