Something beautiful happened Sunday during the annual Billboard Music Awards.
No, we’re not talking about Britney Spears’ performance, capping her comeback from that low point when she randomly shaved her head (and her willingness to do more bicep curls than the rest of us. Michelle Obama, look out!)
The night belonged to Celine Dion. Yes, the singer people too often simply love to hate grabbed us and wouldn’t let go. And she did it by jettisoning her celebrity guard and being real. Raw.
Sometimes, in the midst of all the glamour show business can bring, such a moment can happen. Thank goodness.
Dion’s moment sprung from something terrible, a personal and very recent loss. Earlier this year, her husband René Angélil, 73, died following a battle with throat cancer.
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer was on hand to collect the Icon Award for lifetime achievement. She chose to sing the Queen song “The Show Must Go On.” The title made sense in more ways than one. That song was her late husband’s favorite.
The event’s producers surprised the singer by having her eldest son, 15-year-old René-Charles, deliver the award personally.
Dion let the tears flow. Here’s betting she wasn’t alone.
Next page: Watch the moving video tribute and read about how Celine is coping with her husband’s death.
Ever the trooper, Dion made it through the song and acceptance speech. Later, she told Entertainment Tonight what it took to process the moment.
“You have to be strong, but I think it’s important as well to not hold everything… I tried to hold it in front of my 5-year-old twins, but my 15-and-a-half year old beautiful son is old enough to understand.
“Even though I did not want to cry, he understands it’s okay because it is therapeutic and you can’t take so much pressure,” she continued.
Dion, 48, is one of the most successful singers of our age. She’s also human. We forget that in all the packaging that goes into making a star. It’s partially why someone like Dion can remain on top. And yet it’s still important to remember these talented performers are just like us. They love, they hurt and they feel loss.
Dion later told Billboard Magazine something that comforts her in the weeks since her husband’s passing.
“He will be singing with me for the rest of my life.”