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Celine Dion | Rene Angelil | Source: Getty Images
Celine Dion | Rene Angelil | Source: Getty Images

Celine Dion's Husband Mortgaged His House for Her When She Was 12 and He Had Another Wife

Busayo Ogunjimi
Oct 11, 2023
05:45 P.M.

It took René Angélil weeks to listen to the tape sent to him by the now-famous Pop Singer Celine Dion, who was only 12 then. The music producer mortgaged his house to finance her music career when he finally did.

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Celine Dion was born in Quebec, Canada, as the youngest of 14 children. Her father, Adhémar Dion, was a butcher, and her mother, Thérèse, was a housewife. The family struggled to make ends meet, but despite their financial circumstances, Celine Dion excelled.

Singer Celine Dion and her husband and her late-husband Rene Angelil pictured before a fashion show by jewelry designer Chris Aire, 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Singer Celine Dion and her husband and her late-husband Rene Angelil pictured before a fashion show by jewelry designer Chris Aire, 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Her siblings owned music records by Aretha Franklin and Credence Clearwater, and listening to them inspired Celine to be a singer. At age five, Celine sang publicly at her brother Michel's wedding, making people dance.

When she was ten, Celine persuaded her parents to let her perform at the piano bar they had just opened. Two years later, she recorded a song titled "It Was Only a Dream," written by her parents. The tape was then sent to music producer René Angélil.

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Celine Dion photographed in 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Celine Dion photographed in 1985 | Source: Getty Images

After weeks of not hearing back from René, her brother, Michel, called the producer. Michel stated he knew René had not listened to the tape because he would have called the family if he had heard the song.

Meeting René Angélil

Music producer René met 12-year-old Celine after listening to her tape. He noticed she looked very shy and skinny at the meeting. He promised her mother, Thérèse, that if the family trusted him with Celine, he would make her the biggest star in Quebec within five years.

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Afterward, René mortgaged his house to pay for Celine to record two music albums. A single from one of the albums went number 1 in Quebec. Shortly after completing sixth grade, Celine stopped going to school.

She toured Quebec with her mother, acting as her chaperone. At 18, she saw Michael Jackson performing on TV and told René she wanted to be as successful as him. René told her to take 18 months off from touring. During that time, Celine underwent a makeover. She plucked her eyebrows and opted for shorter hair.

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The youngster also had caps fitted for her long incisors, making a humor magazine in Quebec nickname her "Canine Dion." René also sent her on a two-month Berlitz English course to break into the American market with her music.

Romantic Relationship with René

Celine and René maintained a platonic relationship even after he divorced his second wife, Anne Renée, in 1985. He and his ex-wife welcomed two children: Jean-Pierre and Anne-Marie.

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Their platonic relationship changed in 1988 when Celine and René kissed outside her hotel room after a show in Dublin. 40-year-old René later called to apologize for the kiss, but 20-year-old Celine asked him not to because she felt magical kissing him. Celine had only ever kissed a guy named Sylvain when she was 15 years old. Kissing was a big deal back then, and it scared her.

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Celine's mother, Thérèse, was against the relationship because not only was René her mentor, but he was also very much older than Celine. After six months, Thérèse relaxed her stance because she realized her daughter loved René.

The pop star also explained she does not know if she would ever date someone else.

Wedding Ceremony

Celine and René became engaged in 1991. Three years later, the couple exchanged vows in front of 500 guests at their beautiful wedding ceremony in Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica on December 17, 1994.

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The wedding ceremony was broadcast on Canadian TV, with the couple each arriving in a limousine accompanied by police officers. The pop star wore a large wedding dress that Mirella and Steve Gentile designed. The dress was adorned with a 6-meter-long train, and it took 1000 hours to fix its lace and crystals.

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The dress was accompanied by a mythical headdress made of 2000 Swarovski crystals, which weighed more than 30 kilograms. The couple renewed their vows in 2000 after René fought and was cured of throat cancer. They did this during a Melkite ceremony, a tribute to René's Melkite Catholic parents, who had gotten married in 1937.

Celine Dion and  Rene Angelil in Montreal in 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Celine Dion and Rene Angelil in Montreal in 1996 | Source: Getty Images

Their Children

The couple welcomed their first child, Rene-Charles Angélil, on a Thursday morning at a hospital in Florida. Rene-Charles weighed six pounds eight ounces at birth. The news of Rene-Charles's birth came after the couple's highly publicized fertility treatment. Celine had undergone two operations to improve her chances of becoming pregnant.

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Nine years after the birth of Rene-Charles, the couple announced Celine was 14 weeks pregnant. They were expecting twins, and this was after the singer had suffered a miscarriage the year before.

She had also undergone six in-vitro fertilization attempts and acupuncture to improve her chances of conceiving. Celine and René eventually welcomed their twin boys, Eddy and Nelson Angélil, in 2010.

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René Angélil's Death

Celine and René were married for over two decades. He was not only her husband but her manager. He died on January 14, 2016, at their Las Vegas home. The music producer died of throat cancer.

He first received a cancer diagnosis in 1999 and was treated, but it returned in 2013. His treatment the second time affected his hearing, and he also had to be fed via a tube. The 73-year-old was survived by his three kids with Celine and two kids from previous relationships.

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Celine Speaks after Her Husband's Death

In an interview with Today Magazine five years after René's death, Celine Dion told reporters that the late producer is still very much present in their family's life. She explained that losing her husband and her kids losing their father was difficult. René gave her so much; she sees him when she looks at their kids.

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The pop star also explained she does not know if she would ever date someone else. She was not thinking about being in a relationship or falling in love again, but she would not rule it out happening in the future. Celine declared that she and the kids were doing everything to keep René's legacy alive; he is part of their daily lives.

Celine Dion photographed in 1988 | Source: Getty Images

Celine Dion photographed in 1988 | Source: Getty Images

Life After Losing Her Husband

Losing her husband was difficult for Celine and her children, but now the family has faced another trying time. In a candid video in 2022, the iconic singer shared that she was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called Stiff Person Syndrome.

Celine Dion in her home in 2020 | Source: Getty Images

Celine Dion in her home in 2020 | Source: Getty Images

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Celine confessed that the doctors finally realized that this rare condition caused the spasms she had been experiencing. Even more challenging to deal with was that little was known about it, but as the singer tried to grapple with it, she had to reschedule all her 2023 tours.

The singer's sister Claudette emphasized, "It's an illness we know so little about," and spoke about seeing her sister suffer through some of the symptoms. "There are spasms – they're impossible to control," she said.

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Another source revealed that it was "heartbreaking" for Celine to cancel her tour, but she needed to focus on her health because the condition affected her daily life.

However, Celine has spent time in her Las Vegas home, where family surrounds her. She started raising questions about making the city her forever home when she sold her $45 million house in Florida and her residence in Montréal, but nothing has been confirmed.

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Since announcing the news of her condition, Celine has been keeping a low profile. A source said the singer has prioritized getting back on her feet while working with state-of-the-art doctors. Her biggest priority is also staying stronger for her children.

Celine Dion on "Good Morning America" in 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Celine Dion on "Good Morning America" in 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Celine has been living in a $1.2 million home with three large bedrooms, ample outdoor space with a pool, a private bar, and access to a semi-private golf course.

Footage from the singer's kitchen showed white as the predominant color. This color was also featured in another part of her home when she showed off the room for her One World: Together At Home concert.

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