Celine Dion has had a career that spans the decades.
Having sold more than 220 million albums around the world, Celine Dion is one of the most immediately recognized, widely respected and successful performers in pop music history.
She began singing professionally at just 12-years-old which is when she met her manager Rene Angélil.
Little did she know, just a few years later she would be marrying her manager who was 26 years her senior as the love of her life.
From miracles to heartbreak, Celine Dion has been part of it all – here are some of the biggest secrets from her life.
A Near Miss
When she was just 5-years-old Celine was backed into by a truck. She remained unconscious for many days and suffered from several skull fractures. Luckily, despite doctors saying she wouldn’t make it, she healed over time.
One Of Many
Celine was one of 14 children – so it’s safe to say that she wasn’t planned. Her mother intended on having no more children, but she fell pregnant again – while it was unexpected, the family were still very happy. The family had to make do with what they had which is probably why Celine slept in a draw at first.
Celine’s older brother, Jacques, and mother decided to write and compose a song, which was later sung by Celine and recorded for fun. But Celine’s mother knew that someone in the industry needed to hear the young girls talent. She found a random name and contact information on the back of a music album and contacted the music manager- who turned out to be Rene Angélil.
Along with the demo, Celine’s mother wrote: “This is a 12-year-old with a fantastic voice. Please listen to her. We want her to be like Ginette Reno.” But just like any other music manager, Rene didn’t have time to listen to all of the tapes he was sent. It was actually Celine’s brother who insisted he met Rene and requested a meeting. During the meeting he urged Rene to listen to the tape. After hearing it for the first time, Rene demanded Celine come in for an audition.
Not Normal Audition
Rene was blown away by the young girl’s talent and he wanted to see her performance. He invited her to his office, handed her a pencil and said: “Here’s your microphone. Now sing as though you were in front of a sellout audience.” Celine sang on the spot and Rene was instantly her biggest fan. Celine has since spoke about the audition, she said: “While I was singing, he (Rene) started to cry, I knew then I had done a good job.” Rene signed her instantly and decided he would be the one to transform her into a huge star. She was talented but a little rough around the edges.
Rene was so confident about Celine’s talent that in 1981 he decided to mortgage his home to fun her first record, La Voix Bon Dieu, which later reached number one in Quebec – making her an instant star. Rene’s gamble paid off.
Time To Grow
After her first tour Celine and Rene thought it would be best if the songstress took some time away from the industry in order to grow as a person. It was a risk as Celine was just breaking through, but it was necessary. Celine was going from childhood to adulthood and needed to find out who she was offscreen. She took an 18 month break. The choice for time off was a great one. Celine used the time to transform and to perfect her English.
Her Biggest Secret
Celine carried a huge secret at the beginning of her career and she kept it well hidden from the public – her and Rene’s relationship had transformed from a professional one to a romantic one. Dion announced her feelings for her manager by declaring him “the colour of [her] love” in the dedication section of her third album The Colour of My Love. “Maybe at 17, 18 years old, my feelings started to change for him,” Dion told Access Hollywood in 2013, “I kind of saw him differently.”
Fearing The Reaction
The couple began dating when Celine was 19 – Rene was 45-years-old. Rene was keen to keep the relationship secret due to their 26 year age gap. After being together for so long, the love birds wanted to get married and have children. The relationship was a secret for an amazing 5 years
“I was afraid of what people would think,” Rene told People magazine in 1994. Celine was the one who wanted to tell the public. “When you’re in love, you want to scream it to the world,” she said. Celine’s fans got behind the couple entirely – not the reaction the couple had been expecting.
No Mothers Blessing
In the beginning of Celine’s relationship with Rene, her mother did not approve. Celine explained: “It was very difficult for her. When I told her I had some really strong feelings for Rene she tried everything to kill him and make me snap out of it… I was very frustrated and mad at first, but she tried to make me understand that this man tried marriage twice before – he has three children, he’s not responsible, ‘I want the perfect Prince Charming for you’.”
Over The Top
Celine and Rene married on December 17, 1994 at a lavish ceremony at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. The whole ceremony was televised on Canadian national television so fans could watch the pair give their vows. Many criticised the wedding saying it was overboard and had an unnecessary royal sense to it.
For her wedding dress, Celine had it designed by Mirella and Steve Gentile and took them over 1,000 hours to created. She also wore a 20 lb tiara that made her look like a fairytale Princess.
She Hated Her Biggest Hit
One of the biggest and most successful songs in Celine’s repertoire is My Heart Will Go On, however at first Celine was not happy about singing it. In an interview she revealed she was dreading the moment she would record the dong. She said: “… 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…”
She Was Called A Traitor
Dion’s international breakthrough came when she sang the track for Disney’s Beauty and The Beast in 1991. The song earned Celine her first Grammy Award but she was called a traitor by French fans in Canada. They believed she had neglected them for the American audience. Celine later tried to fix this by refusing to accept the award for English Artist of the Year at the Félix Awards show. She said she would always be a French artist, not English.
A Little Encouragement
It was actually Celine’s husband that convinced her to sing My Heart Will Go On. In an interview Celine revealed: “[Angélil] said, ‘Let’s just do a demo. Let’s give it a try and we’ll see after.’ The demo is actual the real recording. I never sang the song again.” This is probably the most famous song from Celine’s 20 year career.
After their marriage, Celine and Rene purchased their first home together, they would go on to buy many homes together but the Jupiter, Florida estate was incredible. It is unclear how much they paid for it but in 2014 when Celine wanted to sell it, she wanted $72 million!
Over the years Celine has received many awards, including the National Order of Quebec, her provinces highest honour. She also has a star on both the Hollywood and Canadian Walk of Fame. In 2008 Celine became a doctor when she received an honorary doctorate from Laval University in Quebec. The singer had never actually graduated from high school, so said it was a great honour for a little girl from Charlemagne.
Before marrying Celine, Rene Angélil was married twice before. In 1966 he married his first wife, Denyse Duquette. The pair had a son who was born in 1668 – making him 3 months older than Celine.
In the first months of 2000, Celine announced she was taking some time off to focus on her family. She had two small procedures at a fertility clinic in New York to improve her chances of conceiving, after years of unsuccessful attempts. After undergoing many treatments, Celine finally gave birth to her son René-Charles Dion Angélil, in 2001.
As mentioned, Celine’s first child was named Rene Charles, after his own father. In 2010 she gave birth to twin boys and named them Eddy and Nelson. Eddy was named after Eddy Marnay, the producer behind Celine’s first five albums, Nelson was named after former South African President Nelson Mandela.
She Almost Lost Her Gift
While Celine was touring she lost her voice. She was suffering from extreme fatigue and outbursts of laryngitis. Her schedule was packed and it was having an effect on her body and her voice. Doctors forced her to cancel her shows in order to avoid vocal cord surgery. The songstress had to remain silent for 3 weeks. After this scare she began a strict routine to take better care of her voice.
A Sad Loss
On her Let’s Talk About Love world tour Celine announced that Rene had been diagnosed with cancer. However a few months later her devoted husband was onstage giving his wife a kiss in the last seconds of the millennium. Rene Angélil sadly died in January 2016, a few days before his 74th birthday.
Celine has had to stay strong through a lot of heartbreak in recent years. In the same week her husband passed after long battle with cancer, she also lost her brother. The songstress found positivity in the situation and said: “René (her husband) escorted my brother. It was perfect.”
A Voice Worth Millions
Celine’s voice really is one in a million – not only this, but it’s also earned her many millions. Through her major success she has managed to provide for herself and her family throughout the years, her estimated net worth is $700 million.
Savvy Business Woman
Celine’s mother is a brilliant cook, and this passed on to Celine. Celine started her own restaurant in Québec called Nickels in 1990. It was so successful she then decided to turn it into a chain with stores introduced in Ontario, too. She also has her very own magazine, Celine Dion Magazine.
Like many superstars, Celine has tried her hand at other industries, including TV. The Canadian star can boast TV credits in Touched by an Angel, The Nanny, All My Children, Hell’s Kitchen and Muppets Most Wanted.
In early 2017 it was rumoured that Celine was dating her back-up dancer Pepe Munoz, but in fact Pepe is a self-made ‘Fashion Illustrator’ and the pair are not dating. Munoz has partnered Dion on many outings publically, but the relationship is platonic, according to TMZ sources.
Incredibly Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Madonna and Shania Twain all share an ancestor with Celine! His name was Zacharie Cloutier and he was a French-Canadian man who fled France in 1634 and moved to Canada or ‘New France’. What a talented gene pool!