Céline Dion and René Angélil's Relationship: A Look Back

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Céline Dion and René Angélil were married for 22 years until his death in 2016

Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage
Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage
  • Céline Dion and manager René Angélil first met when Dion was just 12 years old

  • Dion and Angélil's romance began when Dion was 19

  • They got married in 1994 and share three sons: René-Charles and twins Nelson and Eddy

  • Angélil died in January 2016 from throat cancer

Céline Dion and René Angélil's love will always go on.

The Grammy-winning singer was married to her former manager for 22 years, up until his death from throat cancer in 2016.

Dion and Angélil began working together professionally when she was just 12 years old. Their relationship turned romantic when she was 19, but they kept their love out of the spotlight for years. In 1993, the couple revealed that they were engaged. Dion and Angélil married the following year and later welcomed three children together: son René-Charles in 2001 and twin sons Nelson and Eddy in 2010.

Angélil was diagnosed with cancer three separate times and Dion took time away from her career in order to care for him. In 2021, six years after his death, she shared that she still feels Angélil's presence in her daily life.

"I feel like René has given me so much through the years and still today," she said. "I see my kids. I look at them — we live with him. We still live with him. He's part of our lives every day, so I have to say that I feel very, very strong."

In the years since Angélil's death, Dion has faced health problems of her own. She revealed in an emotional Instagram video in December 2022 that she was recently diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome, a rare neurological condition that can cause debilitating muscle spasms. She noted that her "precious children" with Angélil are "supporting me and giving me hope."

From their emotional first meeting to honoring his legacy, here's everything to know about Céline Dion and René Angélil's romance.

1980: Céline Dion and René Angélil meet

Dion's mother Thérèse helped her daughter record her first original song, "Ce n'était qu'un rêve." One of Dion's brothers found Angélil's name on the back of Canadian singer Ginette Reno's album and sent the recording to him. The manager, then 38, invited the 12-year-old singer to audition for him in person.

"While I was singing he started to cry," Dion later told PEOPLE of the meeting. "I knew then I had done a good job."

1981: René Angélil mortgages his home to fund Céline Dion's first record

Angélil signed Dion shortly after meeting her and soon proved his dedication to the rising star's talent. The manager mortgaged his home in order to fund her debut album La voix du bon Dieu. The album was a quick success in Québec, where Dion was becoming well known for her chart-topping hits.

1987: Céline Dion and René Angélil start dating

Sobli/RDB/ullstein bild
Sobli/RDB/ullstein bild

Seven years into their professional relationship, Dion and Angélil went on their first official date when she was 19 — although she later admitted that the pair's relationship took a romantic turn a year or so earlier. The couple initially kept their relationship out of the spotlight because of their 26-year age difference.

​​"We kind of kept it cool because of my career. I was living that love secretly," Dion told PEOPLE in 2016. "When I was at the age to be able to say to people ... It was like bang! Love! Love always wins."

In her memoir, Céline Dion: My Story, My Dream, the singer recalled pining for Angélil in secret. After she won a singing competition in 1988, she and Angélil spent the night together. "I threw myself into his arms," she wrote. "Later that night, I was seated at the head of the bed, legs folded under the covers. I was happy about being alone with the man I loved."

1991: Céline Dion and René Angélil get engaged

Soon after Dion released her first English-language album, 1990's Unison, she skyrocketed to international stardom thanks to her duet with Peabo Bryson for Beauty and the Beast.

But that wasn't Dion's only major life change: In 1991, Angélil proposed. Newly engaged and with her career on the rise, the couple continued to keep their love a secret.

1993: Céline Dion and René Angélil go public with their relationship

David Fisher/REX_Shutterstock
David Fisher/REX_Shutterstock

After years of keeping their love under wraps, Dion revealed her romance with her manager in the liner notes of 1993's The Colour of My Love. "René, for so many years I've kept our special dream locked away inside my heart. But now it's too powerful to keep inside," she wrote, according to Reuters.

"I was afraid of what people would think," Dion told PEOPLE in 1994. "When you're in love, you want to scream it to the world."

December 17, 1994: Céline Dion and René Angélil get married


Dion and Angélil said "I do" in a lavish ceremony at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal on Dec. 17, 1994. The extravagant wedding was broadcast live on television in Canada, where viewers watched the bride walk down the aisle in a stunning Mirella and Steve Gentile gown. To top off her look, the Canadian singer wore an instantly iconic Swarovski crystal headdress.

This was the first marriage for Dion and the third for Angélil, who was previously married to Denyse Duquette from 1966 to 1972 and to singer Anne Renée from 1974 to 1985.

1999: Céline Dion takes a break from music after René Angélil is diagnosed with throat cancer


Angélil was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999. Dion took a two-year hiatus from performing in order to focus on Angélil, who underwent two surgeries and radiation treatment.

January 5, 2000: Céline Dion and René Angélil renew their vows

Sam Levi/WireImage
Sam Levi/WireImage

The next year, Angélil was declared cancer-free. To celebrate, the couple renewed their vows in an Arabian Nights-themed ceremony in Las Vegas.

Speaking about the lavish affair, Dion said, "It's almost like a show, and we're show business people."

2000: Céline Dion and René Angélil are expecting their first baby

The same year, Dion became pregnant with her first child with Angélil.

January 25, 2001: Céline Dion and René Angélil welcome their first baby together

Dion and Angélil expanded their family in 2001 when they welcomed their first child, René-Charles, following fertility treatments. René-Charles was baptized in July 2001.

Dion later reflected on welcoming and raising her son. "He's a miracle child," she said in 2007. "I breastfed René-Charles for a year, and I'll never forget it. His eyes, his skin, his smell, his sleeping, the sweetness, the love, there's nothing like it."

November 2007: Céline Dion and René Angélil open up about parenthood


In an interview with PEOPLE, the proud parents opened up about their little one's personality. "He's got the brain, the way with numbers, the memory of his dad," Dion said. Angélil added, "He's exactly like Céline. He's sharp."

Dion also said that raising René-Charles gave her purpose. "You know, I'm not really a singer. My life is to be a mom," she said. "It is what I enjoy the most. It is my most amazing reward. I will take a chance with my music. I don't take risks with my family. He's my priority. We organize our schedule according to his needs."

December 2009: Céline Dion and René Angélil undergo in vitro fertilization treatments

James Devaney/WireImage
James Devaney/WireImage

Dion underwent several rounds of IVF in an effort to further expand her family. "I feel strong and honestly, we're very blessed," Dion said. "We have a wonderful child, we're extremely happy."

She added that she would remain patient waiting for a second baby. "It's not like, 'Oh my God, she's not pregnant and she's depressed,' " Dion continued. "You know how it works. We are great. We hope for the best, we hope to get pregnant. If it happens, it happens."

May 2010: Céline Dion and René Angélil are expecting twins

The following May, Dion and Angélil announced they were pregnant with twins. "We're ecstatic," Angélil told PEOPLE. "Céline is just hoping for a healthy pregnancy. She was hoping for one baby and the news that we are having two is a double blessing."

October 23, 2010: Céline Dion and René Angélil welcome twins

Lester Cohen/WireImage
Lester Cohen/WireImage

The couple welcomed fraternal twin boys on Oct. 23, 2010. Nelson and Eddy were born via cesarean section in Florida. The twins arrived at 11:11 a.m. and 11:12 a.m. and weighed in at 5 lbs., 4 oz., and 5 lbs., 10 oz.

The couple chose meaningful names for their boys: Nelson was named after South African President Nelson Mandela, while Eddy was inspired by Eddy Marnay, a French songwriter who produced Dion's first five albums.

The twins were baptized in Las Vegas in March 2011.

2014: Céline Dion takes a career break to care for René Angélil after his second cancer diagnosis

After having a tumor removed from his throat in December 2013, Angélil was diagnosed with cancer once again in 2014. As he stepped back from his longtime post as her manager, Dion also stepped back from her career in order to focus on caring for Angélil.

Speaking to PEOPLE at the time, the Canadian songstress said her husband's illness had caused "a very difficult and stressful time." She added, "I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband's healing, and to do so, it's important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children."

Dion announced that she would be postponing her Las Vegas residency and canceling her Asia tour. "I also want to apologize to all my fans everywhere, for inconveniencing them, and I thank them so much for their love and support," she said.

March 2015: Céline Dion promises René Angélil "you'll die in my arms"

Evan Agostini/Getty
Evan Agostini/Getty

"I am scared of losing him, because it's bad," Dion told PEOPLE in an emotional interview in March 2015. "But I have to show myself, my husband and my kids that I'm strong and we're okay."

Dion also shared that she promised to keep Angélil's last wish.

"I'll say, 'You're scared? I understand. Talk to me about it,' " the singer said. "And René says to me, 'I want to die in your arms.' Okay, fine, I'll be there, you'll die in my arms."

January 14, 2016: René Angélil dies

Angélil died on Jan. 14, 2016, just two days before his 74th birthday.

"René Angélil, 73, passed away this morning at his home in Las Vegas after a long and courageous battle against cancer," his rep said in a statement. "The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment."

Angélil was survived by his wife and their three children, René-Charles, Nelson and Eddy, as well as his children with exes Duquette and Renée: son Patrick, daughter Anne-Marie and son Jean-Pierre.

October 9, 2016: Céline Dion reveals she's only ever kissed René Angélil

Ethan Miller/Getty
Ethan Miller/Getty

In an interview following her 1,000th performance in Las Vegas, Dion revealed that she had never kissed another man besides her late husband. She also opened up about his death and her relief that he was no longer suffering.

"Before he left, it was very, very difficult for all of us," she said. "For me especially, and my children, to see the man of my life die a little bit more every day. And when he left, it was kind of a relief for me that the man that I love, the only man that I kissed, the only man that I loved."

She continued, "I never kissed another man in my life. So the man of my life was my partner, and we were one. So when he stopped suffering I said to myself, he's okay. And he deserves not to suffer."

February 12, 2017: Céline Dion speaks out about René Angélil's death

At the 2017 Grammy Awards, Dion spoke about Angélil one year after his death.

"There's days when I feel that it's been three years, and there's days that I feel it's not happening," she said. "He's always with me, and I know that he's very proud that we're back in the industry."

April 2017: Céline Dion says she will grieve René Angélil's death for the rest of her life

Kevin Winter/AMA/Getty
Kevin Winter/AMA/Getty

Dion candidly spoke about her journey with grief in a 2017 interview with The Sun.

"I think I will probably grieve for the rest of my life," she said. "I miss him a lot. I miss him a lot — for my partner, for the man I was embracing, kissing, making love with. My worries, my dreams."

January 14, 2021: Céline Dion honors René Angélil 5 years after his death

The "Just Walk Away" singer acknowledged the fifth anniversary of Angélil's death with a tribute on Instagram. Dion shared a black-and-white photo of herself holding hands with Angélil by the ocean.

"René, it's been 5 years already… There's not one day that we don't think about you," she wrote in both English and French. "We're reaching out to you now more than ever, to guide us, protect us, and continue to watch over us. And we pray that you'll shine your love on the entire world, to all those at this very moment, who are facing incredibly difficult times."

She concluded, "You are in our hearts and in our lives forever. We love you, Celine, René-Charles, Nelson and Eddy."

May 17, 2021: Céline Dion says she's "not thinking about a relationship"

Celine Dion Instagram
Celine Dion Instagram

In an interview with Today, Dion shared that dating wasn't on her mind — but she wasn't entirely ruling out the possibility.

"Right this second, love is so big right now in my life, with my kids, with life itself," she said. "I'm not thinking about a relationship and falling in love again. I don't. Do I have to say that it will never happen anymore? I don't know. I don't know."

January 14, 2022: Céline Dion remembers René Angélil on the sixth anniversary of his death

Six years after Angélil's death, Dion honored her late husband. "I would be lying if I said I'm fine, I think of you at least a hundred times, cause in the echo of my voice I hear your words just like you're there… I miss you – Céline xx…," she wrote alongside a black-and-white photo of Angélil.

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