Céline Dion is arguably one of the most talented singers of our generation. The Canadian performer sang herself into our hearts when we first got to see her in the 1980s when she won the Eurovision song contest. Her phenomenal rise to superstardom only continued, and before long she was known to audiences across the world, whose ages span a wide range. After multiple decades in show business, Dion has enjoyed global success and she’s still going strong after she released her latest album “Courage” in 2019.
With immense success comes a lot of riches but despite her countless number one hits and award wins, Dion has proven over the years that she knows happiness in life is about much more than material items. This is why family is of the utmost importance to her.
After she somewhat controversially got together with her manager René Angélil when she was around 17-18 years old and he was 26 years her senior, Dion went on to prove the naysayers wrong. The couple was married in a beautiful ceremony in 1994 and their relationship stood the test of time when it lasted until his tragic death from cancer in 2016.
Together, she and René had three sons: René-Charles Angélil, 21, and twins Nelson and Eddy Angélil, 11. The world got to know René-Charles from when he was a little baby, while the twins were first introduced outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas back in 2011 as newborns. A lot of time has passed since Dion’s children first came to be known and nowadays, René-Charles is all grown up. As a young man, he clearly takes after his famous mom — let’s take a look at their family resemblance.
Dion is known the world over as being an incredible singing diva but her roots are much more humble than one might imagine. Born in Charlemagne, Quebec on March 30, 1968, Dion was one of 14 children. Her large family wasn’t wealthy, in fact, five of them shared a bed, but despite their poverty, they shared warm family time together, much of which revolved around music. George-Hebert Germain, Dion’s officially authorized biographer, said:
“She was born in a house where everybody was singing or playing music. Guitar, piano, drums, everything. And she was raised in this family where the music was so important.”
By the age of 2, the future star would sing on the dining room table for her family, and by the age of 5, she performed at her brother Michel’s wedding after he’d asked her to. She fondly thought back on the experience and described it in an interview with CNN:
“And I remember singing for my brother, at his wedding. I sang a couple songs. When I started to feel the love and the warmth of the audience it got me. I said to myself, ‘Really this is what I want to do all my life. I want to be a singer.'”
When Dion was 12, her mother wrote her a song titled “It Was Only A Dream.” The demo recording of this song eventually made its way to music producer René, who was immediately impressed with her voice and set out to become her manager and, famously, her eventual husband.
In fact, the couple has quite a love story. After the pair met when Dion was 12 and René became her music manager, some years later their relationship turned romantic. According to Huffington Post Canada, Dion eventually fell in love with René at around 17-18 years old. Their 26 year age gap, however, would make their love a difficult one to pursue. She revealed to the outlet that her mother was not at all happy with the couple and their emerging relationship, as most mothers would be. Years later, Dion eventually came to understand her mother’s position, as she told the Huffington Post:
“If I reversed roles — when I had my first son, RC, if I think of him and he comes (to me) with this lady who has kids and she’s 45 and she thinks she knows best, (I’d be) like, ‘Take your hand off of my son.'”
But in the meantime, Dion’s career soared. After she became an international sensation in her native Canada, France and elsewhere, the then-20-year-old sang at the Eurovision Song Contest 1988, which took place in Dublin, Ireland, and won the top prize. It was after this that René began negotiations to secure the singer’s first English-language album, with their eyes set on the United States. Her success only continued to grow, as she won an Academy Award and Grammy for her duet from the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast,” all at the young age of 24. More hits followed, which secured her fame in the States
The ’90s saw Dion’s star continue to rise, as she released albums in English and French to great acclaim. This included “The Colour of My Love,” on which the hit cover song and her first number one, “The Power of Love,” was released, as well as the album “Falling Into You.” And who can forget her now-signature song “My Heart Will Go On,” which was the love theme from the 1997 film “Titanic.” It topped charts all over the world and won her another Academy Award and Grammy.
But unknown to fans at the time was her romantic relationship with her manager René, which the two had kept secret for five years. Dion decided to go public with their relationship and she did so through the liner notes of her 1993 album “The Colour of My Love.” She later told CNN:
“I wrote a note behind my album. René is my love, I can’t keep this secret inside of me anymore. It’s getting too powerful. Let me paint a truth and show you how I feel. René, you are the color of my love.”
The same interview revealed that Mia Dumon, Dion’s friend and former publicist, was in charge of planning their wedding. After she asked the songstress what she wanted for her big day, she was told “I want something I’ll remember all my life.” So Dumont went ahead and gave Dion and René “a fairy-tale wedding,” which took place on Dec. 17, 1994, in Montréal, Quebec. Fans lined the streets where they hoped to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.
In the years after they got married, the couple decided to expand their family. However, René had been diagnosed with cancer in 1999, so before he began radiation treatment the couple decided to focus on having children through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which they talked about publicly. Then in 2001, they had their first child, René-Charles, who was born on Jan. 25. As they raised their son it became more apparent to the doting parents that they absolutely wanted to have another child. But since they had trouble conceiving naturally, they continued with IVF.
However, they still struggled and Dion even opened up on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2010 about suffering a miscarriage while undergoing the treatment. She said, as reported by CTV News:
“We tried four times to have a child, we’re still trying … We’re on the fifth try and I tell you if five is my lucky number, this fifth try has got to come in.”
During the same interview, Dion also spoke about being a mother to René, who was then 9 years old, and how she often picked him up at school herself. She said:
“I want to be RC’s mom, I don’t want to be RC’s mom who’s Céline Dion that we saw last week on tour … But at the same time I don’t want to withdraw myself from being my son’s mother. I’m his mother. When I’m home and I go and get my son, this is the place that I feel most rewarded.”
Despite the adversity she and her husband faced with trying to get pregnant, the couple was still determined to have another child. Then finally in 2010, they announced that Dion was 14 weeks pregnant, that time with twins.
Later that same year on Oct. 10, Dion gave birth to Eddy and Nelson at St Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Their names have a particularly important meaning for Dion since Eddy was named after her favorite songwriter, Eddy Marnay, and Nelson was named after Nelson Mandela, according to People.
But tragedy would strike the family when all three of Dion’s children lost their father at a young age after he succumbed to a years-long on-and-off battle with cancer.
“When you see someone who is fighting so hard, it has a big impact on you,” Dion told People in 2015. “You have two choices. You look at your husband who’s very sick and you can’t help, and it kills you. Or you look at your husband that’s sick and you say, ‘I got you. I got it. I’m here. It’s going to be just fine.’”
It was just two days before his 74th birthday when René sadly passed away in 2016.
“Knowing that now he’s in peace and is resting and is always within me. I see him every day through the eyes of my children. He gave me so much strength,” Dion told Hello at the time.
”To be honest, I think I’m at the best of my life right now and I want to enjoy and embrace every moment of it and really enjoy it,” she added during the same interview.
“It’s like I’m having a second wind, like I’m having the wind beneath my wings. I’m having a good time,” she said optimistically.
Now aged 11, the twins seem to have inherited their parents’ love for showbiz! That much is evident in a photo uploaded by their mom on their 7th birthday, which was apparently Michael Jackson-themed.
“Can’t believe you are already 7 years old… Time flies! Happy birthday, my loves! I’m so proud of all my boys! Mom,” Dion captioned the photo.
For their 10th birthday in Oct. 2020, Dion shared a heartwarming post to Instagram that highlighted not only how much they’ve grown but also how proud they make the entire family, including their late father. The photos showed the boys playing in a beautiful autumn setting, which Dion captioned:
“Nelson and Eddy, you have been bringing so much joy, love and laughter into our lives every single day for the past 10 years. You make me, your big brother and your Dad, who is for sure watching over you, so very proud. Happy birthday my beautiful boys! We love you so very much… – Mom, RC and Dad xx…”
For Christmas of that year, Dion shared a photo of herself and her three sons in front of their Christmas tree with big, warm smiles on their faces. What’s even more adorable than the sight of the family photo itself is that all four of them wore the exact same Christmas onesie pajamas! The proud mom captioned the gorgeous family photo with a touching message that said:
“May this holiday season bring all of you the gifts of love, peace, good health, and the promise of brighter days in the New Year ahead!”
To see such a personal side of Dion is heartwarming, and it’s clear her family means a lot to her.
Dion is definitely a doting mom, as her Instagram feed is full of photos of her wonderful boys. A photo she uploaded for her eldest son René-Charles’ birthday a few years ago showed just how much he’s grown. The family resemblance is hard to deny since he has his famous mother’s piercing eyes and uplifting smile. Dion posted the celebratory message on Instagram alongside a photo of him as a baby, as well as a shot of him and her nowadays. She wrote:
“My dear René-Charles, I’m so proud of the way you’re conducting yourself in life. You’re a true gentleman, and I want you to know that your father’s guidance continues to support and protect you… as I do. Keep being the best of yourself… strong, passionate, and wise, as you pursue all of your dreams in life—the sky’s the limit! And above all, have a good time!…. Your happiness, is my happiness. I love you so much, my dear son! Mom xx…”
Most recently, René-Charles has begun to follow in his mom’s footsteps in the music industry. In 2021, he released a short five-track EP titled “Casino.5” under the name RC Angelil. He also posts to social media occasionally under his Instagram @bigtipmusic, where he has over 90,000 followers. We’re sure Dion is incredibly proud of her son in what he’s achieved so far, and no doubt the best is yet to come for the 21-year-old.
Despite the sad loss of the family’s patriarch a few years ago, Dion has done a wonderful job raising her three sons René-Charles, Nelson and Eddy since then. As an internationally renowned singing sensation and a wonderful mother to her three boys, Dion is truly an inspiration to women all over the world.