Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
The Power of Love, Think Twice, My Heart Will Go On
Currently Known For:
The Power of Love, Think Twice, My Heart Will Go On
“There’s no such thing as aging, but maturing and knowledge, it’s beautiful. I call that beauty.” A true Canadian jewel and the best-selling Canadian artist of all time, Celine Dion has been wowing audiences since she launched her career at the age of 12 in 1980. Over the last four decades, she’s become one of the best-selling artists of all time thanks to her stellar vocals that she first showcased on several French albums in the 1980s. After winning the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in 1982 and the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988, she skyrocketed to fame under the guidance of Canadian music producer, talent manager, and singer René Angélil, whom she later married in 1994.
By the 1990s, Dion made her way to the United States where she signed on with Epic Records and released hit albums like Falling Into You in 1996 and Let’s Talk About Love in 1997. She recorded the title track, “My Heart Will Go On,” for the Titanic soundtrack and sealed her fate as a star when she signed on for her first residency on the Las Vegas Strip—A New Day—that ran from 2003 to 2007. Adding in several world tours and chart-topping albums over the next decade, Dion suffered a huge heartbreak in 2016 with the death of her husband, Angélil. In the years since then, she’s proven her strength with her recent return to Sin City for her stellar second act. With her recent work on the Deadpool 2 single “Ashes” and the end of her Las Vegas residency, Celine, in 2019, let’s take a closer look at the 50-year-old’s life and her plans for the future!
“I definitely would never go back to my 20s. The best is yet to come.” Céline Marie Claudette Dion came into this world on March 30, 1968, as the youngest of 14 children born to a butcher and a homemaker of modest means in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. Because of the family’s size, Dion was raised in poverty but had a wonderful childhood in a loving Roman Catholic home where she and her siblings spent their free time listening to and making music. This inspired Dion’s passion for performing and, at the age of five, she made her stage debut at her brother’s wedding.
Over the next few years, Dion’s dreams of becoming a star blossomed. She was 12 years old when she sat down with her mother and brother to write “Nothing But a Dream” in her native French. Dion’s brother, Michael, sent the tape to 38-year-old music manager René Angélil with the hope that he would recognize Dion’s talent. Luckily, Angélil knew instantly that Dion had potential and was brought to tears by her voice. He mortgaged his house and used the money to fund Dion’s first album, La voix du bon Dieu, which was a huge success and made Dion an instant star in her native Quebec in 1981.
The following year, Dion traveled to Tokyo, Japan where she won the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and was named Top Performer with a gold medal for Best Song. Only 13 years old, she remained under the watchful eye of Angélil who guided her career as she traveled across Japan to Ireland and France before returning to Canada where she learned English. Once she was fluent, she ventured to the United States and released her debut English album, Unison, in 1990. The album was certified platinum seven times in Canada and once in the United States.
Although the album was a success, Dion truly made a name for herself in 1991 when she joined Peabo Bryson to sing the title track on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. The single earned Dion a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance and marked her first top-ten hit in the United Kingdom and her second in the United States. Coincidentally, it also marked a shift in her personal life as Dion fell further in love with her longtime manager, Angélil, whom she’d been secretly dating since she was 19. With Angélil 26 years older, the couple kept their romance quiet especially since her mother disapproved. “It was not the person that she wanted for me,” Dion later said. “And I don’t blame her… I said, ‘Mum, I really love him.’”
Dion shared her love with the world on her third English album, The Colour of My Love, in 1993. A year later, she exchanged vows with Angélil in an extravagant ceremony broadcast live on Canadian television. “He’s the only man I’ve seen. The only man I’ve loved. The only man I’ve kissed,” Dion said of her love for Angélil and their life together.Settling into America: Las Vegas Style
Dion released over a dozen English and French albums throughout the 1990s including D’eux (1995), S’il suffisait d’aimer (1998), Falling Into You (1996), Let’s Talk About Love (1997), and These Are Special Times (1998). In 1999, she wrapped up the decade with her greatest hits compilation, All the Way… A Decade of Song, and announced her upcoming hiatus to focus on her life at home with Angélil, who was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer. During her break from recording and performing, she underwent fertility treatments and announced she and Angélil were pregnant with a son. They welcomed René-Charles Dion Angélil into the world on January 25, 2001, and settled into life as a family of three at their Florida estate.
Although she was content with her life at home as a wife and mother, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks inspired Dion’s return to the music industry as she sang “God Bless America” at the America: A Tribute to Heroes benefit concert. Months later, she published her autobiography, My Story, My Dream, and ended her three-year hiatus with her 2002 album, A New Day Has Come. With her career resurgence, she followed up with Open Heart in 2003 and Miracle in 2004 before signing a three-year, 600-show residency contract at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Moving the family out west, she took the stage in A New Day residency and became Sin City’s biggest icon as she sold out 315 of 383 shows with ticket prices averaging over $140. The residency grossed over $43.9 million in ticket sales alone and boosted her net worth to over $75 million as she extended her contract in 2007. The second residency was even bigger than the first with over three million people attending 717 shows and generating over $385 million in profits.
Amid her incredible success in Las Vegas, Dion released a handful of French and English albums including 1 fille & 4 types (2003), D’elles (2007), and Taking Chances (2007). After wrapping up her second residency, A New Day… Live in Las Vegas, she embarked on the Taking Chances World Tour from 2008 to 2009 and starred in the documentary, Celine: Through the Eyes of the World, which documented her life on the road.
In 2010, Dion was at the height of her career and her personal life after Angélil’s incredible recovery when she confirmed they were pregnant with twins. Over the next few months, she remained out of the spotlight and welcomed fraternal twin boys—Eddy and Nelson—into the world on October 23, 2010, at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Two months later, Dion introduced the boys to the world in a highly anticipated photoshoot with Hello! magazine.
Balancing her role as a wife, mother, and artist, Dion returned to the stage in 2011 when she signed on for another three-year residency in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace. To promote her return, she joined Oprah Winfrey on the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show and then booked over 70 shows each year. “It seems strange to say this, but it is true: combing back to Vegas to work is like going on vacation for me,” Dion said.
Dion wowed Las Vegas night after night and released new music for her fans with albums like Sans attendre (2012) and Loved Me Back to Life (2013). She also embarked on her 2013 European tour—Tournée Européenne 2013. However, things took a different turn in 2014 when Angélil’s health rapidly declined after the removal of a cancerous tumor in late 2013. She canceled her 2014 Asia Tour and focused all her energy on Angélil and their family. “I took a year off and I said, ‘My living well is to be with you, it’s not my career. You are my career, you are my life,’” Dion said of her hiatus. “That’s what a wife does. That’s what a mother does. That’s what a performer does. I took care of him the best way I could.”Love, Loss, and Rebuilding: Life Today
Dion certainly did the best she could and cared for Angélil over the next few years. She even made a brief return to Las Vegas in August 2015, but Angélil’s declining health brought her back home where doctors confirmed that Angélil only had a few months to live. With this news, Dion remained by Angélil’s side where they talked every day about their life together and her future without him. “We talked a lot and I took notes every day. I had my Post-its and my crayons and my book, and everything he wanted or questioned, or he thought of, I wrote it down,” Dion said.
After a long battle with cancer and three years on a feeding tube, Angélil had a small heart attack and died just two days before his 74th birthday on January 14, 2016. “For three years, my husband did not have a sip of water or food. He was eating through a tube. The only thing I hoped while he was in three years of agony—I wanted him to live in peace. I wanted him to feel so light and no worries,” Dion said. “He had a little heart attack. It was so quick he didn’t even feel anything. I thought that he was finally liberated from his pain… I said, ‘It’s enough. It’s enough of suffering. You gave me so much, you don’t deserve that.’ I said, ‘I’m fine. The kids are fine. Ok, everything is going to be Ok. You taught me, you taught me well. I’m going to use it.’ And that’s what I do every day—so René will never die.”
Spending the next few months quietly grieving with her sons, Dion returned to the spotlight in May 2016 when she released a cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” with violinist Lindsey Stirling. She took the stage at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards to perform the single and was honored with the Billboard Icon Award in recognition of her incredible career. Later in the year, she released her next French album, Encore un soir, in August 2016 and launched her European and Canadian tour. “When I sing, it’s with him,” Dion said of her quick return to the stage and her busy schedule. “When I hug my kids, it’s for him and it’s with him… I took the time to grieve and I’m still grieving… but I think I will probably grieve for the rest of my life.” Dion embarked on several international tours over the next few years and, in October 2016, set a new record when she performed her 1000th show in Las Vegas.
In 2018, Dion released “Ashes” for the Deadpool 2 soundtrack and then toured the Asia-Pacific region for a 22-show concert that grossed over $56.5 million. In September 2018, she announced the end of her Las Vegas residency Celine and confirmed the residency’s final date for June 8, 2019. Until then, she continues to work on her next English album and says she feels better than ever before since Angélil’s legacy lives on through her, her boys, and her work. “I’m doing really great and I’ll tell you why—the loss of my husband, before he passed away, I died first. I assisted him with all the strength I could,” Dion says. “I hope it doesn’t sound strange to say, my husband still lives today. I see him through the eyes of my children. He’s alive; he doesn’t suffer. The suffering for me was the hardest—for him and for me. So, now he’s fine. I’m finding a space for myself. I’m finding who I am. He’s telling me, ‘Go ahead, open your wings.’”