Celine Dion returned to the stage in Las Vegas on Thursday, after more than a year's absence to care for her ailing husband René Angelil. The 47-year-old singer appeared at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and gave a press conference ahead of the show, during which she revealed it had been Rene who insisted she return.
"The meaning of songs have a new meaning now," Celine told reporters. "I sung them, but now I mean it. To me they'll be different songs. To you, maybe not."
Celine Dion on stage in Las Vegas on Thursday
Celine cancelled her long-running residency in August 2014 to look after 73-year-old René, who is battling throat cancer.
"I am scared of losing him, because it's bad," she said. "But I have to show myself, my husband and my kids that I'm strong and we're okay. I didn't want to be here at first," Celine confessed. "I don't need it. Don't get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities.
"My three children and my husband wanted me to be here tonight."
At the end of the press conference, Celine had a special message for René, who she said was watching from their home in Las Vegas via video link. "Just enjoy, just enjoy. I love you," she told him.
Celine has been married to manager René since 1994, and they are parents to three children; Rene-Charles, 14, and twins Eddy and Nelson, four.
The star gave a press conference ahead of the show, and said her husband had wanted her to return
Earlier this week she opened up to USA Today about her decision to continue her Vegas run. "That first show, it will be fragile," she confessed. "There will be moments. Of emptiness, laughter, awkwardness, tearing up. But that's the point of coming back – otherwise I would just release an album."
She continued: "We have asked (doctors) many times, how long does he have, three weeks, three months? René wants to know. But they say they don't know."
The Canadian superstar said she tries to be strong for her husband, but that is not always what he needs. "Sometimes he just wants me to enter a different place with him," she explained. "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.' Okay, fine, I'll be there, you'll die in my arms."
Celine said she has done plenty of "grieving" over the last year, but now she wants to show her husband she's strong enough for both of them. And that includes going back on stage. "You can have shaking knees at the end, but when someone you love falls and needs help, it's not time to cry. Afterwards, sure," she said. "But not yet."