Celine Dion returned to Caesars Palace on Thursday to pick up her Las Vegas residency, after a year-long hiatus due to her husband and manager René Angélil’s struggle with throat cancer.
In an intensely personal interview with USA Today, Dion detailed her family’s current state as she prepares to take the stage again.
“I didn’t want to be here at first, I don’t need it. Don’t get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities,” Dion told the publication. “But René really gave me a gift. All my grieving, it was during this last year. I think I’ve got this. For now. When it hits me, it’s going to hit me. But my biggest job is to tell my husband, we’re fine. I’ll take care of our kids. You’ll watch us from another spot.”
Dion and Angélil first met when the singer was 12. He later became her manager and, in 1994, her husband. In the interview, she called him “the only boyfriend I’ve ever had.”
She described speaking with him sensitively: “I’ll say, ‘You’re scared? I understand. Talk to me about it.’ And René says to me, ‘I want to die in your arms.’ OK, fine, I’ll be there, you’ll die in my arms.”
Dion said it’s not clear whether Angélil will attend her show’s debut on Thursday in person. If he can’t, he will watch on a live stream from their Las Vegas home.
“That first show, it will be fragile,” she said. “There will be moments. Of emptiness, laughter, awkwardness, tearing up. But that’s the point of coming back — otherwise, I just release an album.”