Céline Dion is one of the most popular singers in the world. She initially rose to fame when she won the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest as a contestant representing Switzerland. Since then she has released many albums that have sold hundreds of millions of copies. She earned over a billion dollars during her various tours throughout her career and created a net worth of over $700 million at age 50. She was the second best-selling female during the ’90s and is considered one of the world’s most influential singers.
Outside of her incredible career as a singer, she had an unimaginable life journey which involved various business ventures, a lot of philanthropy and millions of dollars in donations, an escape from poverty and even marrying her manager, whom she stayed with until he passed away in 2016. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most defining milestones in Céline Dion’s life, which are full of inspiring and heartwarming stories and victories.
Céline Was Born Into a Family With Thirteen Children
In a rare and lucky chain of events, Céline Dion was born last into a family that included 13 children at the time of her birth. She was the youngest of the 14 siblings and was completely unexpected. Her mother allegedly decided not to have any more children, but due to luck, fate or whatever you might call it — young Céline was born. The family was already going through a lot of financial difficulties due to having a lot of kids and not much income. Her parents were forced to make her sleep inside a cabinet drawer because they simply ran out of space and beds.
It’s quite an amazing turn of events that the last child of a 14 kid family with financial troubles ended up being the one worth $700 million today. It really goes to show that you can never know what you’re going to get in life or what the value of a decision might end up being. Céline would go on to have an incredible career that would put her name and music in the homes of people all across the world. A lot of her success came due to her energy and love for music, but a large portion was also rooted in her incredible business skills.
She Began Singing When in a Bar At Age Five
By the time Céline Dion reached five years of age, she had had three distinct events that would shape the rest of her life. First was her near-death experience, where she was almost killed by a truck and put into a 7-day coma. This accident taught her just how precious life is, and why it’s important to not waste a single day. Her second experience was singing at her brother’s wedding to raving applause, which showed her just how talented she was. Finally, the third adventure was singing at the family’s owned piano bar, Le Vieux Baril. This bar was the perfect place for the Dion family to enjoy music and let their kids perform and practice their musical abilities. It’s located in Charlemagne, Quebec, which is a mostly French-speaking part of Canada.
When Dion began to perform in the bar, she immediately became a favorite of the patrons and they always wanted to hear her sing. This was even further proof for her that she had a true gift. Céline knew that if she could make strangers love her singing, the world was going to become her oyster. She ended up growing into one of the most famous and successful singers on earth, and much of that can be traced back to these three distinct and amazing life experiences that shaped our amazing Céline Dion.
Her Audition Was Far From Normal
When René Angélil invited Céline for an audition, he was still skeptical even though he had already heard her amazing voice. Becoming a successful and best-selling singer isn’t just about sounding good, it also has just as much to do with the singer’s looks, personality, and on-stage charisma. This is why when the young singer’s audition finally took place, the veteran talent manager made sure to give her a proper challenge.
René asked Céline to grab a pencil and use it as a pretend microphone. He told her: “Here’s your microphone. Now sing as though you were in front of a sellout audience.” Based on the story that the two loved to tell, Céline absolutely dazzled the manager with her performance and confidence, which turned him into an instant fan for life, and probably made him fall in love with her that very same day.
Céline’s Audition Made René Burst Into Tears
One of the main reasons we love to listen to our favorite musicians is because they have their way of profoundly touching our souls and connecting with us on an emotional level. It turns out that René Angélil and Céline Dion were perfect matches right from the beginning. When recalling the experience of the audition, Céline said in an interview: “While I was singing, he [René] started to cry,” she said. “I knew then I had done a good job.”
It didn’t take long for the talent manager to make his decision, and Céline left the studio with a contract in her hand. He knew that she was going to become an incredible star, and wanted to take the most active part in her success he could possibly have. Céline was still very young at the time and couldn’t even speak English, so René knew that they were facing a long and challenging journey. Still, the two were committed right from the start which proved to be quite prophetic as they actually lived together until the end of René’s life.
Céline’s First Musical Breakthrough Was Also the Catalyst For Her Marriage
Céline definitely had a tough childhood. She lived in a very poor home with many financial difficulties and was often mocked by her fellow classmates and called “vampire” for having a skinny and bony facial structure. Her family was always oriented towards music, which was definitely a great boost to her initial attempts at getting into the music industry. Her mother and brother, Jacques, even wrote and composed a song that Céline would later perform. This was about the time that she wanted to start getting into music professionally, but had no real prospects to start with.
Céline’s mother, Thérèse Tanguay Dion, recognized her immense musical talents and took a lot of effort to help introduce her to as many potential producers and managers in the hopes that someone will pick her up and get her running. The young singer was clearly a talented vocalist from a very young age, which made it hard for prospects to ignore her talents. She was eventually discovered by a successful music producer and talent manager who offered her a chance to prove herself, which she gladly accepted with the help of her mother. This producer, who ended up becoming her manager, was none other than René Angélil, the man who would later marry Céline and spend the rest of his life with her.
Céline’s Mother Was Her Biggest Promoter and Supporter
Céline’s mother, Thérèse Tanguay Dion, was the first person to truly see her amazing vocal abilities and the potential she had to become one of the greatest singers of the generations. She knew immediately after hearing her daughter sing that the combination of her incredible looks, sweet personality and excellent voicework would end up setting the ground for an incredible singing career. She never pressured Céline into studying or getting a job, since it was clear as day that her daughter was going to become a tremendously successful singer.
Thérèse sent a demo of Céline's voice to René Angélil, who showed an interest in the young girl, and added a note saying: “This is a 12-year-old with a fantastic voice. Please listen to her. We want her to be like Ginette Reno.” Unfortunately, this did not catch the talent manager’s attention as any fan of American Idol can already imagine just how many demos a successful music producer receives from delusional parents who think their kids are going to be the next big thing when they’re actually just terrible singers. One of Céline’s brothers saw that things weren’t progressing with René, so he gave the manager a call and convinced him to listen to the demo, and once he did, she was immediately scheduled for an audition with him.
Céline Learned How to Speak English Before Taking Over the World
One of the smartest things that Céline Dion ever did in her career was to take the time and learn how to speak proper English, as-well-as sing in the language without sounding like a foreigner. This was very important, since the United States is one of the biggest and most influential countries in the world, with English being the leading language for entertainment. Many European singers who have top-notch singing abilities and charisma but never manage to get to worldwide fame during their career.
When Céline came back as a global pop star, fans were delighted to find a woman who was much more confident, intelligent, and proficient in English. This comeback was marked by the release of her album Incognito, which wound up selling more than 500,000 copies at the time. This was the defining moment in her career that got her signed with CBS, her biggest record label at the time.
An Unexpected Romance
Céline Dion and René Angélil first met under strictly professional circumstances. She was an up and coming singer and he was a talent manager who believed he could take her to the top. Right from the start, it was clear that the two had a strong bond. It’s not every day that a young teenage singer can make a grown man cry, especially in an audition. The two originally met when Céline was just 12 years old. By that point, René had already been married twice and had three children. On his second marriage, he was actually married to a Canadian pop star named Anne René.
Céline revealed that when she was just 17 or 18 years old, her feelings towards her manager began to change, and she started seeing him in a more romantic way. By that point, René had already seen something special in the young singer. Not every manager would take a risk as big as mortgaging their own house just to help a singer they’re managing debut their singing career. It was later revealed that while the two began their professional relationship in the early ‘80s, their romantic relationship began in April 30, 1988. The reason they know the exact date is because their first romantic experience happened the very same night that Céline won the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest that took place in Dublin, Ireland. She was only 19 years old at the time.
She Decided to Take Some Time For Herself
One of the riskiest moves that Céline Dion did was deciding to take 18 months to get back readjust to the frenzy of fame and fortune. So many of today’s singers find themselves getting propelled into fame and celebrity without having gone through the experience of growing up and becoming mature individuals. They spend their youth hiding from paparazzi and being written about in tabloids, all in the efforts of appeasing a large group of fans and critics.
You can usually see the results of this kind of childhood, as entertainers and celebrities who never make the transition into adulthood often find themselves burning out or worse, falling to the unhealthy and harmful addictions. It proved to be one of the best decisions of her career, as can clearly be seen by her amazing longevity as a singer and the fact that she never became “corrupted” by the media and exposure.
Her First Venture Into the United States
When Céline Dion released her debut English album, Unison, back in 1990, she quickly rose to prominence in the United States and became a popular figure there. Many fans from all across America were listening to her songs, and the demand for her live tour across America began to reach peak levels. Unison was a mix of dance songs and ballads in the theme of '80s soft rock music. It was a number one bestseller in Quebec and eventually reached Platinum in the united states. A year after the album's release, it even won a Juno Award for Album of the Year and Dion won a Juno Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
The most popular song from Unison was by far “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” which reached the top 10 charts across the continent in the United States. These tours would eventually prove to be her most commercially successful singing endeavors and mark her as one of the world’s best and most sought-after live performers. A surprise was waiting for a young singer though, as she was suddenly hit by an unexpected loss of her voice just a few weeks before the tour was about to begin.
She Lost Her Voice Just Before the US Tour
Mere months before her United States tour, Céline was doing a show celebrating her Incognito album when she suddenly injured her voice. She went to see an otorhinolaryngologist named William Gold who explained to her that she was suffering from laryngitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the voice box. This was on top of her general fatigue from not being used to performing so much. Céline’s schedule was packed with shows but the young singer still didn't know how to train and control her voice to prevent injuries.
Celine's doctor gave her two options: either have immediate vocal cord surgery to let her keep using her voice, or take a three-week break from singing and let her inflammation subside. Dion decided to take a break and began to take vocal training with William Riley. The vocal training was a success and the singer found herself back at peak condition, now armed with the knowledge of how to properly use her voice in a way that doesn't cause strain and inflammation. Up next, things get romantically charged between Céline Dion and her manager, René Angélil. How did the controversial romance begin and where did it all lead to?
Controversy Over the Age Gap
Both René Angélil and Céline Dion knew that the public would not be immediately understanding of their romantic relationship. It was clear to them that the twenty-six year age gap was not a small deal, especially considering that the singer wasn’t even twenty years old yet. Show business is a very lucrative industry and tends to attract predatory type men who end up taking advantage of young women who want to make it big, sometimes even underage girls. The couple knew that it might appear as-if they began dating before it was legal to do so, as they originally started working together when Céline was just 12. They both decided that it would be best to just come out publicly instead of hiding it, especially since they had nothing to be ashamed of.
This was the beginning of a beautiful and blossoming relationship that would end up lasting until the last day of René’s life. Céline said in her autobiography, My Story, My Dream, that she was already in love with the manager from a very young age. He was also romantically attracted to her, but refused to do anything sexual before she was already a woman. Her mother was initially worried about the relationship, but the singer told her "I'm not a minor. This is a free country. No one has the right to prevent me from loving whoever I want to." She eventually revealed her relationship with René in a tearful 1992 interview with journalist Lise Payette.
A Beautiful Wedding Ceremony
Celine Dion and René Angélil weren't just attracted to each other, they were deeply in love. The two decided to get married on December 17, 1994, after coming out as a couple back in 1992. They quickly went from a secret couple that only five other people, including Céline's mother, knew about, to having one of the most televised and publicly discussed relationships in the entire entertainment industry.
Their marriage ceremony was conducted at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica and was broadcasted on live national TV. The wedding was highly luxurious and featured many celebrities, as-well-as friends and family. The two went through the entire religious process, including holding the candles while wearing crowns. They were still facing some public criticism even during the wedding ceremony, but public opinion eventually turned around when everyone saw that the two were truly in love with each other.
Céline Dion’s Royal Dress
Céline Dion's wedding dress was hand made by Mirella and Steve Gentile and reportedly took more than 1,000 hours to make. This wedding dress is considered by many to be one of the best looking wedding dresses of all time. It had a twenty-foot train and was decorated with a seven-pound tiara made of over 2,000 Austrian crystals.
It's reported that the dress cost anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 to make. Many people have criticized the wedding dress as being too extravagant, especially when considering the singer's more modest personality and style of singing.
She Was a Natural Business Leader and Entrepenéur
Outside of her extremely successful business career, Céline Dion had one of the most successful business careers of any singer in the world, second only to titans like Jay Z and Dr. Dre. She had various business dealings throughout her career, including owning an artist management company, a restaurant food chain named Nickels, a golf club called the Le Mirage, a restaurant named Schwartz' in Quebec, and much more. She even opened a popular nightclub called Pure in association with Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, and the legendary NBA player Shaquille O'Neal.
Her line of perfumes, simply called Céline Dion Perfume, grossed over $850 million to date. As you can clearly see by these examples, she was not a woman to take lightly, as her business acumen helped her secure a net worth of over $700 million by the age of 50. Although many of her fans know her as the charismatic and passionate singer that she is, there's a seriously cool side to her that is probably only seen behind closed doors by people in suits and briefcases. Can we just say that Céline pulls off an incredibly alluring look when she’s in a suit?
She Sued The National Enquirer For Over $20,000,000
Céline’s life has always been extremely busy and full of adventures, both good and bad. During the ‘90s the singer was at the absolute peak of her career. She released a total of 13 albums, which is an incredible amount in contrast to any other singer, while also touring the country and filling stadiums consistently. Her life received a major sudden blow when she found out that her husband, René Angélil, a music producer and talent manager, was diagnosed with throat cancer. This was one of many health challenges that he faced during his life, including a heart attack just a few years prior to his cancer diagnosis. This sudden challenge prompted the popular singer to take a step back from her career and help her husband get better. While she was on a hiatus, tabloids and magazines kept inquiring and making rumors about the singer due to her being at the height of her popularity at the time.
Céline’s sudden departure left a hole and some disingenuous media companies were perfectly willing to capitalize on it. In the year 2000, Céline found out that the National Enquirer published a fake story about herself and René who had just recovered from throat cancer. The magazine intentionally misquoted her and printed a headline saying "Céline — 'I'm Pregnant With Twins!'". This prompted her to sue the magazine for more than $20 million in damages. The editors of the magazine printed a full apology and complete retraction of the story, as-well-as donating money to the American Cancer Society in honor of her husband's illness. She later dropped the lawsuit.
Céline Received Numerous Awards and Recognitions Throughout Her Career
One of the most amazing things about Céline Dion was that her success stretched way beyond just singing. She has received numerous awards for her performance and albums, from winning the Eurovision Song Contest to earning several Grammy Awards. Her impressive list of awards that were not related to singing included receiving two of the highest honors that a Canadian can get, the first being an Officer of the Order of Canada for Outstanding Contribution to the World of Contemporary Music" and the second being "Officer of the National Order of Quebec". She said multiple times that these were some of the highlights of her personal and professional life.
This young girl who came from a poor family of 14 children, also managed to get herself a spot in the Hollywood and Canadian walks of fame, which you can visit next time you’re in either place. Another one of her proudest achievements was an honorary doctorate from Laval University. This was her way of proving to herself that she’s not just a fantastic singer and a great businessman, but also an educated and intelligent woman that she always wanted to be regarded as. All of this happened despite her never even graduating from high-school, which just goes to show you that anything is possible, but more on that later…
René’s Biggest Gamble Was on Céline Dion
René was an avid poker player and even played in the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. He had spent a lot of his life in various forms of gambling, to the point of allegedly gambling up to $1 million on a weekly basis at Caesars Palace and the Bellagio. These events happened later in the talent manager's life, although he had the mindset of a risk taker a long time before that. When René saw Céline perform during her audition, he decided to take the ultimate gamble with her and risk all of his financial assets to help fund her journey to stardom.
In 1981, René made the decision to mortgage his house so that he could provide enough funding for Dion’s first record, La Voix Du Bon Dieu. This risk could have completely wiped him out if it had failed for any reason, but it turns out that it was the best financial move of his entire career. The song became a number one hit in Canada and propelled the singer to national fame. This was the first step of many that would turn her into one of the most popular and successful female singers of all time. Although René was always a gambler in casinos and business, there’s no doubt that his biggest gamble (and biggest reward) was Céline Dion.
The Pope Was One of Céline Dion’s Biggest Fans
One of the first defining moments of Céline Dion's career was when she found out that Pope John II was a fan of hers and wanted to listen to her perform. This recognition helped turn the singer from a popular performer into something a lot more luxurious and renowned. In 1984, Pope John II visited Quebec and Céline got a chance to perform the French National Anthem for him in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, one of the country's most beloved landmarks.
Over 65,000 people attended the concert and sang along with the young singer. For Céline Dion, this was also a record-shattering moment because it was the largest audience she had ever sung for by far. To this day, Céline considers her performance for Pope John II to be one of the most exciting and fond memories of her career.
Pricey Homes And Multiple Investments
Céline Dion's career turned out to be the most profitable investment that René had ever made. The two made hundreds of millions of dollars over the singer's multiple-decade career. They didn't exactly have to work hard to save money, as they were quite wealthy even by the time they got married. Céline is estimated to be worth about $700 million with some estimating the figure might even be higher. With over 200 million record sales worldwide and super successful performing career, it's no wonder that she's worth almost a billion dollars.
This large amount of money allowed her and husband René to live just about anywhere they wanted. The two decided to live in Florida and bought a home in Jupiter for about $72 million which included three pools, a tennis court, a golf course, and a water park. This extravagant piece of real estate spreads across 5.7 acres and sits right in front of the ocean. It reportedly cost $350,000 annually just in taxes and included 13 bedrooms and 14 full bathrooms. They also own many other pieces of real estate, but this was their favorite and most expensive one to date.
Huge Career Breakthroughs
Céline Dion went from a successful singer to a cultural phenomenon when she released the classic ballad "My Heart Will Go On". The song was written and composed by James Horner and Will Jennings, and ended up becoming the theme song for the iconic 1997 blockbuster Titanic, which featured Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The song became her signature song and got her two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and the Record of the Year.
Since then, almost everything Céline Dion has done worked out amazingly well, as many of her next albums and singles reached number one in the United States charts. She also had some of the most successful live tours compared to any singer, and all these made for one amazingly successful singing career. Unfortunately, despite being at the top of her career, her husband René was diagnosed with cancer, a fact which she discovered between one of her performance tours. Céline did not let this deter her from performing and doing what she loves, although she did spend a lot more time with her husband until his eventual passing on January 14, 2016, two days before reaching the age of 74.
She Named Her Children After Two People She Admires
Dion and René had relatively low chances of being able to conceive children due to her being 30 at the time and her husband, René being 58 years old. The couple decided to use in-vitro fertilization, a process where an egg is fertilized outside of the body before being inserted back into the womb in. Their first son, who was born in 2001, was called René-Charles Angélil after his father's name.
Her next pregnancy was in 2010 when she was 40 after a few attempts of using in-vitro fertilization. Dion was pregnant with twins and gave birth to the two at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida via cesarean section. The twins were named Eddy, after her favorite French songwriter, Eddy Marnay, who had a big part in launching her career, and Nelson, who was named after former South African President and well-known revolutionary, Nelson Mandela. The mother appeared with her newborn twin sons in the December 9, 2010 cover of the Canadian 'Hello!' Magazine. Their father René passed away on January 14, 2016, due to throat cancer, just six years after the twins were born.
Using Her Wealth to Help Relieve Global Catastrophes
Céline Dion was always known as a charitable and loving person, and her true colors showed when she decided to intervene after various global catastrophes and help out citizens. Céline Dion dedicated a special Mother's Day performance of her famous and highly successful Las Vegas show titled "A New Day..." and made sure to send all the proceeds to help victims of the Asian Tsunami in late 2014. "Like everyone else in the world, I've been devastated by the loss and suffering of so many in South Asia," said Céline. "As a mother, I cannot imagine the pain that they are experiencing. We can all see that it's going to take a long time for those people to rebuild their lives, and they will need our help for years to come."
She later donated another $1 million to the American Red Cross for the purpose of helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which hit Florida and Louisiana, causing massive damage and more than 1,200 deaths. She later went on to criticize the United States government for what she perceived as a lack of interest on its part to save citizens while sending troops in the thousands during the Iraq War.
Céline’s Father Was a Huge Part of Her Life
While Céline Dion's mother, Thérèse Dion, was known by many and even launched her media career using the attention she received from helping her daughter, Céline's father, Adhémar-Charles Dion, wasn't nearly as known. Adhemar Dion died at 80 years old after being sick for a long time. Dion and her family were present in the funeral as many fans shouted words of support at her and brought hundreds of flower bouquets. Her father helped provide for the family of 14 children when they were still in a bad financial situation.
Adhémar Dion worked a variety of jobs from forestry to general labor. Some say that he was one of the singer's greatest fans, as described by Michel Jasmin, a popular TV host in Quebec: "He was transformed when Céline stepped on the stage," Jasmin said. "He went from her father to a fan. It was incredible to watch. I saw it time and again." Céline also spoke highly of her father often. She said in an interview on the day of his passing: “My dad was and is still my number one fan since I was a very little girl. I know that my dad would want me to be here tonight on stage with everyone I love, doing what we love.” Her first son’s middle name is the same as her father’s.
She Helped Prepare Her Kids For Their Father’s Eventual Death
When Céline and René became lovers and decided to get married, they already knew that the age gap would likely result in René passing years before his loving wife. She was just 20 when they got married, while he was 47 at the time. Their first child came when he was 57, and the twins arrived when he was already 67 years old with a history of physical illnesses. It's no surprise that René passed away just 6 years later, but their older son and twins will always remember their loving father.
After René passed away from throat cancer in 2016, Céline explained how she prepared her children for their father's eventual early death: “I’m proud of the way I prepared my boys for their dad’s death. In life, you never know what’s going to happen, so you should never wait for tomorrow to do what can be done today, to say I love you, or send a thank-you note…The future is now.” Nowadays the twins are nine years old, with her oldest son pushing for his twentieth birthday. Céline herself is currently 51 years old and very healthy, so it looks like she’s going to be spending many more years of her life with her beloved family, and perhaps even get to see a few grandkids along the way.
Her Son Already Has Many Admirers
It's no secret that Céline Dion has built herself a large mass of followers, fans and even admirers. Even today at over fifty years of age, the singer looks sharp and very alluring, and maintains much of her younger personality and beauty. It was only expected that she and René would end up having beautiful children, and their son, René Charles Angélil, grew up to be quite a handsome young man. Being the son of one of the best selling and most beloved female singers of all time does have its perks, especially when she has an amazing personality as in the case of Céline Dion.
When the then-15-year-old René-Charles presented his mother with an award at the Billboard Music Awards, many of the viewers instantly became admirers of the handsome boy. Many of these admirers didn't know that he was just 15 years old, let alone the son of Céline Dion herself. Fans jokingly said that they are waiting until he turns 18 so they can finally get their hands on him, which goes to show you just how well the genes have passed through the family. One fan joked on Twitter: “Shawn Mendes is 17, Céline Dion’s son only FIFTEEN. Thanks #BBMAs for making us all feel like fat old perverts.”
Her Mother Is Over 90 Years Old!
Céline Dion's mother, Thérèse Tanguay-Dion, was born in early 1927 and grew up to become the mother of 14 beautiful children. She started having kids in 1946 at the age of 19, and kept getting pregnant almost every year until her last daughter, which happens to be Céline Dion, was born in 1968. This could almost bear the impression of winning a lottery, with her last child being worth almost $800 million and all the fame that surrounded. She was born on the Gaspé Peninsula, in Saint-Bernard-des-Lacs, Quebec and lived in Charlemagne, Quebec for most of her life.
Thérèse Dion became her daughter's biggest supporter and helped almost every stage of the young singer's career. This proximity to the fame and media helped her launch her own career as a media personality, from a line of food products to becoming the host of a cooking show for TVA. She is currently 92 years old. On her 90th birthday, Céline posted a picture of the event and posted in both English and French: “What a privilege for all of us to still have you around. Happy 90th birthday mom! We love you.”
Céline Gives Audiences Some of the Best Interviews
Giving a great interview on a late-night talk show or during a red carpet event is never an easy task. The celebrity and interviewer have many simultaneous responsibilities which include having an honest an engaging chat, asking important questions, keeping it entertaining, and somehow managing to promote the star’s new project all while doing these. Many celebrities also have a reputation for being really bad in interviews, as fans are often shocked and horrified to find that the singers and actors they admire are just really boring or stuck up people. On the other hand, we have Céline Dion, who is an entirely different breed of interviewee.
She is everything that a host or a reporter could want in such a guest — funny, witty, entertaining, honest, relatable and more. The Canadian singer always manages to deliver, which is one of the reasons that even after age fifty and well beyond the supposed “peak” of her career, she still gets interviewed and talked about all the time by late-night hosts, tabloids and news media. One example of how awesome she appeared was during a conversation with Ellen DeGeneres on her show. Ellen complimented Céline on the jewelry she was wearing, which prompted the singer to start chanting and dancing to the popular Donna Summer song, “She worked hard for the money.” If all celebrities were this witty and fun in real life, everyone would be watching talk shows.
The Most Tragic Week in Singer’s Life
Céline Dion was very blessed in her life to have had the various fortunes both financial and personal that she had accumulated throughout her life. Despite her various blessings, there was also a lot of tragedy and hardships throughout her life. However, nothing compares to the heartbreaking week she had to face back in 2016, when both her longtime husband and first love, René, as-well-as one of her brothers, Daniel, both passed away.
On January 14, 2016, René died of throat cancer just two days before his birthday. He was buried and eulogized in a beautiful ceremony at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal with hundreds of fans supporting the singer and bringing flower bouquets. Just two days after René’s death, on the anticipated day of his birthday, which would have been a good day to remember him in a positive way and put the past behind, her brother Daniel also died of cancer. This was a brutal week for the actress, who had to mourn two precious people while also supporting her children and her family at the same time. Céline’s character really shined through in these moments, as she managed to create a positive interpretation of these tragic events. She said in an interview that “René escorted my brother. It was perfect.”
None of Her Siblings Made it Big
Since Céline Dion came from a large family of 14 siblings that was very interested in music, you’d expect that at least some of her family members had also achieved a certain level of success in music. Unfortunately for them, Céline was the only one who has actually managed to become famous or even create some buzz for herself. Most of her family members lived largely “ordinary” lives without any large-scale influence.
The only one that ever came close to a tiny bit of success and influence in the entertainment and music industries was her big sister and godmother, Claudette, who also tried to start her own musical career. Since 1984, Claudette has released various albums including Hymns to Love, Good evening Edith, Claudette Dion and 2005's The Holiday Party. She received a small modicum of success compared to her sister, which is quite impressive in its own sake but not anywhere close to what Céline has done.
Making Money Off Her Fashion Sense
Throughout her musical career, Céline Dion took time to also design various articles of clothing and accessories for her fashion line. She has over 200 items to date including shirts, pants, bags, dresses and more. The singer recently launched a new children's clothing line called Nununu, a Tel-Aviv based children's clothing brand that is considered gender-neutral, and releases kids from traditional boy/girl stereotypes.
Some call this brand the "Celinununu". Its name comes from a Hebrew phrase often spoken by parents, "Nununu", which is a scolding meaning "bad boy" or "bad girl", with just one single repeating syllable (usually while also waving one's index finger in the air).
Her First Appearance as an Actress
Céline has also appeared in various TV shows over the years, not just in late-night interviews. One of the more discussed appearances she has had as an actress was in the classic ABC soap opera "All My Children" alongside soap opera diva Erica Kane.
The director simply asked her to be herself and not to try too hard, as her star power easily carried the role. She played herself in the show and seemed to be having a great time doing it. Her part ended with Céline singing her new song "Taking Chances". When interviewed about her acting role, she said: “I hope this new song in some small way will touch the hearts of all of us."
René's Medical Problems
When Céline Dion decided to get married to René Angélil, her manager, when she was just 26 and he was 52, she knew that various medical complications could be hiding in the near future due to their age difference. Just three years before the two got married, René suffered a heart attack at age 49. He was later diagnosed with throat cancer but ended up making a full recovery. Ten years later, he suffered a heart-related problem and had to get surgical intervention that included dealing with artery blockage, although the procedure was scheduled in advance and not an emergency one. He later had surgery in late 2013 for recurring throat cancer and stepped down from his role as Céline's manager just a few months later to focus on his health.
By late 2015, it was reported by Dion that her husband's cancer was progressing and that he would die in the coming months. Angélil passed away in January 14, 2016, just four months after the announcement. His burial and funeral service became a national event and were highly televised. It's been reported that Canadian flags flew half mast on all of the nation's government building to respect his passing. He also received a late Grammy Award during their annual "In Memoriam" tribute event.
René Convinced Céline to Record “My Heart Will Go On”
"My Heart Will Go On" is undoubtedly Céline Dion's most highly acclaimed and popular song. It appeared in James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic and became one of the most recognized non-pop songs in the world. It has received numerous awards including Best Original Song, Record of the Year and many more. When Titanic was in production, James Cameron, the film's director, wanted to include a theme song to promote the movie. When Céline Dion first heard the song, she didn't want to record it and was thinking about getting out of the deal.
Her husband and manager, René, eventually convinced her to sing the demo version. Céline allegedly did the entire thing in just one take, with the song being recorded perfectly on the first take. Thanks to René, the film became more than just a great movie and turned into an iconic film with a cult following. It also turned Céline Dion from a very popular and successful singer into one of the world's most recognized and beloved performers. Audiences still clamor to hear the singers perform it during her live shows, and can't wait for the chance to light up their phones while waving them and singing along.
Her Net Worth Is Estimated at Over $700 Million
By 2019, Céline Dion has managed to build herself a net worth of over $700 million, with some suggesting it might even be closer to $800 million. She is officially one of the richest singers in the entire world, which is quite an amazing accomplishment considering that she was born into a poor family with fourteen children. She sold over 200 million records to date, did tens of thousands of live shows (and still continues to this day), and has created various business dealings over the years. She quickly went from being one of Canada's most popular singers to becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
Nowadays she spends her time doing about two shows every week, promoting various business ventures and charities, and spending time with her loving family and children. When René died, Céline also became the sole owner and president of her management and production companies, including CDA Productions and Les Productions Feeling. Her wealth enabled her to provide charity to many important causes, including relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and more. She also invests much of her wealth into real-estate, and reportedly owns over $100 million in houses and apartments.
She Was Completely Devastated By 9/11
Céline Dion was on a hiatus when the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center which killed over 3,000 people occurred. This event shocked the singer to her core and motivated her to get back into the spotlight once again and fight to rebuild America’s hopes and dreams after this disastrous occurrence. Many Americans were shocked to the point of losing their grip on life, as this kind of event was not expected to ever happen on American soil. She decided to pay tribute to those who bravely died during 9/11 as-well-as inspire those who were mourning or hurt. She performed the amazing song, “God Bless America” at the end of her concert “America: A Tribute to Heroes”.
This performance moved tens of thousands of people and helped Céline do her part in reuniting and emboldening the country back to its greatness. Chuck Taylor, a music journalist and former senior editor at Billboard magazine wrote: “The performance…brings to mind what has made her one of the celebrated vocalists of our time: the ability to render emotion that shakes the soul,” Chuck added that Céline’s performance was “Affecting, meaningful, and filled with grace.
She Got Both an American and a Canadian Star
Arguably the main reason that Céline Dion is considered one of the most amazing singers of all time, doesn’t have anything to do with her singing or performances. It’s actually the fact that she can unite and inspire people across borders and cultures. The singer has always been a role model for many people and has been spreading a message of love and positivity since she was a young girl. There’s something about her singing and personality that can do good to just about anyone, which is why she’s a real favorite all across the world.
Céline has also been awarded across many borders, for example, she’s one of the only celebrities to have their star printed in both the United State’s Hollywood Walk of Fame, as-well as the Canadian Walk of Fame that resides in Toronto, Canada. This made her very proud, as she took many years to learn the English language so that she could affect people all across the world. Most people don’t know that Céline Dion is not only fluent in French and English, but can also sing in Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. She’s a true model for diversity and global awaenéss of love.
She’s Distantly Related to Many of the World’s Biggest Celebrities
While some would argue that success is based on a person’s choices and behavior, others tend to have a more negative view of life that ascribes much of a person’s success to their environment or even genetics. Although much disagreement has been made between these two potential possibilities, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. One great piece of evidence that success and stardom might have a genetic basis is the fact that Céline Dion is related to some of the most successful celebrities in the world through a common ancestor.
Apparently Céline, Shania Twain, Madonna, Beyonce, Jack Kerouac, and Alanis Morissette are all distantly related to a man who fled France in 1634 and created a family on the other side of the Atlantic. This man was known as Zacharie Cloutier, and he was a French-Canadian carpenter who basically became the common ancestor of many of these celebrities. There are even more examples including Jim Carrey, Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, and the list just goes on and on. It’s obvious that there are vast differences in personality, interests, and temperaments between these people, and that there are many more descendants of Cloutier that have not achieved any substantial level of success, with these distant children being clearly in the minority. Still, it’s an interesting piece of information that you may probably appreciate knowing.
She’s Looking For Worldwide Appeal
One of the most interesting aspects of Céline Dion is her desire to reach the largest audiences as possible and affect as many people as she can. This is in contrast to many artists who are content with having local appeal, such as her sister, Claudette Dion, who sang only in her native language of French. This makes Céline quite unique, in that she is always looking for the largest audiences in hopes of helping promote hope and inspire people to be their best selves.
While most of her songs were sung in French and then English, she also performs in many other languages, including Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. If there’s someone who has the sincerity and love to pull off such multi-cultural appeal, it would definitely be Céline Dion and her border-crossing messages. Her various charitable activities also crossed many borders, as she helped people across many countries from the United States to Canada and even the UK.
Many Financial Accomplishments
Céline Dion is one of the highest-grossing singers in the world and made a fortune from record sales and live performances. This talent of creating massive demand for her singing and monetizing it helped Céline create a net worth of over $700 million. The iconic boxer Mike Tyson had a similar net worth at one point in his career, but he used it to buy things like an abandoned mansion in Ohio, many ultra-expensive (depreciating) vehicles and a $2.2 million dollars 24-karat gold bath he allegedly bought for his ex-wife. Celine certainly learned from him.
Other smart financial decisions that the singer has made include launching her own successful clothing brand, owning various pieces of real-estate which she sold for a profit, owning multiple chains of restaurants and more. Among those are the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the T. J. Martell Foundation, and Princess Diana's Memorial Fund. Even now she continues to make a lot of money from royalties and continues to perform at least twice a week despite not having to work for money since she was in her late twenties.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Was One of Her International Breakthroughs
Most of us know Céline Dion from her performance of the legendary theme song from James Cameron’s historical drama film Titanic called “My Heart Will Go On”. In addition to this amazing piece of art, the singer also recorded the title track for Disney’s hit animated film, “Beauty and the Beast”. For some reason Céline Dion seems to have an aversion to recording theme songs for films, as she almost found herself bailing out on her iconic Titanic performance as-well.
Before she recorded the theme to the popular Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet drama, her worldwide claim to fame began with the duet she recorded with Peabo Bryson for Beauty and the Beast. This song became Céline Dion's first top-ten hit in the United Kingdom and second top-ten hit in the United States. Another major milestone for her was receiving an Academy Award for Best Song and her first-ever Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The song was also her lead single from her 1992 album titled "Céline Dion", which was certified diamond in Canada and double diamond in the United States. A few years ago, she almost gave up on recording the theme song to the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, claiming it reminded her of René, but managed to pull through and do it.
Céline Dion Loves Golf
Céline Dion currently owns the Le Mirage Golf Club in Terrebonne, Canada. The couple used to claim that “a visit to the Mirage is an adventure in itself.” In-addition, the singer happens to be a huge fan of the game herself and often plays when she has the free time to do so. Céline Dion has spent many moments of her career watching professional golf games with her late husband René Angélil. When asked about Céline's involvement in the game of golf, the Golf For Women magazine's Editor-in-Chief Susan Reed commented: “Céline Dion is an avid golfer and plays all the time. She lives on a golf course in Vegas, belongs to one in Florida and even owns a golf course in Canada."
The popular singer is known to have a golf handicap measure of 17, which means that she is considered a relatively high-level golfer. It was reported that in 1997, the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali visited Céline Dion's golf course. This meeting was a huge moment for her, as she shared a picture of her and René with Ali on Facebook.
She Won Many Awards Throughout Her Career
Céline Dion has won an exhausting list of awards and honors throughout her singing career for her performances, albums, and songs. She had many albums reach platinum and even double platinum status while reaching number-one on the charts in many countries numerous times. She has received twelve World Music Awards, five Grammy Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, six American Music Awards, twenty Juno Awards, forty-five Félix Awards, and many other awards. In total, Céline Dion won 252 awards and honors throughout her life, with a total of 509 nominations. Even today in her fifties, she continues to win various trophies and awards, mostly for her singing.
In 2017 her album "Encore un soir" received a Canadian Best Selling Album of the Year award. Just three years before that she received an Artist of the Year award in the Canadian CBC Music Awards. This doesn't stop her from also being highly recognized in the United States and many other countries. For example, in 2016 she won the Icon Award in the Billboard Music Awards, and in 2012 she won the Entertainment Category — In Recognition of Her Long-Standing Musical Career award in the German BAMBI Awards event.
She Recorded a Song That Was Originally Meant to be a Rock Song
The power ballad song "It’s All Coming Back To Me Now" was written in 1989 by legendary American composer Jim Steinman with the goal of being "the most passionate, romantic song" he could make. It was originally meant to be recorded by hard rock singer, Michael Lee Aday, also known as Meat Loaf, who wanted to use it for his upcoming album "Bat Out of Hell II". But after much consideration, it was decided that the song should be recorded by a female singer and he offered it to Céline for her album "Falling into You". This made Meat Loaf very mad and he ended up getting a court order that prevented him from recording it.
The song was extremely successful and eventually reached number-two in the United States Billboard Hot 100 and number-three in the UK's Singles Chart. Meat Loaf eventually got his chance to record the song almost a decade later, and it reached number-one in Norway and number-two in Scotland's charts. Dion's version of "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" has since appeared in various media, including a 2018 TV commercial for the American restaurant chain, Applebee's.
She Comforts Herself Through Her Children
It’s a devastating tragedy when someone loses their partner after so many decades together with them. Céline Dion went through that experience when her husband of twenty-two years and passed away from throat cancer just two days before his birthday. The loss was amplified by another death in the family, when her older brother, Daniel Dion, also died from cancer just two days later on the birthday of her late husband. The singer still processes these deaths almost four years later and has her family to help. Céline’s three children, her older son and two twin boys help her cope with the loss of her husband.
She was asked about René in a recent interview and said, “I miss him a lot for my partner, for the man I was embracing, kissing, making love with. I organize myself to not feel lonely" Dion said that she since began sleeping beside her twins in her large bed, this way they all feel much closer. Although the romantic relationship between Céline and her then-manager René was originally shunned due to their large age gap and the singer being only twenty, it’s widely regarded today as an amazing and inspiring love story between two amazing souls.
She Has One of the Most Versatile Voices
When it comes to vocal range and singing abilities, Céline Dion stands at the top of the list with her impressive talents. She can sing just about anything from melodic pop to high pitched opera. Her voice has a three-octave range, from B2 to E♭6. She is often praised by fans and music critics for having a wide array of technical skills, which enable her to even sing full force power ballads. Like Jeff Miers from The Buffalo News said about her singing: "Her singing voice is absolutely extra-human. She hits notes in full voice, with a controlled vibrato and an incredible conception of pitch, like she's shucking an ear of corn."
Céline Dion is often compared to singers Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston in her singing style, as-well-as her idol Barbra Streisand for her voice. She also used her flexible voice to cover many songs with varying genres and required skills, and she did them all with perfect performances. She often likes to create unique covers for popular songs that capture her style of singing and love for music. Some examples of covers by the popular singles include hits like Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night,” Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” and John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.” She has also done many duets and collaborations with some of the world’s most legendary singers such as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Luciano Pavarotti and Aretha Franklin.
She Won By A Single Point
One of the single most defining moment of Céline Dion’s career came during 1988’s challenging Eurovision Song Contest, in which she managed to beat many other contestants and come out in the first place. Many singers went from unknown talented individuals to record-breaking stars by winning reality shows and Eurovision contests. These are considered the pinnacle of instant fame for musicians and a shortcut to reaching stardom. Singers such as Susan Boyle, who was completely unknown before appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, reached levels of fame that normally take artists decades and a lot of luck to reach. As a result of her newfound fame, her debut album ended up becoming one of the fastest-selling albums in the UK.
When Céline Dion entered the Eurovision Song Contest, she was already an established singer, unlike Susan Boyle. More than 600 million people watched Dion dazzle judges and fans into an unprecedented first place victory. This victory not only made her a household name, it also gave her the legitimacy and confirmation she wanted of being a genuine singing star. The most amazing thing was that Céline ended up beating the UK’s singer by just one point, making it the closest win in the contest’s history. It’s no wonder she won by a hair, judging by the fabulous hairstyle she was flaunting at the time.
She Had Problems Conceiving
Céline and René started dating when she was just twenty and he was forty-seven. This didn’t prove to be a problem in the children-rearing aspect, as René was perfectly able to make Céline pregnant even at age fifty. The singer and her manager enjoyed their relationship before settling down when she was twenty-seven and he was fifty-four. Three years later, the couple decided to have children. This had become more problematic at that point.
René’s relatively poor health situation began to become a serious problem for the couple, as they tried for many years to become pregnant but failed to do so. Eventually, they settled for In Vitro fertilization, where Céline’s eggs were taken and inseminated externally until conception. This procedure ended up working and on January 25, 2001, the couple gave birth to their first son, René-Charles Dion Angélil in a Florida hospital.
Her Mother Didn’t Accept Her Daughter’s Relationship at First
Céline found herself falling in love with her manager René right from the beginning. She recalls in her autobiography how she used to have dreams about him and hide a picture of him under the pillow when she slept at night. It was a big challenge because her mother actually slept in the same bed too, and Céline was scared to death that she might find it. Eventually, the singer decided it was time to come clean with her family about the relationship. When Céline was well passed her 18th birthday, she finally confessed to her mother about the romantic relationship with her manager, René.
Her mother, who came from a very traditional background, did not take it well at the beginning. “It was very difficult for her,” Dion said. “When I told her I had some really strong feelings for René, she tried everything to 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’.” There’s a strong chance the Céline’s mother felt a certain amount of responsibility for the relationship, maybe even some guilt. This makes sense because she was actually the one who got the two acquainted in the first place.
She Almost Died From a Truck Accident
Celine has seen her fair share of amazing opportunities and events unfolding, as-well-as some very negative situations. Arguably her worst week ever was the one where both her husband and one of her brother’s passed away, especially because the latter happened to pass away during the birthday of her late husband. There was another week of her life that was also filled with sadness and fear, but in this case, those negative emotions were felt by her family because she was unconscious.
Apparently, when Céline Dion was just five years old, she almost died from being hit by a truck. It’s frightening to imagine how fragile she was as a young girl. When she was just five, a truck suddenly backed into her, causing her to fly to the floor and break various bones, even fractured her skull. She was knocked out and was in coma for a week. We can’t imagine how terribly her parents felt during those precious few days, both blaming themselves for the event, and fearing that their daughter would never wake up again. She eventually made a full recovery, which we should all be thankful for.
She’s Really Good at Keeping Secrets
Céline Dion was always a shy and reserved kid. She used to be called a “vampire” because of her thin body and long facial structure, which caused her to learn how to guard herself by staying quiet. This skill proved handy when she and her manager, René Angélil, began dating in secret. The singer and her manager managed to keep their relationship completely quiet from the public for more than five years, despite the singer and her manager appearing together often in musical events.
Only about five people knew about the relationship, including her mother and father, who were unsupportive at first but turned around over time. In 1992, Céline decided it was time to reveal the truth to the public, and revealed it all during an emotionally charged interview where she began crying. “I was afraid of what people would think,” René said two years later. “When you’re in love, you want to scream it to the world,” she said. After the public reveal, fan opinions were split between supporters and those who stood against the relationship. As the two aged and showed the world to be truly in love, criticism began to steadily decline and eventually disappeared entirely.
She Was Destined to Sing
There were many incidents in Céline Dion’s life that would make it look like she was born to be a singer. She was born into a family of musicians who lived and breathed music and was encouraged by her mother and father every single step of the way. Even her name, Céline, was based on a popular French song by Hugues Aufray called Céline. She first sang publicly at her brother’s wedding when she was just five years old. Needless to say, wedding guests absolutely loved her, not because she was family or young, but because the lady could sing like it was nobody’s business.
Nobody, however, including Céline, her mother, or René, could have predicted that this chance meeting, as-well-as the manager’s mortgage bet on Céline’s success, would lead to both a marriage and one of the most successful singing careers of all time. Not every person can build a net worth of almost a billion dollars from singing. It takes decades of hard work, massive appeal, and an incredible voice.
She Hated the Demo For “My Heart Will Go On”
if you were to ask someone if they know who Céline Dion is, they would probably say “Oh it’s that singer from Titanic, right?”. This was the extent of the popularity of this song. Multiple decades and many albums later, she is still remembered mostly for that one thing. But the really crazy thing is that she didn’t even want to sing it. Apparently, the studio for James Cameron’s Titanic gave the young singer the lyrics, and she absolutely hated the song and would not agree to record it.
René convinced her to record a demo. She reluctantly agreed and recorded the demo in one take — and this was the version of the song that was actually used in the film. “My Heart Will Go On” went on to become one of the most popular songs of the decade, even going as far as being awarded the legendary Record of the Year award. In spite of all that success, Céline recently told an interviewer just how much she hated the song at first: “…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”
Her Success in the United States Caused Backlash
When Céline Dion’s performance in Disney’s 1991 classic animated film Beauty and the Beast first came out, it became an instant success and won the singer her first-ever Grammy. It was later released in an album that became her best selling album to date. This string of successes was just the thing that the Canadian singer was looking for, as she wanted to make it big in the United States and not just in Canada. Unfortunately, many fans from Quebec, which is made of mostly French-speaking Canadians, had felt that Céline’s success was causing her to forget about her home.
Céline must have felt the plight of her original fans and decided to refuse the English Artist of the Year Award at the Felix Awards. This helped settle the winds a bit and keep things under check. Since then, the singer has made sure to pay homage to her French-Canadian heritage and performs often in her home country. She has also released many songs in French since then, and helped bridge a lot of the common gaps between citizens of the neighboring countries.
She Was a Huge Michael Jackson Fan
Scandals aside, when Céline Dion first started working with her manager, René Angélil, one of the first things she had told him was that her dream was becoming as successful as Michael Jackson. When Celine finally began making it big, she got signed with the same label that the legendary King of Pop was signed with.
Ultimately, Céline ended up becoming just as popular and successful, if not more. Unfortunately for Michael Jackson, his reputation, which was completely tarnished by various allegations about his behavior over the years. Hopefully, there aren’t any skeletons in Céline Dion’s closet and her legacy will should stand the test of time.
Celine’s Stepson is Older Than Her
Many interesting things happen when a couple with an age gap of nearly three decades decides to get married. One such coincidence is that Celine’s Stepson, Patrick Angélil, happens to be older than his own stepmother. By the time Celine was 16 years old, her manager had already been through two divorces and had fathered three children, one of them older than her.
The singer had to explain to her mother not just that she was dating a guy almost three decades her senior, but also that she would become the stepmother to his three children. Luckily for the two, their love was enough to help them overcome all the challenges and difficulties that awaited, as the two became one of the more interesting and inspirational love stories in recent decades.