Much like the iceberg that downed the Titanic, we often collide into Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" when the radio is tuned to a soft rock or throwback station. The song sends us crashing into the dark waters of our most complicated emotions, and it's far from the only number in Dion's repertoire that has that kind of effect on listeners. She's found a remarkable amount of success over the years by deploying her gift to make audiences weep.
The Canadian chanteuse's personal story has many highs and some more recent lows. As the tale goes, Dion's brother sent a recording of her to a music manager, René Angélil, who, naturally, wept when he heard it. He not only took over her career but also captured her heart. The 46-year-old Angélil married the very young 18-year-old artist in 1994. Though the age difference sounds icky (the courtship politics of the 1990s were very different from today's), the two had a happy life raising three kids together until he passed away in 2016.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves: Though Dion was notably one of the least cool singers of her time for Generations X and Y, she has since shed that stigma. As noted in a 2017 Telegraph piece, she's enjoying a critical and commercial reappraisal. The passing of her husband has understandably unleashed many moments of grief, but it seems as though Dion has made the most of her profound loss by being unflinchingly honest and true to herself in the aftermath. Per the aforementioned article, in 2017 she attended the Met Gala for the first time and, as documented by Vogue's video booth, proceeded to crawl on all fours and hold one of her heels to her ear like a phone. She then capped the evening off with a wiener from a hot dog stand — all of that from a woman who built a water park in her Florida home.
Dion will share her bizarre Canadian ways and over-the-top, decidedly unhip getups with Miami later this month. In a manner befitting a world-class diva such as herself, she'll perform at the American Airlines Arena for not one, but two nights: Friday, January 17, and Saturday, January 18.
Fans love Dion for her showmanship, but what has truly bonded her to listeners' affections are the times when she has shared herself at her most vulnerable and human. The following list comprises the most maudlin moments from the life of a woman whose strongest skill is ripping your heart out and making you sob.
Showing Courage in the "Courage" Video
Celine Dion doesn't just make other people cry; she herself has been known to weep frequently and openly. Once seen as icy, she's been letting the tears flow in recent years. She even shed one in the music video for her song "Courage," from the November 2019 album of the same name; it's the first English-language LP she has released since her husband's death. Her performance builds to a teary-eyed finish, with a single drop displayed as she sings, "Courage, don't you dare fail me now." That's not a knot in your throat: That's Celine Dion.
A Fitting Farewell
Pass the tissues now. The now-51-year-old singer lost her lifelong partner in January 2016 after he succumbed to a yearlong battle with throat cancer. Tragically, her brother passed away from the very same disease just two days later. Upon returning to her longtime residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Dion performed a teary cover of Barbra Streisand's "With One More Look at You" in tribute to Angélil.
Tears at Valentino
Celine Dion is every woman, goofy and sad, but with more glitz. She became a meme in 2019 after becoming visibly excited while sitting front row at an Armani show in Paris. But it was when she heard her wedding song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack — which played as a model sashayed down the runway of a Valentino show — that she busted out the tissues. If you have to grieve, there's no better place to do it than front row at a Valentino runway.
Leaving Las Vegas
After performing a whopping 1,141 shows for 4.5 million fans in 16 years, Dion took her final bow at her Las Vegas residency June 8, 2019. She left the steady gig to embark on her first world tour in more than ten years, in support of Courage. The show includes a touching collage of photos of her late husband set to the all-time tearjerker "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Dion and Angélil's children joined their mother onstage for the curtain call on a particularly glamorous era of her life. Such success and sadness — that's life, if you're lucky.
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The Saddest Word
To conclude this list of maudlin moments from this dazzling Canuck's life, listen to her sing "Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)." The 2002 single from her sixth album, A New Day Has Come, is about the pain of losing a mother. When trying to work through our own anguishes, we'd do well to follow Celine Dion's suit and let it all out as much as she does on this song.