Celine Dion on husband: I'm afraid of losing him
Céline Dion and René Angélil with their twins Eddy and Nelson. (RICHARD GAUTHIER/QMI Agency)
Superstar Celine Dion broke down during a recent TV interview as she discussed her husband’s ongoing health battle, recalling how her body “shut off” when she learned his throat cancer had returned in 2013, moments before she was due onstage.
The My Heart Will Go On hitmaker’s partner and longtime manager, Rene Angelil, was struck down by the illness 15 years after he last struggled with the disease - and he received a heartbreaking call from his doctor as his wife was preparing to perform on live TV.
Dion pressed on with the gig and admits the news of the diagnosis began to sink in as she sang.
In a candid interview with ABC News, which aired on Good Morning America on Wednesday, she wiped away tears as she recalled, “I went back in my dressing room and I saw him looking pretty devastated and in shock. I was like, ’What’s going on?’ He said... ’The doctor just called me and I have cancer again.’
“Honestly, my heart started to beat faster, but my body shut off. It was like, ’I’m gonna go put make-up on and I’m gonna go sing and I’m gonna forget how I feel right now.’ I went on, I sang the song, and then reality started to strike.”
Angelil underwent aggressive surgery to remove the tumor a month later in December, 2013, but the couple kept the health crisis news private for several months before announcing he was in recovery last year.
Dion continued with her Las Vegas concert residency during the tough time, but the stress of caring for her husband and their three kids eventually took its toll, prompting her to embark on an indefinite hiatus in August.
She says, “Sometimes (you) don’t feel what you need to feel, (you) just do it, because I love him, and it was very hard. I realized I couldn’t do both.”
She will return to the stage this summer after a year-long break and she anticipates the concert comeback will serve as a form of therapy.
She adds, “The fans, they know that I’m an open book, and I sing. That’s the only thing I know... I’m doing it for him, I’m doing it for my fans, I’m doing it for me. We’re living, so live. Let’s go.”
During the chat, Dion also revealed Angelil faces a long road to recovery as he cannot talk and she has to feed him through a tube every day.
She tells People magazine, “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 OK.”