The chances are you have heard a Celine Dion song over the years. She’s either standing on the tip of the Titanic with her amazing ballads or even performing the soundtrack for the new Deadpool movie. You can’t deny the icon has had an amazing career.
The award-winning superstar has just turned 50 and shows no signs of slowing down. Join us as we break down some of the biggest ups and downs over her life. We’ll include love, loss, and the strength to overcome life’s challenges.
Where did it all begin
Celine Dion was born on March 30, 1968, in Charlemagne, a small town in Quebec, Canada. Perhaps one of Canada’s biggest exports, she is the youngest of 14 children. Having so many older brothers and sisters inspired Celine to seek attention through performance – often singing and dancing to an audience made up of her family.
It was clear from a young age that Celine had a real passion and true talent for performing, but no one could have predicted the mass success she would acquire.
Even though she grew up in a poor neighborhood, Celine Dion describes her childhood as a happy one. She was named after the song Celine, and this clearly inspired her to follow her dream and make it as a singing superstar.
Not a child to shy away from the cameras or attention, she debuted her voice at a cousin’s wedding at the age of five and never stopped from there. Even for a five-year-old little girl, Celine’s voice was extraordinary.
Taking on Eurovision
Over the next few years, Celine’s childhood was taken up by taking part in various singing competitions across the country. It was evident that having a normal childhood wasn’t in the cards for her.
She even worked hard to represent Switzerland in the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, taking home the trophy to a proud country. Things were only going to go from big to bigger for the star, as she prepared for global fame she knew she was destined to get.
Harsh reality of the business
In the brutal and cut throat industry of entertainment and music, Celine Dion faced her first personal hurdle when realizing she didn’t have the looks to help her market herself as the global star she aspired to be.
She went through the traumatic experience of removing herself from public life for an entire year as she underwent extreme dental care to fix her teeth and crooked smile. Thankfully, her pain was worth it since we see her smile across billboards all over the world.
A nightmare recovery
Just as Celine thought that her harsh recovery process was over and she would be able to go on as planned, disaster struck again. Celine Dion was devastated as she injured her voice during a 1989 tour.
She was faced with an ultimatum: undergo immediate surgery or not speak for three weeks. Celine decided to go silent for almost a month to heal and not risk more damage through another invasive surgery. She had just been through a rough surgery and couldn’t comprehend undergoing another one.
Singing for Disney
In the early 1990s, Celine Dion was becoming more known in English-speaking countries. Having conquered Europe, and undergone an extreme makeover including learning English from scratch, her real big break came when she duetted with Peabo Bryson on the title track for Beauty and the Beast – one of Disney’s most successful animated films.
Her iconic voice was heard by millions of people in the USA and she became a hero for young girls who now wanted to be like her.
Late night breakthrough
Following her success at Eurovision, Celine had truly cracked Europe, but the U.S. was a whole different game. It was in 1990 that Celine managed to break into the U.S. charts after being invited onto late night host Jay Leno’s “The Tonight Show.”
The Hollywood veteran predicted huge success for Celine at such an early stage in her career. Turns out he wasn’t wrong and Celine’s first single in the U.S, “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” was certified gold.
My Heart Will Go On
She is perhaps best known for the power ballad My Heart Will Go On from James Cameron’s Titanic, the second most successful film of all time, grossing $2.18 billion.
No one could have predicted the success that came with her performance, the song is one of the most recognizable in the world and won the 1998 Academy Award for Best Original Song, helping her amass a $630m fortune over the years. This was just the beginning for Celine Dion.
Celine’s unexpected romance
Celine Dion’s career got bigger and better as she won well-deserved Oscars and Grammys for her work on films, as the 1990s continued. After much speculation surrounding a potential romance, Celine eventually publicly confessed personal feelings for her manager, René Angélil.
He had been her manager since discovering her talent when she was only 12. They had worked together all this time but began an affair when she was just 18 and he was 46. That’s quite the age gap!
Not everyone accepted
Celine explained how her mother was not on board with the romance. She said “When I told her I had some really strong feelings for René she tried everything to kill him and 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.” Ultimately, Celine and Rene were adults and they couldn’t ignore their love.
Expanding the family
Despite the 28-year age gap between the two, their love was stronger than ever. They married in 1994 and renewed their vows in 2000. The couple initially had problems conceiving children, resulting in Celine having yet another surgery to help improve her chances of getting pregnant.
The couple decided to go down the route of IVF and ended up having three healthy and beautiful children. Just another example of how her love and passion for life was tested and she overcame another challenge.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
In 2004, Celine was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her huge achievements in music. The star was presented to her by Jay Leno, the same person who gave Celine a chance on his late night talk show.
Thereafter, Celine was propelled to new levels of fame and made a vast impact on the music industry. At the special ceremony, she owed all of her success to husband Rene who had supported her and believed in her for years.
There was no denying that Celine Dion was one of Canada’s greatest ever exports. She was the nation’s sweetheart and in 2013, Canada decided to give back to the superstar and present her with the Order of Canada.
During the ceremony, Celine was incredibly emotional and said “Thank you for this great honor,” she continued “I’ll try to be worthy by being a good companion.” The ceremony also noted Dion’s admirable humanitarian work, her generosity and compassion for others.
Taking over Las Vegas
In 2011, Celine began a residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with around 70 performances per year. Earning $500,000 a show made Dion the top earner in the Nevada city.
Fans flocked to Las Vegas to get a glimpse of the superstar in concert. In total, the box office earned $296.2 million in revenue, gaining an attendance of around 1.74 million people. Not many performers can draw in these sort of figures and crowds.
A heartbreaking loss
In 2016, tragedy struck the Dion household. For many years, René Angélil had suffered from weak health, experiencing heart attacks and early stages of cancer. Even though he had overcome these challenges in the past, René passed away in January at the age of 73.
It was one of the hardest times in Celine’s life, but it was about to get even worse as just two days later, Celine’s brother died of cancer. Celine’s personal struggle was plastered all over the worldwide press, making her grieving time anything but private.
While the world wanted to send support and love to the singer, it was no surprise that Celine’s heart was in pieces. Instead of having time to grieve the loss of both her husband and beloved brother, having two funerals just four days apart was difficult for any individual to cope with.
When Celine was spotted in public for the first time she appeared solemn. While Celine did not sing at her husband’s funeral, her music was played during the service.
Back to performing
In February 2015, Celine Dion returned to her residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace to a sold-out crowd and rave reviews from critics about her strength and ability to perform after facing an incredibly traumatic period in her life.
On the back of her return, the following year in 2016, Dion performed at the 2016 Billboard awards and received the Billboard Icon award, presented by her son. With her career spanning three decades, Celine truly deserved all of the accolades.
Celine stands strong
Her most recent single, Ashes, appeared as the opening song in the superhero action film Deadpool 2. It has been amazing to see her so graciously and powerfully overcome the challenges she faced with her many surgeries, fertility challenges, and the tragic loss of her husband and best friend.
Regardless of her hardships, she has never turned her back on music or her fans, she has always been a person to get back up and move on with life.
2019 was the start of something new for Celine. Her Las Vegas residency had been such a significant part of her career and she announced that it would be coming to an end on June 8, 2019. Later in the year, Celine will go back to her roots and embark on her Courage World Tour.
Kicking off in September, it will start with North America before expanding internationally. The appropriately named tour pledged to take fans through Celine’s journey, showing how far the superstar has come.
Forever an icon
Today, Celine Dion remains one of the most influential and respected artists in the world. She tours the world performing songs in French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese.
Throughout the years she has stayed true to herself and her music, inspiring so many other artists and fans around the world. Celine has had anything but an easy life, but she has always conducted herself with class, poise and is truly an admirable icon.
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