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Celine Dion met late husband René aged 12 – inside 21-year marriage

The couple got married in 1994

celine dion marriage
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
Updated: January 31, 2024
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Celine Dion and her late husband René Angélil were married for a whopping 21 years, with their friends describing their relationship as a 'love story.'

The couple – who had a 26 year age gap – got married in 1994, renewed their vows in 2000 and welcomed three children, but René sadly died from cancer in 2016. Take a look back at Celine and René's marriage…

Tearful first meeting

The couple met when the 'My Heart Will Go On' singer was just 12 years old and René, 38, became her manager. Celine opened up to People about her first meeting with her future husband, revealing that her incredible voice reduced him to tears. "While I was singing he started to cry," said that star, who suffers from stiff person's syndrome. "I knew then I had done a good job." 

The two had a very close working relationship that eventually blossomed into a romance when Celine turned 19. After keeping the relationship under wraps for several years, the singer revealed her love for René in the sleeve notes of her 'The Colour of My Love' album.

In a heartbreaking interview in 2018, Celine remembered Rene and the way their relationship developed over time. "I fell in love with him immediately. Not in the romance way, I was 12 years old. I was in love with the way he treated everyone around me, including my whole family and myself."

Montreal wedding

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Celine and René got engaged in 1991 and said "I do" in the groom's birthplace of Montreal, at the Notre-Dame Basilica in December 1994. 

The singer, who tied the knot aged 26, looked striking in a silk dress by Mirella and Steve Gentile complete with a 20-foot train made up of lace and crystals that would have required 1000 hours of work, according to Vogue. She paired it with a statement tiara covered with Swarovski crystals.

A year later, Celine said: "I'm not surprised that we married each other, because we have the same dreams. We have the same goals. We respect each other."

But this wasn't their only marriage celebration – the couple also renewed their vows in an Orthodox ceremony at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas in 2000 and Celine wore a beautiful golden dress.

View post on Instagram

However, René was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999, and despite beating the disease in 2000, it came back in 2013. After having an operation to remove a tumour in his throat he was told that the illness was terminal in 2014. He passed away two years later on 14 January.

To mark the sixth anniversary of his death, Celine shared a black and white picture of the music producer and wrote: "I would be lying if I said I’m fine, I think of you at least a hundred times, cause in the echo of my voice I hear your words just like you’re there." She concluded: "I miss you – Céline xx."

Celine and René's children

celine dion children inside family home© Instagram
The couple share three children

The pair share three children: René Charles and twins, Nelson and Eddy.

Celine previously revealed her journey to motherhood wasn't easy, as she required fertility treatments and two operations to improve her chances of conceiving before welcoming her eldest child in January 2001. Meanwhile, her twins, who were born in 2010, were conceived after six IVF attempts.

Relationship confessions

Celine's husband Rene © Getty
Celine's husband Rene sadly passed away in 2016

Celine opened up about their relationship during an interview with CBS's Mo Rocca as she celebrated her milestone 1000th performance in Las Vegas.

"Before he left, it was very, very difficult for all of us," she said. "For me especially, and my children, to see the man of my life die a little bit more every day. And when he left, it was kind of a relief for me that the man that I love, the only man that I kissed, the only man that I loved."

She continued: "Yeah. I never kissed another man in my life. So the man of my life was my partner, and we were one. So when he stopped suffering I said to myself, he's ok. And he deserves not to suffer."

celine dion embracing husband Rene on red carpet© Getty
The couple renewed their wedding vows in 2000

Their friends also gushed about their relationship, with producer David Foster telling People magazine: "I've always said this since I met them in 1989, they were one of the greatest love stories ever, and I mean ever."

"They had trust. The way she looked at him, the way he looked at her.

"There was an age difference, but as with all great couples, whatever the discrepancies are in age, it just sort of melts away as the months and years go by. They just became René and Celine."

Celine's love life

Celine has maintained that she was not ready to start another relationship, telling the Today show in 2019: "I don't date. I'm not ready to date. I'm very lucky and happy to have so many people in my surrounding to make me — they make me laugh."

Two years later, Celine added that she had "no idea" when she might be ready. "Right this second, love is so big right now in my life, with my kids, with life itself, I'm not thinking about a relationship and falling in love again. Do I have to say that it will never happen anymore? I don't know. I don't know."

Her beloved Rene, she reiterated, is still very much a part of family life. "I see my kids. I look at them — we live with him," she mused. "We still live with him. He's part of our lives every day, so I have to say that I feel very, very strong."

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