'He protected me': Celine Dion speaks at Rene Angelil memorial

LAS VEGAS - Celine Dion said her husband kept her grounded and protected her from the gritty business details of her superstar career.

See Full Article

The singer, who spoke for the first time publicly since Rene Angelil died, paid tribute at a Wednesday night memorial at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. People gathered to celebrate the life of her late husband and manager credited with striking the deals that have defined her status as one of the most popular voices in the world, from saying "yes" to her defining hit from the "Titanic" when critics doubted the movie to her glitzy Las Vegas Strip residency.

"I was never part of any of the meetings that he had where he had to say yes or no. He protected me from Day 1 to for the rest of my life, I am pretty sure of that," Dion said in a nearly 20-minute speech.

Angelil died on Jan. 14 after a long battle with throat cancer in the suburban Las Vegas home that he shared with Dion and their three children. He was 73.

At his Jan. 22 funeral at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, their son, Rene-Charles, gave the eulogy to a crowd of nearly 700 people before Angelil was buried at the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery in a private graveside ceremony. The family on the previous day had spent nearly seven hours greeting fans and mourners at a public visitation at the same Canadian church.

Dion, wearing a shoulder-baring black dress and her hair in a soft bun, didn't sing during the Las Vegas memorial but her famous discography was on display throughout the night. An instrumental version of her 1990s hit "Because You Loved Me" played as one of the interludes between speeches at the event that ran for more than two hours. Longtime friend and collaborator David Foster sang "The Color of My Love," a nod to the couple's song at their wedding 21 years ago, which left Dion in tears.

Mother and son sat on stage along with Angelil's other children from previous marriages and his brother, as memories were shared from guests ranging from Dion's longtime agent and friends in the music business to Caesars executives and a Las Vegas charity for people with disabilities.

They all described a man who was kind, generous and completely devoted to his wife and her talent. Angelil loved his family, gambling and dining and entertaining.

Born in Montreal to a Canadian mother and Syrian father, Angelil was a former-singer-turned-manager who discovered a 12-year-old Dion and mortgaged his house to finance her first album.

He guided her career most of her life, most critically as she learned a new language to sing in English to become a widespread international success. By the late 1990s and 2000s, her soaring voice had become dominant on the radio.

And to underscore his influence, longtime associate and friend Paul Farberman said at the memorial that the "Titanic" deal was far from certain when Dion was first approached to sing the theme song. She rolled her eyes when she first heard it played on the piano, and there were questions about the negative press the movie had gotten on reports that it was over budget and had on-set fighting.

"It didn't look like this was going to be a big success story," Farberman said of the movie. "And I'll never forget how Rene literally stood up from the table and he said 'I'm a gambler and I'm going to bet on this one.' And of course, the rest is history."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Olivia Wilde on totalitarianism, babies and split lips

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- As an actress, Olivia Wilde has lots of reasons why making her Broadway debut in George Orwell's dystopian thriller "1984" is special. As a mother, she has just two: her young children. Source
  • Actor Johnny Depp makes assassination crack at President Donald Trump: 'This is going to be in the press' [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Johnny Depp rambled his way back into relevancy Thursday night when he joked about the assassination of U.S. President Donald Trump. The 54-year-old actor’s rather incoherent mumbles at England’s Glastonbury Festival included yet another poor attempt at comedy at Trump's expense. Source
  • Lee embraces villain title on 'The Bachelorette' and more reality TV highlights this week

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Lee embraces title of Bachelorette villain Every season of The Bachelorette has its very own villain to stir up the kind of drama that Bachelor Nation continues to tune in for. This season, Florida-based singer Lee Garrett earned the title with his actions on and off camera. Source
  • Lionel Richie expects 'diva' behaviour from Mariah Carey on tour

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - Lionel Richie is welcoming full diva behaviour from Mariah Carey when she joins his "All the Hits " tour next month. Richie jokes that he expects Carey to bring along a massive entourage and might need a "dressing room larger than the arena," but that's no problem. Source
  • Ashton Kutcher, Liam Payne and Vanessa Hudgens gag on anchovy gelato and more late-night TV highlights this week

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ashton Kutcher, Liam Payne and Vanessa Hudgens are gagging dinner guests Jimmy Fallon was nice enough to invite some celebrity guests over for dinner on The Tonight Show this week. But Ashton Kutcher, Liam Payne and Vanessa Hudgens were in for a more eclectic menu than they were anticipating, as the late-night host treated his guests to a game of Secret Ingredient. Source
  • Anthony Hopkins once snuck into a 'Silence of the Lambs' screening

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Anthony Hopkins once stunned moviegoers by sneaking into a screening of The Silence Of The Lambs. The veteran Hollywood actor is known for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 film, a role for which he won an Academy Award. Source
  • Drake references rumoured ex Jennifer Lopez in new track

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Drake appears to have referenced his rumoured former flame Jennifer Lopez in a new song he debuted during a Louis Vuitton’s fashion show on Thursday. The 30-year-old rapper performed the new track Signs during the Paris Fashion Week event and in one section of the song, he seemed to be mentioning Lopez, praising her moves. Source
  • Bollywood star Khan's latest Eid release hits screens

    Entertainment CTV News
    Bollywood bad boy Salman Khan's latest movie opened in Indian cinemas Friday but film analysts are skeptical it will have the same box office success as his previous Eid blockbusters. It is something of a tradition in the Hindi film industry for Khan to star in the big release of the Eid holiday to mark the end of Ramadan, which this year is expected to fall on Monday. Source
  • Depeche Mode unveils 360-degree video

    Entertainment CTV News
    A new pair of videos for Depeche Mode's "Going Backwards" shows the band performing the track live, with one of the two featuring 360-degree views. "Going Backwards" appears on the group's recent album, "Spirit," which was released in March and was the group's first since 2013's "Delta Machine. Source
  • Rihanna responds to fan's DM about getting over heartbreak

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rihanna turned agony aunt on Wednesday to help a fan coping with the end of a relationship. The Stay hitmaker was contacted by Twitter user Samer, aka @WaladShami, who asked her for advice about recovering from a broken heart. Source