Céline Dion Pays Heartbreaking Tribute To Late Husband On 77th Birth Anniversary: "You're Always With Me, Always Will Be"
Celine Dion stood strongly on stage at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on January 16, performing an emotional tribute to her late husband, Rene Angelil, in honor of his 77th birthday. Just three years earlier she lost her husband to a heart attack after a long battle with throat cancer.
Celine has made it clear on many occasions that Rene was the love of her life, a man she first came to know when she was 12 years old. He became her manager, and seven years later they began to date. In 1994 they married, and then welcomed their first son Rene Charles in 2001. Celine later endured the heartbreak of a miscarriage, but it didn’t stop the two from trying again. At age 42, the following year, she had twin boys Nelson and Eddy, her family complete, and her career as strong as ever.
In an interview by The Sun in 2017, she confides to Dan Wootton how hard it has been for the kids losing their father.
She adds, "I think I will probably grieve for the rest of my life."
He was the only man she ever loved, and the deep hole in her heart is difficult to overcome. She and the twins sleep in a very, “huge, huge, huge bed”. When they feel ready, their own rooms wait for them. Suffering such a tragic loss, it keeps their loneliness at bay. Her children give her immeasurable comfort. She’s never felt closer to them. She goes on to say, “We watch a lot of TV together. I’m discovering Disney."
The strength and confidence she displays on stage she attributes to her husband who she says taught her to be strong, taught her everything she knows, "Rene has prepared me for all my life since I’m 12. I have never met another man in my life, never kissed another man in my life. I miss him a lot. I miss him a lot — for my partner, for the man I was embracing, kissing, making love with. My worries, my dreams..."
She continues to tell Wootton she can’t imagine dating anyone else. She explains, “ I am definitely in love with him, married to him. It’s very difficult for me to see myself with another person. The love that I have for him, I live it every day.”
Now, when she sings her famous song, My Heart Will Go On, it takes on new meaning for her. She makes it clear, “When I sing, it’s with him. When I hug my kids, it’s for him and it’s with him. I took time to grieve and I’m still grieving.” In her latest interview with The Project, stated in In Style, she says her late husband lives on in the eyes of their kids.
Twenty-one years of marriage can never be forgotten, and Celine still feels his presence in her life every day. When she needs advice about her career she looks at his portrait and hears his words in her mind before making any decision. Celine admits she clutches a bronze replica of her husband’s hand and shakes it.
Together their hands knock on wood every night before a show, a ritual she has come to rely on that soothes her heart and makes it easier.
Their children will always have him in their lives, too. She tells Wootton the difficult words she told her babies, “Papa is not coming back but Papa is in your heart.” They continue to talk to their father even after his death. Celine says, "We have a little ritual where we say goodnight to him with a little picture. Then the kids talk to him. And they write words, put them in balloons and we send the balloons to the sky."
She confided the pain he suffered for three years and how hard it was to see the love of her life suffer. She never hesitated to take a year off to be by his side, to learn everything she possibly could from him, still.
She assured him, "'My living well is to be with you, it’s not my career. You are my career, you are my life. 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." In the end, she told him, “It’s enough, it’s enough of suffering. You gave so much, you don’t deserve that”.
Just two days before her performance in Las Vegas, on the anniversary of her husband’s death, she placed a sweet message on social media in French and English. "Mon cher René… tu es toujours avec moi… et tu le seras toujours. Translated it says, “My dearest Rene...always with me...always will be."
Celine took the stage at Caesar’s Palace and gazed at his seat behind the sound mixing desk, always left empty in his honor. She spoke with grace and humor to a rapt audience, letting them know it was Rene’s birthday and asking for their participation as she prepared to sing one of her all-time favorite songs in his honor. She wondered why it had taken her so long to finally sing the beloved tune, You’re the Voice by Australian singer John Farnham.
With the help of the audience during the chorus, she gave a moving performance. She stood tall and unshakable the way Rene had taught her to be and let them know, "This is the greatest gift that I can offer him for his birthday because what he loved the most in the world is the fans, the music and to see me perform for you."
When the song finished the audience broke into thundering applause and Celine looked up to the sky and blew a kiss, wishing him a happy birthday. She turned back to the crowd and said, "I couldn’t have offered him a better gift."
Just like he had been there by her side every step of the way, she forever holds his spirit within her. She states, "He taught me so much. He did a great job; what he had been giving to me all his life and all my life will always be with me. He gave me his all. He mortgaged his house to pay for my first album. I guess before he left he wanted to make sure I was fine. I’m trying to prove to him every day I’m fine. Our kids are grown, we feel strong. We’re good.”
From the beautiful performance she gave on stage at the Colosseum, with such elegance, poise, and feeling, it’s clear to see that she is fine and healing, keeping her children close to her, keeping his spirit in their hearts, continuing to do what she loves. His greatest gift to her lives on and she gives it back every day.
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