Celine Dion is mother to three healthy sons, Rene-Charles, and twins Nelson and Eddy, who she shared with her late husband Rene Angelil. But it was an excruciating journey to motherhood for the “My Heart Will Go On” singer.
Celine and Rene married in 1994 when Celine was just 26 years old. Soon after, they tried to start a family but were surprised when they failed multiple times at trying to conceive, despite them both being at a prime age to become pregnant (even though Rene was 24 years her senior)
So, they decided to try their hand at IVF treatment. Come 1999, however, Rene was diagnosed with throat cancer. In anticipation of his chemotherapy and the potential exposure to radiation, they decided to freeze his sperm so that they could continue to try as many times as they could.
However, the IVF treatments weren’t working properly and Celine decided check into a New York fertility clinic in 2000 where she underwent various procedures to try and help her chances at becoming pregnant.
The procedures proved to be effective as the first IVF treatment they went through was a success and in January 2001, they welcomed their first son Rene-Charles.
According to Celine’s mother and her obstetrician, who both spoke with People at the time of Rene-Charles’ birth, it was a very emotional experience for everyone involved, even the nursing team.
“Everybody was just crying tears of joy,” Dr. Ronald Ackerman, who helped bring Celine’s child into the world said at the time. “Nurses, doctors, experienced people—there was not a dry eye in the room.”
High on the feeling of finally accomplishing a pregnancy, the couple tried at it again right away, opting to freeze the remaining embryos for further attempts.
But it wasn’t so simple this time around.
The couple tried for the next nine years, cycling through six IVF treatments and even suffering a miscarriage in 2009.
“I thought as long as my health permitted me and unless my doctor thought physically I couldn’t do it, then I would go on with the IVF until someone told me to stop,” Celine told The Mirror in 2013 regarding her persistence in expanding her family.
Despite suffering the miscarriage in 2009, she and Rene were not going to give up.
“[Miscarriages] happens in life, in general, and people who are not on the TV or in the newspapers, they go through this all the time,” she said.
Being in the public eye, it was difficult to reveal the times when she was pregnant because she was afraid it would end in another miscarriage or that the IVF treatments would fail.
“They said that I was pregnant, and a couple of days after, we were not pregnant again,” she said at the time. “We didn’t want to feel like we were playing yo-yo—I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant—so we didn’t want to do this thing. But we did have a miscarriage.”
“I will be the happiest one to tell you when I’m pregnant. And if not, I’m the luckiest artist, especially wife and mother, [to] a wonderful son,” she added, grateful to be a mother to at least once child. “So I’m glad.”
But her struggles soon turned around, after giving it one last try after her misscarriage, she was pregnant again with triplets. Unfortunately, she lost one of the babies during the pregnancy, but proceeded to give birth prematurely to two healthy twins, Nelson and Eddy.
“He chose to let go to give space to his brothers to grow,” she said of the third child that didn’t make it.
They had a happy family of five before Angelil passed away in 2016 after battling his throat cancer for nearly twenty years. She has been a single mother ever since, but has a little help from her oldest son who just turned 22 to help take care of his middle school-aged little brothers.