Net Worth: $630 million
'My Heart Will Go On' and 'Beauty and The Beast' French-Canadian diva is a celebrated worldwide hit maker. Starting her career at twelve years old and marrying the man who discovered her, Dion forever remains a star in the music industry. The talented beauty and mother of three, now turned widow, is a great example of successful Hollywood marriages despite the many challenges she's had to endure.
Aged 48, Celine Marie Claudette Dion was born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. Dion was raised in a large family of 14 siblings and she was the last born. Her mother Thérèse was a homemaker while the father Adhémar Dion was a butcher. Both her parents were of the French origin but had settled in Canada. Although this Roman Catholic family were poor, they were bonded by love and therefore happy in their own way.
Celine’s parents were both musicians and they therefore inspired their daughter to love music at a very early age. They in fact owned a small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril in the neighborhood and the Dion family would gather there during the weekend to perform for the local community.
At only five years, Dion was singing confidently on stage. It was around this time that his brother Michel wedded and the young girl stole the hearts of many after performing Christine Charbonneau song, “Du fil des aiguilles et du coton” during the event.
At the age of twelve, with the help of her mother and brother Jacques, Celine wrote a French song and her brother Michel sent it to producer René Angélil who was really moved by the young girl’s vocals and aimed to make her a star. In 1981, René was so determined that he mortgaged his house to finance Dion’s debut album, La Voix du bon Dieu translating to ‘The Voice of God’. The album was a great success that immediately made her a star in Quebec. The popularity further spread across the world and in 1982, Dion won the Top Performer and the Best Song Award in the Yamaha Popular Song Festival held in Tokyo, Japan.
In 1983, Dion’s popularity had spread even wider after she became the first Canadian to receive a Gold record for her single ‘D’amour ou d’amitie’ translating to ‘Of Love or of Friendship’. It is around that time that she was also honored the Best Female Performer and Discovery of the Year from Felix Awards which is an equivalent of the American Grammy Awards.
In 1988, she won the Eurovision Song Contest held in Dublin, Ireland. Her spectacular performance was broadcasted live in Europe, Australia, Middle East and Japan. This was great success to the young star as she tasted international acclaim.
When Dion was eighteen years, she had already recorded nine French albums. She then met Michael Jackson and made a decision that she wanted to be a star just like him. However, her manager Angelil advised that she needed to perfect her image before reaching Jackson’s position. She was therefore taken for dental surgery for appearance improvement and later to Ecole Berlitz to polish her English.
Sadly, the young girl injured her voice later in 1989 during the Incognito Tour concert. Her otorhinolaryngologist recommended either an immediate vocal cord surgery or to avoid using the cords for a month; of which Dion opted for the latter and also went for vocal training with William Riley.
Dion had now matured in her personality and it was time she took her career to another level. Having focused on her French roots all along, she made a twist in her developing career and indulged in the Anglophone world.
Following the massive success Dion was getting across the globe, she collaborated with songwriter David Foster to record her first English album Unison in 1990. The album was more of 1980s soft rock and critics commended Dion for a job well done on the album. Ultimately, the album sold over one million copies globally. Unison had four singles that included ‘(If There Was) Any Other Way’, ‘The Last to Know’, ‘Unison’ and ‘Where Does My Heart Beat Now’. ‘Where Does My Heart Beat Now’ won the hearts of many as it was a mid tempo soft rock track perfected by the use of an electric guitar. As a result, this single became her first track in the album to peak top five in the Billboard Hot 100.
Her breakthrough however came in 1992 after, together with Peabo Bryson, she recorded the theme song to Beauty and the Beast – a Disney animated feature. The song instantly made it top 10 on Hot 100 Chart and as well as the film getting honored with an Oscar, Dion won herself a Grammy and an Academy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo and Best Song respectively.
Following the success Beauty and the Beast achieved, the talented artist made it the lead song for her second English album titled Celine Dion in 1992. The album sold over 12 million copies and became her first ever gold record in the US. The self-titled album was a combination of strong pop rock, soul and classical music and featured great singles that included; ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘If You Asked Me To’, ‘Nothing Broken but My Heart’, ‘Love Can Move Mountains’, ‘Water from the Moon’ and ‘Did You Give Enough Love’. The track ‘If You Asked Me To’ topped the charts in Canada and peaked number four on Hot 100. The album was better received than her first one, Unison, and it received a diamond record in Canada and double platinum in the United States.
Celine’s fame in the United States spread like bushfire after she released her English albums. She even won a Felix Award for the English Artist of the Year. However, her French fans criticized Celine for neglecting them and as a result, Dion rejected the award citing that ‘she is and will always be’ a Francophone artist. In fact, Celine went ahead to release a French album Dion chante Plamondon which was certified gold in Quebec on the day of release.
In 1993, Dion released her third English album The Colour of My Love with themes of love and romance. The album was a dedication to her manager-turned lover. Opposite to Dion’s expectation, fans highly embraced the couple instead of giving harsh criticism. The couple later married in 1994.
The Colour of My Love did exceptionally well and became her ever best album, selling more than six million copies in the US. The album contained love-themed single tracks such as ‘The Power of Love’, ‘When I Fall in Love’, ‘Misled’, ‘Think Twice’, ‘Only One Road’, ‘Next Plane Out’, ‘Just Walk Away’ and ‘To Love You More’. ‘The Power of Love’ became the first single in the album to hit number one on the US Hot 100. Similarly, ‘Think Twice’ topped the charts for five consecutive weeks.
After concentrating on English albums for a long time, Dion made a small twist in her career. She released several French songs in between each successful English record. She made a notable comeback with great albums such as À l’Olympia and D’eux.
Celine’s stardom had reached every corner of the globe and this was great delight to the then-young wife. In 1996, she released her fourth English album Falling Into You. The album made use of complex orchestral sounds, musical effects and a variety of instruments to bring about new sounds. The album topped number one in most of the charts worldwide and became Dion’s bestselling album ever. Falling Into You was later certified Diamond in Canada and 11x Platinum in the US. The album also won Album of the Year Award and Grammys Award for Best Pop Album.
Her International presence was heightened even further after she performed ‘The Power of the Dream’ at the opening of 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
The year 1997 held even greater glory for Celine Dion after she sang ‘My Heart Will Go On’ which served as the theme song for the blockbuster film, Titanic. The song was her signature song and bestselling single after it peaked position one across the world. The song also became one of track singles in the album Let’s Talk About Love.
In 2002, Celine released a new album titled A New Day Has Come. The album recorded massive success after topping the charts in more than 17 countries worldwide. Celine then committed herself to more performances for the next three years. First, she was to perform five nights a week in her own Las Vegas Show held at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace. The 600 show contract saw Dion make at least $100 million for three years. She also dedicated five years of sell out shows and a one year worldwide tour where she performed for her fans in more than 25 countries across five continents. On her comeback, she released two more albums, One Heart and Miracle but they did not do quite well compared to the previous records.
In respect to her roots, she released a French album in 2003; 1 Fille and $ Types. The album was of great success in France, Canada and Belgium and sold more than 700,000 copies.
Of late, Celine is no longer dominant in the charts, but she remains one of the greatest entertainers of all time. She often receives special invitations to perform on high profile events and never disappoints her fans.
She is set to embark on a live tour in 2017, across the UK and Europe.
Since the beginning of her career, Celine has remained a darling to many. The pop singer barely has controversial scenes that could lead to her image being tarnished. However, early in her career, when she started dating her late husband Rene, some of her fans regarded it unethical and a bad example to upcoming artists. Nevertheless, most people embraced the relationship especially after Dion released the album The Colour of My Love dedicated to her fiancé.
Several artists have mentioned Celine Dion as a major influence in their career. This includes Britney Spears, Rihanna, Adele and Ariana Grande. Others praise Dion’s singing ability, dynamic stage presence and expressed great interest in getting a chance to work with the ‘A New Day Has Come’ singer.
Besides singing, Dion is an established entrepreneur and owns the Celine Dion Perfumes brand. Since the brand’s inception, it has grossed over $850 million retail sales. Dion was also part of the group managing the franchise restaurant Nickels in the ’90s but has since left the establishment.
Celine is also a philanthropist who has supported numerous charity organizations across the globe. She is the National Celebrity Patron of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) an organization she has supported since 1982. She also joined several other artists on a campaign sponsored by McDonald’s to support World Children’s Day.
Dion supported victims of Hurricane Katrina by donating $1 million. In 2004, she held a fundraising for the victims of the Asian Tsunami. Another remarkable humanitarian course was donating $100,000 to China Children and Teenager’s Fund. And as a consolation, she sent a touching letter to the children in the organization.
Other organizations that Dion has supported include; T.J. Martell Foundation, Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund as well as numerous health, orphanages and educational campaigns.
When Dion was only 12 years of age, she met René Angélil who was her manager. Their meeting was spearheaded by Celine’s brother who sent a demo recording to René to have him consider Dion as a singer. The two then became engaged in 1991. Although they tried hard to keep their relationship a secret, it attracted unnecessary public attention. The two however made a public announcement of their relationship through Celine’s album The Color of My Love.
Celine’s mother was opposed to their relationship and even more on their marriage. René had had two failed marriages already and three children to care for. According to Thérèse, this is not the type of prince charming she wanted for her daughter. Even then, Celine’s family fell in love with René and eventually so did Thérèse.
Dion and Angélil finally got married in December 1994, at an insanely extravagant wedding. Dion later revealed that her gown featured a 20 feet long tail, a 20 pound tiara and the entire outfit took over 1,000 hours to make The event, which was held at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, was broadcast live on Canadian national television.
Celine and Angélil experienced a hard time in the marriage after they unsuccessfully tried to have children. Dion had to undergo a fertility surgery and use Vitro Fertilization (IVF) that would improve her conceiving chances.
Their efforts later bore fruits and they were blessed with their first son René-Charles Angelil in January 2011. Almost a decade later, the couple announced that they were expecting twins.
On October 23, 2010, Dion gave birth to healthy fraternal twins named Eddy after a family friend, and Nelson named after Nelson Mandela the former South African president. It was however revealed that, the couple were initially expecting triplets but one of the babies was lost early in Dion’s pregnancy through a miscarriage.
On January 14, 2016, suffered a big blow after the death of her husband who had fought a long battle with cancer. Left a widow at 47-years old, one of the most enduring Hollywood relationships came to an end. Currently, Celine resides in Henderson, Nevada with her three children; René aged 14 and the twins Nelson and Eddy aged 5.
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya