MONTREAL — Celine Dion wants everyone to know her husband Rene Angelil is doing fine.
Rumours have been swirling about the health of Angelil, 72, who stepped aside last month from the day-to-day management of the pop megastar’s career.
“My husband is doing really well,” Dion said in response to questions at a news conference Wednesday evening following a fundraising event.
“He’s working really hard on his health and he’s being a dad at the house, which I’m really happy about.”
Angelil underwent surgery in December to remove a cancerous tumour. He turned the day-to-day management of Dion’s career over to longtime friend and entertainment mogul Aldo Giampaolo although he still has a significant role in major decisions.
Angelil had been treated for throat cancer in 1999 and some websites had reported recently he had lost the use of his voice, something his spokesman have denied.
Dion, who was discovered by Angelil and has three children with him, was pragmatic when she talked about how the family had dealt with his illness.
“You have no choice. Life imposes some things on you but he’s doing really well. He’s working hard, he’s really being disciplined, which is not an easy thing for him. So he’s very disciplined, he’s working hard, he’s playing with the kids, he’s having a good time.”
Dion was in Montreal to perform with the winners of the Sing for Ste-Justine with Celine Dion contest, which was held to raise money for Montreal’s Ste-Justine’s children’s hospital.
A total of 174 choirs from across Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick took part in the contest, with people paying $5 to vote online for their favourite. Each contestant posted a video of them performing one of Dion’s songs to enter the contest.
The effort raised $827,065 for the hospital which Dion has supported for many years.
Chorale de l’Externat Mont-Jesus-Marie, a 66-member elementary school choir from Montreal, won the online vote. Les Petits chanteurs de Laval, which has 300 singers aged eight to 23, was picked as a favourite by a jury of Quebec musicians.
Both choirs got to sing a song with Dion at the private event held at Montreal’s Place des arts on Wednesday.
Dion sang the last song of the evening with the young singers and spent most of the event in a place she admitted is unusual for her _ the audience.
“I’m never seated in a theatre or beautiful places to be able to be part of watching and listening to other people sing,” Dion told the news conference later.
“I’m always the one who’s stressed and even though I love what I do, it’s stressful and it’s not getting better,” she said. “It’s getting worse. You think you know what you’re doing — uh uh.”
Dion, who is known for her love of children, didn’t appear stressed at all appearing with the youth choirs and seemed to enjoy herself.
“It was extremely touching,” she said of the experience.
While seated in the audience during the show, she applauded enthusiastically as warm-up acts took the stage and gave thumbs-ups to the singers.
Although she has been a singer since she was a child, Dion said she had never followed the path of many musicians and sung in a choir as a youngster.
“I have always been fascinated to hear many, many voices together,” she said in a response to a question at the news conference.
She said growing up with 13 brothers and sisters and hearing them every day was almost like being in a choir but she finds the raising of so many voices in song to be fascinating.
“Even tonight, I was hearing the wonderful performances and I was out there listening and watching and every time the choirs were lifting up the emotions, I had chills.”