Celine Dion's Spouse 'Started to Cry' during Their 1st Meeting — Her Mom Was against Their Marriage
For twenty-two years, songstress Celine Dion was married to Canadian talent manager Rene Angelil, who was 26 years her senior. The couple met through Dion's brother.
The world's beloved Canadian singer Celine Dion met her future husband, musical producer Rene Angelil when she was only 12 years old, and he was 38 in 1980.
Dion's brother had discovered Angelil's name on the back of French-Canadian singer Ginette Reno's record. Knowing how talented his sister was, he sent Angelil a recording of his sibling's first original song.
Canadian singer Celine Dion pictured wearing a white blouse with hoop earrings in 1991 in London. / Source: Getty Images
Upon hearing the tune, Angelil invited young Dion to audition for him in person in Quebec, their first time meeting. Years later, the songbird recalled the magical moment when she sang for him:
"While I was singing, he started to cry. I knew then I had done a good job."
Celine Dion and Rene Angelil posing in March 1990 in Los Angeles. / Source: Getty Images
After listening to his future wife's powerful vocals, Angelil knew that he wanted to turn Dion into a superstar and went to great lengths to achieve that.
THE COUPLE KEPT THEIR ROMANCE A SECRET
Celine Dion and her manager Rene Angelil pictured posing in March 1990 in Los Angeles. / Source: Getty Images
Angelil's faith in Dion's talent was unquestionable, and she proved him correct when her first song, "La Voix du Bon Dieu," became a hit in Quebec, paving the way for her superstardom in her home province.
In 1987, the manager-client relationship between the pair developed beyond that. When Dion was 19, she and Angelil went out on their first date, but she later admitted that they had started dating a year or so before.
In addition, she was doing well on the business side of things. Her album "Unison" got released in 1990, but in 1991, Dion gained global recognition when she belted out the "Beauty and the Beast" soundtrack in a duet with Peabo Bryson.
That year was significant for Dion and Angelil because they got engaged. Despite the general public being unaware of their romantic relationship.
In 1993, two years into their engagement, the couple had still not made their relationship official to the public. The "I'm Alive" singer confessed to People in 1994 that she feared how the world would perceive her relationship with Angelil.
Talent manager Rene Angelil and Celine Dion during the World Music Awards ceremony on May 3, 1995 in Monaco, Monaco. / Source: Getty Images
However, she later found the courage to admit that she was madly in love with her companion: "When you're in love, you want to scream it to the world," said Dion.
But she decided to announce they were a couple through her music five years later in her album, "The Color of My Love." The duo had a 26-year age gap.
DION'S MOTHER WAS NOT HAPPY WITH HER CHOICE
Celine Dion with husband Rene Angelil on their wedding day on December 15, 1994 in Montreal, Canada. / Source: Getty Images
Regardless of the age difference, the couple continued with their romance and wed in 1994. The general public was the least of Dion's worries in being wary about what the world would think about her relationship with Angelil.
Dion's mother was not pleased with her daughter's involvement with Angelil. The "That's The Way It Is" singer revealed to "Access Hollywood" that her mom was against their relationship:
"I have to say that for my mom, he was not the prince charming – the ideal prince charming. It was difficult."
When Angelil managed Dion's professional career, her view of him started to change within a few years. The musical superstar admitted that she began having feelings for him when she turned 17 or 18. Her mother noticed the shift as well, said Dion.
"Maybe when I was 19 years old, I told her that I have some strong feelings for Rene, and he's been married twice, and he had three children. And she tried everything to kill him and make me snap out of it!" she explained.
That experience put her at odds with her mother, and she became annoyed with her. However, she realized why her mom fought against the situation so much.
"I was very frustrated and mad at her at first because I said, 'It's not just like a crazy thing. It's real! But she tried to make me understand that this man tried twice before, he has three children, he's not responsible," Dion further explained.
Eventually, her mother made peace with their relationship, and Angelil won over her entire family of 13 siblings. With that outcome, Dion stated, "She had no choice. Love won."
Ten years later in her life, the "I Surrender" singer became a mother herself and finally understood her mom's concerns. Dion realized her mom was scared of her being with an older man.
As a mother of three boys herself, Dion admitted that she would not be so understanding if her son wanted to marry a twice-divorced 45-year-old woman with kids. She joked:
"If I reversed roles when I had my first son if I think of him and he comes to me with this lady who has kids and she’s 45, I’d be like, ‘Take your hand off my son.'"
With that said, Dion and Angelil's relationship defied the odds, and in 2000, the lovebirds renewed their vows. The pair initially married in an extravagant wedding ceremony at Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica on December 7, 1994.
Their nuptials were televised on Canadian television. The bride dazzled in a 20-foot-long train gown, but it was her headpiece that turned heads.
Designed by Mirella and Steve Gentile, Dion's wedding dress featured both lace and crystals. Her headdress was a hair-covering with 2,000 Swarovski crystals that weighed more than seven pounds.
A HARROWING DIAGNOSIS - VOWS RENEWAL AND CHILDREN
Celine Dion and her husband and Rene Angelil during a fashion show at the Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace June 4, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. / Source: Getty Images
While everything else seemed like a fairy tale for Dion, her marriage got shaken when Angelil was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998. Despite her busy schedule, the loving wife decided to take a back seat from work and went on a hiatus to fully support and care for her husband.
"Rene and I had our tough times. It wasn't always easy. We had tension between us. It's never been easy being husband and wife, but to add to that, we are in business together, dealing with all the added pressure of shows, concerts, tours, and traveling. It was hard, a lot of work," said Dion.
The couple later learned that Angelil was cancer-free in 2000. Elated with the news, they celebrated by renewing their wedding vows in a traditional Melkite Byzantine ceremony in Las Vegas.
Rene Angelil and his wife, Celine Dion during a news conference at Sainte-Justine Children's Hospital on December 18, 2002 in Montreal, Canada. / Source: Getty Images
The pair became parents together a year later when they welcomed their first child in January 2001. Angelil and Dion had their first son, Rene Charles, via in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Dion returned to work in 2002 after taking time away to care for Angelil and the birth of her son. Following the release of one of her hit singles, "A New Day Has Come," was a residency, and she became a fixture in Las Vegas.
This was all thanks to her loving husband, who ensured that she got the spot. Angelil was the mastermind behind his wife's impressive musical career.
Pop star Celine Dion pictured with her husband, Rene Angelil, who holds their son Rene-Charles on July 25, 2001 at the chapel of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec. / Source: Getty Images
Years later, health interfered with the ongoing success in 2009. Angelil, a pop singer, underwent heart-related surgery due to a blocked artery. The couple's publicist later revealed that everything went well and that he came back home shortly after.
Yet again, Dion and Angelil faced another obstacle when she suffered a miscarriage just ten days after publicly announcing her pregnancy.
The incident came after an unsuccessful round of in vitro in July 2009. However, that did not deter the pair from going the IVF route again.
They weathered through the storm and welcomed twins shortly after their tragic loss. Dion announced in May 2010 that she was expecting twins. Proud father Angelil told People that they were lucky:
"She was hoping for one baby, and the news that we are having two is a double blessing."
The couple had gone through six rounds of IVF at the time, and Dion took measures to increase her chances of getting pregnant. She and the love of her life welcomed their twin boys, Nelson and Eddy, in October 2010.
Celine Dion pictured waving while holding her son Nelson Angelil next to Rene Angelil, who holds their son Eddy Angelil, and their first child Rene-Charles Angelil while arriving at Caesars Palace on February 16, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. / Source: Getty Images
Clouding their happiness, Angelil continued to endure health concerns, and to his dismay, cancer returned in 2014. During a press conference, Dion openly talked about her husband's ill health in Vegas in 2015.
"I am scared of losing him because it's bad. But I have to show myself, my husband, and my kids that I'm strong and we're okay," said Dion. "I didn't want to be here at first. I don't need it. Don't get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities."
DION'S LIFE WITHOUT HER HUSBAND
Sadly, Angelil tragically passed away in January 2016 at age 73, losing his long battle with throat cancer. After he died, Dion tried her best to immerse herself in being a mom to her boys by staying positive for them.
The mother of three told People in May 2016 that she wanted to prove to her brood that their mother was strong. Though it has been more than five years since Angelil's passing, his widowed wife still feels him "within" her.
"I see him through my children's eyes every day," Dion told Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live" in November 2019. The starlet added she is passionate about life and is fortunate to have her beautiful sons.
On moving on, the Grammy Award winner shared she still kept the door open for dating, stating, "It doesn't mean that I will not find someone in my life. If I do, that would be great. If I don't, that would be great because I'm still in love with Rene."
During her appearance on "Today," Dion divulged that she has grown from her experience with Angelil's death and his everlasting love.
"I feel like Rene 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," she said.
On the sixth anniversary of Angelil's death, Dion paid a heart-wrenching tribute to him on Instagram. She posted lyrics from her 2019 song "Courage," accompanied by a black and white photo of her love.
The best-selling recording artist wrote that she would be lying if she said she was okay. Revealing that she thought of him at least a hundred times, "cause in the echo of my voice I hear your words just like you’re there...I miss you – Celine."