It’s been five years since the singer lost her husband to throat cancer, but even today, she is struggling to cope with the loss.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 22, 2021. It has since been updated.
Celine Dion may have sung My Heart Will Go On but in real life, she had to watch her heart pass on when her husband and love of her life, René Angélil passed away in 2016, due to throat cancer. And even today, she and their children are doing their best to cope with the grief of his loss.
Mon cher René... tu es toujours avec moi... et tu le seras toujours.— Celine Dion (@celinedion) January 14, 2019
À ta douce mémoire... xx...
My dearest René....always with me.....always will be.
In loving memory... xx ... pic.twitter.com/i8glQIqIyM
Celine and René first met when the former was just 12 years old, in 1980, according to Cheat Sheet. Though there was nothing that happened at the time and she didn't know it then, Celine had met “the only man she’d ever loved.” Her brother sent René a demo of her singing. Cheat Sheet mentioned that reports stated he was brought to tears by her voice and decided he must make her a star.
Soon enough, not only did he push her out into fame, the two of them began officially dating in 1987 and were married on December 17th, 1994, in an elaborate wedding at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec. Surely and steadily, their family of two expanded to a family of five as the couple brought three children into their little world.
And they were happy. Until, in 1999, René developed throat cancer. But he did go into remission and was cancer-free for a number of years. Unfortunately, it returned in 2015 and René spent years battling vicious cancer that took its toll on his body until he finally couldn't battle anymore. His passing devastated the family he left behind.
In an interview with The Sun, Celine said that as much as his death pained her, it was worse for their three children. However, it brought them closer. “I organize myself to not feel lonely,” she explained. “So I got myself a huge, huge, huge bed, and I sleep with my twins. They are comforting me a lot. I need them. I need them close. When it’s time for them to say they want their room, their room’s ready. But we watch a lot of TV together. I’m discovering Disney.”
The 51-year-old singer also mentioned that she and their kids continue to talk to René even after his death. “We kiss him every night,” she said. “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.”
As for how she's dealing with his loss, the five-time Grammy Award winner told Good Morning America that she felt René gave her so much "strength and power and positivity" before he passed away. And she's channeling all that energy into being both a mom and dad to their kids. "The kids are growing, and I see them. And I look at them and I'm like, 'Wow ... we've done a great job,'" she told ABC News’ Deborah Roberts in the interview for Good Morning America. "And I'm so proud."
In another interview with Good Morning America, she said, "I've had wonderful moments in my whole life since I was a child, growing in this family, having wonderful parents, getting married to the greatest man in this world, knowing that now he's in peace and he's resting and always within me. And I see him every day through the eyes of my children."
"He gave me so much strength through all these years and so much luggage for me now to explore and for me now to spread my wings," she added. Her advice to those who have gone through similar grief and loss of a loved one is this — "You cannot stop living. Go forward. And today's the first day of the beginning of my life, because I know that, I don't have to worry."
She also revealed to ABC News her last moments with René. "You were worrying for my career. You were worrying for the children. You were worrying for everything. It's enough," she said she told him. "The kids are fine. I'm fine. I promise you we're gonna be OK. Please leave in peace. I don't want you to worry.”