Celine Dion and René Angélil brought the world along for the joys and struggles of their 21-year marriage, from career highs as the powerhouse vocalist garnered hundreds of awards to personal hardships in conceiving their children and René's battle with throat cancer. The music industry veteran, who managed Celine from the time she was 12, finally succumbed to his recurrent illness on Jan. 14 at home in Las Vegas, but his fierce love of family lives on in the many beautiful things he's said about his wife and kids.
When Celine and René finally welcomed their now-five-year-old twins, Nelson and Eddy (little brothers to the couple's firstborn, René-Charles, and René's three children from previous marriages), the doting dad was over the moon and shared the dramatic and emotional story of their birth exclusively with Hello!
Read what René had to say back in November 2010...
Saturday, Oct. 23, began like any other day for Celine Dion's husband, René Angélil, and their son, René-Charles. The nine-year-old boy was looking forward to playing baseball and his dad, who never misses a game, was about to drive him. Celine, meanwhile, at 35 weeks pregnant, was on bed rest at the hospital in nearby West Palm Beach, Fla., where it was expected their twin babies would be delivered in a week or so. Instead, that morning, Celine called René in a panic. "It's gonna happen!" the 42-year-old singing superstar told her husband, urging him to come to the hospital.
And so, instead of watching his son swing a bat, the 68-year-old music executive got to watch his two youngest boys make their entrance into the world, just days after a pregnant Celine, 42, spoke exclusively to Hello! from her hospital bed. On Sunday, proud René called us to share the dramatic and emotional events surrounding the birth of the couple's twin boys.
René, congratulations on your new babies! We are so excited for you and Celine. How is everyone doing? Everyone is doing fine right now. I'll tell you how it happened. Yesterday I was about to leave the house with René-Charles and we got the call from Celine, who sounded a little panicky. She said, "I think you'd better come right now, it's gonna happen!" At the same time, the doctor was calling on the other line, saying I should go right away. Fortunately, her mom and three of her sisters were staying at the house, so one of the sisters took René-Charles to the baseball game. I left with another roof the sisters - Linda - and her mom, and we went straight to the hospital.
You must have been so anxious to get there! We went pretty fast on the road - it's a 45-minute drive. We arrived just in time. As soon as I got there, they put the green costume on me, Mrs. Dion and Linda, and we went into surgery with Celine. At 11:11 a.m., we had our first baby come out [via caesarean section].
How did you feel? It was very, very emotional, of course, when we heard him cry, and the same thing a minute later when the other one came out. You know how it is: you want to hear them cry to know that everything is all right. We were crying, too. Even though we didn't speak to each other, we were both thinking about the time it took [to conceive them].
Did you cut the cord, as you did with René-Charles? I cut both cords.
How much did they weigh? On e baby was five pounds, 10 ounces, the other, five pounds, four ounces. They're in incubators - they're going to be in there for three to four days. And they're going to keep Celine int he hospital for three to four days.
How was Celine feeling during and after the delivery? She did great. But then when she went back into [her hospital] room it was hurting, and they gave her some sedatives. A few hours later, she woke up and wanted to see the babies. We went to see the babies together, and she was so happy to see them, and went back to her room.
When did René-Charles see his little brothers? He came to the hospital right after his game an she was thrilled to see them. He said, "One looks like Dad, the other looks like Mom." I don't know about that! They're not identical twins but they sure look alike.
Who was present at the birth? Her mom was there during the actual birth. And Linda. Linda filmed the whole thing.
For family consumption only, I assume! [Laughs] Exactly!
Have you named the babies yet? Not yet. Right now they are still Baby A and Baby B.
Were you surprised how quickly the twins arrived? We thought they would stay inside longer because they said it's always 37 weeks [rather than 40] with twins. She was due on Nov. 8. So it's a little early at 35 weeks. But everything just started happening yesterday morning when she went into labour. The babies wanted to come out! We're so anxious to bring them home.
René-Charles was also born a little early... Yes, René-Charles came out three weeks early - he was due Feb. 14 and came out Jan. 25. It was also fast. We were at home and Celine felt something and the doctor said, "Come to the hospital," and she gave birth!
Was Celine concerned about how her body might change after carrying twins? Not at all, she never thought of that. In fact, there's a TV special [on her pregnancy] that is going to air on [French-Canadian network] TVA. They found a piece of film from 1998 - an interview with her where she says, "My dream is one day to have twins. I'd love to have twins and gain 40-45 lb. and have a belly." That's exactly what she gained. She didn't even remember saying that - you see her expression when she sees the clip.
Who will be helping you take care of the babies once they come home? Linda has been with us - she took care of René-Charles, and she's staying with us. She and her husband live about 10 minutes from he house. She's there every day and they help us take care of him.
Celine has twin brothers, doesn't she? Yes, Celine is the youngest, and six years before she was born, it was twins. Up until the twins, every delivery that her mom had was at home. She used to call the doctor and say, "OK, it's time." The doctor would say, "I didn't even know you were pregnant!" Today you've got ultrasounds - they can even tell you how much they weigh before they are born. One day, when [a pregnant] Celine was telling her mom how much the babies weighed, she started laughing: "I don't believe this!" Every child - and she had 14 - was in good health and she had [very little medical help].
Has she given Celine any advice on raising twin boys? Not yet - but I"m sure she will have plenty of advice! She is an expert at raising children.
Yours is a wonderful story that touches so many people, but does all the attention ever bother you? We are used to [the attention] - it's normal. It's great to see people love Celine and are happy for her. But in our house we have no trophies even though she has over 1,000. The house is a family house. We try not to think about show business. We never listen to her music. We never listen to any music in the house. We listen to music in the car.
Will she sing to the babies, though? I'm sure she'll sing.
How does René-Charles deal with being in the spotlight? He's not 100-per-cent OK with it, but now that he's at school, the important thing is he can be [a normal kid]. The teachers are so impressed that he never brags about his mom and is generous with the other kids. That's the way he is - he's a sweet, sweet boy. I know I'm his father, so of course I would think that, but we're very proud of him. He won't feel left out now that he is a big brother.
René, you now have six children, three of them all grown up. Do you feel any sadness, at 68, about being an older parent? For sure. But I try not to think of the sad part. What's important is to give those children the experience I can provide for them, and to love them as much as I love RC and my three other children.