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Celine Dion Gives Tearful Speech at Premiere of ‘I Am: Celine Dion’

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Celine Dion Gives Tearful Speech at Premiere of ‘I Am: Celine Dion’
Celine Dion Gives Tearful Speech at Premiere of ‘I Am: Celine Dion’

Céline Dion promised fans at the New York City premiere of a new documentary about her life that she hoped to return to performing “very, very soon.”

Dion, 56, became emotional while speaking in front of the audience gathered for the Lincoln Center screening of I Am: Céline Dion on Monday, June 17. “This is by far the biggest crowd I’ve had in years,” she said, adding, “I hope to see you all again very, very soon.”

The Grammy-winning singer, who’s battling stiff-person syndrome, brought son René-Charles Angélil, 23, with her to the event for the film, which makes its official debut June 25 on Amazon Prime Video. René-Charles wore a black suit and tie while Dion sported a white blouse and long, white skirt.

Inside the theater, she was greeted with cheers as she walked onstage. “I cannot believe how fortunate I am to have my family in my life,” she said, wiping away tears as René-Charles arrived to hand her a napkin to wipe her eyes with. She thanked her fans “from the bottom of my heart for being part of my journey. This movie is my love letter to each of you,” she said. (Kelly Clarkson, Gayle King and Dion’s neurologist, Dr. Amanda Piquet, were among the many guests there.)

“Your presence in my journey has been a gift beyond measure,” Dion continued. “Your never-ending love and support over all these years have delivered me to this moment tonight.”

Last week, the “My Heart Will Go On” icon told Today host Hoda Kotb that she would not let her stiff-person diagnosis put a stop to her career. 

“What did this disease take away from you?” Kotb asked Dion in a June 11 sit-down interview. Dion replied, “It didn’t take anything away from me. I’m going to go back on stage, even if I have to crawl. Even if I have to talk with my hands, I will. I will.”

Dion announced that she’d been diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder in December 2022. She explained to Kotb that she “did not take the time” to accept her health condition because her husband and longtime manager, Rene Angélilwas also “fighting for his own life.” (Rene died in January 2016 at age 73 following a long battle with cancer. The pair shared sons René-Charles and Nelson and Eddy, both 13.)

“I had to raise my kids. I had to hide. I had to try to be a hero. Feeling my body leaving me, holding onto my own dreams,” she said. “Lying, for me, the burden was too much. Lying to the people who got me where I am today. I could not do it anymore.”

She also compared singing with her condition to feeling like “somebody strangling you,” and that spasms also happen “in the abdominal, can be in the spine [and] can be in the ribs.”

Despite her health struggles, a source exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2023 that Dion is a “fighter” who is “working with doctors and physical therapists to get better.”

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