The many tragedies of Celine Dion's life.

Celine Dion is a name that needs no introduction.

The vocal powerhouse behind some of the world's most famous songs, she's an artist that has gone platinum more times than we can count. But beyond the albums, hit songs and sold-out tours, Celine Dion's personal life is one that has been marked with a painful amount of tragedy.

Watch Celine Dion and René Angelil's love story. Post continues after video. 

Video via Entertainment Tonight.

Celine Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, Québec, a little town outside of Montreal. She entered into a busy household, as she was not the second, nor the third child of her parents Thérèse Tanguay and Adhémar Dion – she was their 14th baby. 

Due to the sheer number of people in the Dion household, each room was overflowing with kids – leaving no room for Celine, who slept in a drawer for the first part of her life.

The entire Dion family shared the same passion: a deep appreciation for music. This meant the home was filled with tunes whenever possible, and the children even formed a music group that would perform at local concerts. As the baby of the family, Celine was late to join the band, but her mother has always said that she could spot Celine's talent from a young age. 


"All my children were gifted, but Celine was exceptionally so," she recalls.

Celine as a child. Image: Celinedion.com

When Celine was 12 years old, she would meet the man she would later marry. He was 38 at the time (drawing a 26-year age gap), and was her manager. His name was René Angélil, and he was sent a cassette tape of Celine singing by her mother. Thérèse had deliberately chosen René because he had once managed the career of Québécois singer Ginette Reno – who was the Dion family's idol.


René invited Celine to an appointment in his office, handed her a pencil, and said: “Here’s your microphone. Now sing as though you were in front of a sold-out audience.”

In that moment, René became her biggest fan. And, as Celine Dion's website claims, it was "the beginning of the most wonderful artist-manager relationship in the history of show business".

René believed so completely in his young protégé that he re-mortgaged his house to finance her first album.

Celine opened up to People about her first meeting with her future husband, sharing that her incredible voice reduced him to tears. "While I was singing he started to cry," she said. "I knew then I had done a good job."

The two maintained a close working relationship which evolved into a romance when Celine turned 19. But they kept their relationship out of the public eye for several years, with the singer only sharing her love for René in the sleeve notes of her The Colour of My Love album.

The pair would go on to tick off professional goals together: platinum albums, sold-out tours, and international success.

But throughout those milestones, they hit a few personal ones as well. In 1992, René had his first health scare – a heart attack. The newly engaged pair were staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills when it happened, after taking an afternoon dip at the hotel pool.

René was taken to the hospital in his swimmers, where he was treated and made a full recovery. 


Two years on, the pair said 'I do' during an extravagant wedding.

While there aren't many public pictures of the nuptials, Us Weekly reported that the couple got married at Montréal's Notre-Dame Basilica, where the bride wore a dress with a 20-foot-long train covered in lace and crystals. But the biggest talking point had to be Celine's headdress. It was embellished with 2000 Swarovski crystals that weighed more than seven pounds.

Image: Getty.


Four years after they wed, doctors found a lump on René's neck, and he was later diagnosed with malignant throat cancer. "We have asked [doctors] many times, how long does he have, three weeks, three months? René wants to know," Celine said of the situation at the time to USA Today. "But they say they don't know." 

Following the diagnosis, Celine announced she'd be taking a career break in order to care for René. She was by his side for the two operations and rounds of radiation he endured to fight off the cancer. She didn't perform for two years straight. 

By 2000 René's health had improved – and the couple celebrated by renewing their vows. This time their wedding was in Las Vegas, and Celine wore a golden gown. 

Just one year on from their renewal, on January 25, 2001, Celine and René became parents, welcoming their first child together: René-Charles Angélil.

CNN reported at the time that René-Charles was a welcome arrival after the couple underwent IVF to conceive him. They were also rumours that Celine and René had René-Charles' "twin" on ice at a fertility clinic.

The couple continued to work together for the next decade with René organising a Las Vegas residency for Celine – a move which Hello! Magazine says was instrumental in revitalising the city as a go-to destination. 

In 2009, it seems the couple may have tried to give René-Charles his "twin", with Celine announcing her second pregnancy via IVF. However, just 10 days after Celine's announcement, she had a miscarriage. Her spokeswoman confirmed the news to The Sydney Morning Herald and explained that while it was a "horrible setback", the couple had plans to try with another round of IVF.


Celine and René were able to further grow their family in 2010 with the arrival of their twin boys, Nelson and Eddy. 

Celine, René, René-Charles, and twins Nelson and Eddy. Image: Getty.

But by the end of 2013, the family were hit with devastating news: René had cancer again.


Several months later, in 2014, Celine announced she was postponing all her engagements once again to stay close to her husband, who was fighting cancer for the second time. 

"I am scared of losing him, because it's bad," Celine said at the time. "But I have to show myself, my husband and my kids that I'm strong and we're okay."

After spending months by René’s bedside, her husband asked her for a favour: he wanted to see her onstage again. He wanted to hear her sing again. And so Celine re-started her residency at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. 

"I didn't want to be here at first," Celine said of her return to the stage. "I don't need it. Don't get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities."

On January 14, 2016, René Angélil, died of cancer. 

Celine was open about her last moments with her husband, saying: "René says to me, 'I want to die in your arms.' OK, fine, I'll be there, you'll die in my arms."

Fans mourned alongside Celine and her sons, but then the family was hit with another blow. Two days after René passed away, Celine's brother Daniel died. He too had battled cancer, and it had spread to his lungs, brain and bones at the time of his death.

On January 22, René was buried during a national funeral in Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal, the very same place where, 22 years earlier, Celine and René were married and said they would be together "until death do us part".

Celine and her sons at her husband's funeral. Image: Getty.


Following the death of her husband and manager, Celine has continued to work and thrive professionally – touring and recording regularly. But she keeps René front of mind with every move. 

Seven years after his passing, during an appearance on NBC she said: "I feel like René has given me so much through the years and still today. I see my kids. I look at them — we live with him. We still live with him. He's part of our lives every day, so I have to say that I feel very, very strong."


During the same interview, she was asked if she would ever consider dating again. 

"Right this second, love is so big right now in my life, with my kids, with life itself. I'm not thinking about a relationship and falling in love again," she responded.

By 2019, Celine Dion had undergone a renaissance, transforming into a high-fashion darling. Suddenly Celine was on billboards, front row at fashion shows and tapping into the zeitgeist of luxury fashion with weird and wonderful Instagram videos.


This gear change was somewhat credited to her close friend Pepe Munoz – a backing dancer turned stylist that had worked with Celine for years. During this time rumours surrounded Celine and Pepe, with tabloids labelling him as her 'secret boyfriend'.

Celine shut down any and all rumours with one interview, explaining that Pepe was gay and therefore no romantic relationship was going on between them.

“The thing is that he's my best friend and we dance together and he did so much for me and even just holding my hand… it's something that I haven't had for a long time… A hug from a 6' 3" man, it was wonderful… and people really thought there was a romance going on – but Pepe is gay, and at first I think some people did not know that,” Celine explained. “He did so much for me, for my mental health, my spirituality, my strength… my inner strength.”

Beyond this rumoured romance, no other love interests have been linked to Celine. 

In December 2022, the singer shared some sad news with her 5.3 million Instagram followers. News that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called 'Stiff Person Syndrome' which gives her daily spasms that impact her walking and, painfully, her singing. 

In a five-minute long video, Celine can be seen fighting off tears as she made the following statement:

"As you know I've always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before, but I'm ready now. 

"I've been dealing with problems with my health for a long time and it's been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I've been going through. Recently I've been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called 'Stiff Person Syndrome', which affects something like one in a million people. While we're still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what's been causing all of the spasms I've been having. Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life. Sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I'm used to.


"It hurts me to tell you this, but this means I won't be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February. I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better. And my precious children who are supporting me and giving me hope. I'm working hard with my sports therapist to build up my strength to give me the ability to perform again. But I have to admit: it's been a struggle. All I know is singing. It's what I've done all my life, and it's what I love to do the most.

"I miss being on the stage and performing for you. I always give 100 per cent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now. I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment. And I have hope that I am on the road to recovery. This is my focus and I'm doing everything I can."

You can watch her video in full here:


Celine has made very few public appearances since sharing her diagnosis, most recently attending an NHL game with her sons in November 2023 and presenting Taylor Swift with a Grammy at the 2024 Grammy Awards in February 2024.

"When I say that I'm happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart," she said on-stage. 

After postponing tour dates, Celine cancelled her world tour completely in 2023 as she dealt with the condition.

A documentary, I Am: Celine Dion, about her time away from performing is set to come out later this year.

Image: Getty.

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