Celine Dion recently made a brave and bittersweet return to the stage after a yearlong hiatus caring for her cancer-stricken husband, René Angélil, whose own curtain call is near.
“I didn’t want to be here at first.I don’t need it,” Celine said of her return. “Don’t get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities.”
The Grammy winner, 47, revealed it was only at René’s prompting that she agreed to come back.
“René is with me on that stage,” she said, characterizing the first show of her 40-concert residency as “fragile.” “There will be moments,” she acknowledged, “of emptiness, laughter, awkwardness, tearing up. But that’s the point of coming back – otherwise, I just release an album.”
Part of her opening performance included an emotional rendition of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” while a montage of family photos and video played out on screens surrounding the singer.
As The National ENQUIRER reported, Celine left her lucrative residency at Caesars Palace one year ago to care for René, 77, and be with their sons – René-Charles, 14, and 4-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy.
“I think I’ve got this. For now,” she said of her struggle with grief. “When it hits me, it’s going to hit me. But my biggest job is to tell my husband, ‘We’re fine. I’ll take care of our kids.’”
René, Celine’s former talent manager who discovered her when she was only 12, was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and had a tumor removed.
He had throat surgery again in December 2013, and is now fed through a tube.
“We have asked (doctors) many times, ‘How long does he have, three weeks, three months?’ René wants to know,” Celine said. “But they say they don’t know.”
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer described poignant moments with her dying husband: “René says to me, ‘I want to die in your arms.’ Okay, fine, I’ll be there, you’ll die in my arms.”
Celine has begun preparing their kids for the inevitable.
“They see how bad their father is now, and it scares them. There’s days he can barely sit up,” said the source. “She’s had to tell them that a miracle just isn’t meant to be.”