When Celine Dion broke down on stage singing 'All By Myself' weeks after losing her husband

28 March 2022, 09:55

Céline Dion was in immense pain as she stepped back on stage after the loss of her husband.
Céline Dion was in immense pain as she stepped back on stage after the loss of her husband. Picture: CelineDionTV

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest experiences humans can go through.

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Though through times of unimaginable pain, loss, and grief, we're usually awarded a degree of compassion and privacy to help overcome the waves of emotion heading our way.

The nature of celebrity however, means that artists, musicians, actors and the like aren't often allowed that same level of distance.

The life of performers means that obligations usually trump their own needs, so we - the public - bear witness to their moments of extreme vulnerability.

Of course, there are examples of performers wanting to get back to business, rather than dwell on their pain and personal suffering.

That was precisely the case with Céline Dion in February 2016 during the powerhouse singer's residency at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

Céline wowed on her return to Las Vegas.
Céline wowed on her return to Las Vegas. Picture: ABC News

At the turn of the year, her partner and husband of 22 years, René Angélil, tragically passed away after a battle with throat cancer only days before his 74th birthday.

The music mogul was not only Céline's husband and confidant in a personal sense, but also a professional sense.

Angélil was her manager from the very beginning, and was there for her during every step towards international superstardom.

Céline's loss was a major blow on many fronts - she had to deal with losing her husband, the father of her children, and her career-long partner.

But the star make an immense brave effort in returning to the stage, only weeks after she was forced to say goodbye.

Dedicating her entire performance to her late husband, Céline truly wowed the Las Vegas masses out in their droves to see her and pay their own respects.

And for the most part, the French-Canadian icon battled through her inner turmoil in what was undoubtedly one of the most outstanding performances in her distinguished singing career.

Though, at points, it got all too much for her. Especially during her show-stopping rendition of 'All By Myself'.

The song resonates with people that have lost their partners as it is, let alone the iconic voice behind the song going through similar pain. Whilst she's singing it on stage.

That didn't stop her from hitting each note, belting out the chorus with as much power and conviction as you'd expect from Céline at the best of times.

During the bridge however, it all got too much for her as she became visibly distressed as the emotion coursed through her.

But she bravely composed herself as the crowd showed their audible support, declaring their love and admiration for someone who is currently experiencing unbearable loss.

Céline Dion and husband Rene Angelil were married for 22 years. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Céline Dion and husband Rene Angelil were married for 22 years. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage). Picture: Getty

"Through my life I only had eyes for my husband, who sat out here night after night" she announced to the crowd.

"People thought that I was looking at him but I didn't need to because every time I closed my eyes, I felt René onstage with me - whether he was seated in his seat right there, in the balcony, backstage, or at home with the kids."

"He's always been on stage with me and nothing will ever change that."

"I might not hear his voice yet, but I talk to him, I think of him all the time. I feel and I know he hears me, one way or another. I know he will give me a sign for his approval or not."

Céline even added a touch of bittersweet humour, saying "and now I can feel that he is telling me to zip it and start singing."

She gave her all in what was a truly spine-tingling performance.

A perfectionist through and through, Céline showed her strength of character, but also that she is only human like the rest of us.