Two years after his death from throat cancer, René Angélil continues to be an important part of Céline Dion‘s pre-concert ritual. The French-Canadian vocal legend has revealed that she clutches a bronze replica of her late husband’s hand before each performance.
“I shake my husband’s hand and knock on wood with him every night before every show,” she says in an interview with the Daily Telegraph‘s magazine Stellar. “Even after he’s gone, I still talk to him.” She also makes sure to keep his traditional seat behind the sound mixing desk empty in his honor while performing her residency at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace.
“He taught me so much. He did a great job; what he had been giving to me all his life and all my life will always be with me,” Dion says of her husband of 21 years, who also served as her manager for most of her career. “He gave me his all. He mortgaged his house to pay for my first album. I guess before he left he wanted to make sure I was fine. I’m trying to prove to him every day I’m fine. Our kids are growing, we feel strong. We’re good.”
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Dion, who will turn 50 on March 30, has revealed her plans — or lack thereof — for the big day. “I’m not a birthday girl, not even when I was 20. To be honest, I’d rather be doing a show. But five is my lucky number, so I’m quite excited to turn 50.”
Instead she’ll be on the Colosseum stage at Caesars Palace, doing what she does best, as she hits the mid-century mark. But she hasn’t totally ruled out a belated birthday bash with children René-Charles, 17, and 7-year-old twins Eddy and Nelson on a smaller scale.
“I’ll take a day off from my Vegas schedule and tell my kids: ‘Today’s my birthday!’ To them 21 or 37 or 50 doesn’t make a difference. So I’m going to make my birthday with my children; maybe go bowling, or go to the movies, or sit in bed watching the Disney Channel, or having breakfast three times in one day of scrambled eggs on toast with peanut butter. That’d be great. I’ll have my birthday my way, on a day off.”