Céline Dion opens up about life without René Angelil

In a sit-down interview, Céline Dion discussed her husband René Angélil's final moments and how she explained his death to their young sons.

Singer talks about husband's final moments, explaining death to their sons

Céline Dion with husband René Angelil in Paris in 2008. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Céline Dion used "pixie dust" and a favourite movie to explain her husband's death to their two young children.

René Angélil was 73 when he died in January from cancer.

In an interview broadcast on ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday morning, Dion recounted how she used the 2009 Disney movie Up to help explain Angélil's death to their five-year-old twin boys Eddy and Nelson.

"I said, 'You know, today, papa went up. Because papa was very sick,'" she said.

Dion explained that she made sure to point out the differences between having a sore throat or a stomach ache and being as sick her husband was, because she didn't want her boys to be afraid of getting ill.

She said one evening, she bought pixie dust and balloons and brought them outside to talk to their dad.

"We're going to say 'Papa we love you, have a good up,'" she said she told them.

There was only one answer she wanted the twins to give when asked where their dad was, she said.

"The only thing I wanted is for them to say is up. Up is a good thing. Up is uplifting," she said.

Céline Dion, with sons Eddy and Nelson, and René-Charles Angélil, stand before her late husband René Angélil's casket at Notre-Dame Basilica on Jan. 22, 2016, in Montreal. The funeral cost $700,000 in total and the province will kick in $50,000, according to a media report. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

​Dion also spoke about her last moments with Angélil, saying she tried to reassure him that she and their kids would be OK without him.

"I started to talk to him and I said 'You know what? I want you to just go in peace. I want you to not worry,'" she said.

"You were worrying for my career. You were worrying for the children. You were worrying for everything. It's enough. Do you trust me? Please do. Trust me. The kids are fine. I'm fine. I promise you we're going to be OK. Please leave in peace."

In the weeks ahead, Dion has a full plate: from receiving Billboard's Icon Award next weekend to upcoming concerts in Las Vegas, Europe and Quebec. She'll also release new music in French. 

When asked if she was comforted by being so busy or, alternately, if it was difficult, she answered: all of the above.

"I trust my team and I trust René, who lives within me," she said.

      1 of 0


      To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

      By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.