Celine Dion feels “wonderful” and “strong”, after losing her husband and manager Rene Angelil to cancer six months ago.
The pop superstar was plunged into mourning in January (16), when she lost her longtime love Rene, and she was dealt a second blow just two days later as her brother, Daniel, who had battled the same disease, passed away on what would have been Rene’s 74th birthday.
Celine took some time out from her Las Vegas residency to grieve, and returned to the spotlight in May (16) at the Billboard Music Awards, where she was honored with the Billboard Icon Award.
The singer, who also performed Queen’s The Show Must Go On at the Sin City ceremony, fought back tears as she accepted the prize from her teenage son, Rene-Charles, and she later admitted she was not prepared for the rush of emotions she experienced at the event.
Celine has been gradually easing herself back into the public eye ever since the Billboard appearance, and now, as she promotes her new French-language album, Encore un soir (One More Night), the 48-year-old insists she has emerged from the huge loss a stronger person.
“I feel wonderful. I feel strong, I feel good,” she told U.S. breakfast show Today. “It’s been a journey. It’s been hard seeing the love of your life suffering for the last three years, it’s been really hard, but millions of people are going through this, and I feel very strong because not only did he love me so much for many, many lives to come, he gave me three magnificent kids, so much knowledge, stability, and confidence.”
The My Heart Will Go On hitmaker went on to reveal she only really began to understand the power of motherhood when she lost her husband, because suddenly, it was all on her to ensure their three sons, Rene-Charles and five-year-old twins Eddy and Nelson, would be OK.
“When I feel good, the kids are feeling great, and when the kids are feeling great, I feel good,” Celine explained, of how they helped each other through the tough time, “but I think it’s all about feeling very strong and positive and they sense it. They sense that mom is OK. They know what’s going on; they know that dad is not coming back. They know that they have to live with him, but differently…”
She continued, “If I may say, and I’m very proud of myself because I think the role of a mother, for me anyway, kinda started the day that he (passed). We’d always been partners for many, many, many years, and… we were 50/50 – I think he left the other 50 (per cent) to me (when he died) for me to feel very strong and manage, and say to my kids, ‘It’s gonna be fine.'”
Celine has also started to take part in a daily ritual with her boys to help keep the memory of their dad alive.
“(We use) pictures, videos, all that, talking about dad, ‘Oh, dad would love that!’ Like, ‘OK, have a bite for dad,’ ‘Thanks dad!’, or ‘Cheers, that one’s for you because it’s your favorite, thank you so much’,” she explained.
Young Eddy has even encouraged his family to say goodnight to Rene before bedtime: “They have a picture of him and I caught one of my sons (Eddy) talking to his dad, saying, ‘Dad, I want you to know that I love you very much… We’re gonna be watching The Croods (animated movie) right now, and I hope you love it too.’ And then he said, ‘Nelson, come say goodnight to dad!’ Every night, we take the picture and we kiss (it) and we say that we love him.”