It’s never easy to overcome the death of a loved one, but it becomes infinitely more complex when you’re in the public eye. 

Celine Dion and her sons faced an immeasurable tragedy in January 2016 when her husband and their father, René Angélil, died of throat cancer at age 73. René had been Celine’s one true love from the get-go, so one could only imagine how she coped with the devastating situation. She didn’t just have to be calm and composed for her own sake — she had to do it for her young sons, who likely had a hard time making sense of their father’s demise. 

The loss of family can send the most well-adjusted individuals reeling, so it’s safe to say that it was an uphill battle for Celine to come to terms with her new reality. On top of all these adjustments, Celine had to reckon with raising a moody teenager — which is no an easy feat. 

Celine didn’t want her son Rene-Charles to be the “man of the house”

Rene-Charles had only been a few days away from his 15th birthday when his dad died, yet he still mustered up the courage to present a sweet, thoughtful eulogy at the funeral in front of thousands of attendees and television cameras. It’s nerve-wracking for any child to be going through the stages of grief, but doing so in the limelight takes a special kind of resilience. 

Rene-Charles said at the funeral that “fifteen years is not a long time for a son to get to know his father,” but the boy and his dad still made it a point to bond over things like “golf, hockey, poker, and smoked meat.” 

The young man also stated that Rene would be a “tough act to follow” but added that “with your help, everything is going to be fine,” referring to his dearly departed dad. He concluded the speech by asserting that he would do his best to live up to his father’s expectations. 

Though Rene-Charles is keen on following in his father’s footsteps, Celine is adamant about preserving her son’s innocence. She doesn’t want him to take up his father’s mantle and become the de-facto patriarch of their family. 

They cope with the loss of their dad very well. … I said to [René-Charles], ‘I never want you to feel the pressure of being the man of the house, you have your own dreams and he is always with you in your heart and I am here for you.

Celine Dion to ExtraTV

The Quebec native also shared that no party is dependent on the other for emotional support. “It’s mutual,” she said. Sometimes it’s her kids getting her through a bad day, and sometimes, it’s Celine who uses her maternal sensibilities to console her sorrowful kids. 

So Rene-Charles went behind her back to launch his own career

Following her husband’s death, Celine was looking forward to settling into a routine with her boys. Never did she expect her son to hit No.1 on music streaming platforms. 

She did say that Rene-Charles, like any other 18-year-old, was finding his way in life and figuring out what drove and excited him. The mother-of-three had no problem granting him the freedom and space he needed to develop a passion for something. Celine knows that you can’t push adolescents in any one direction too hard; they have to carve their own unique place in this world. 

Sometimes you try to embrace them, sometimes you’re trying to help them to find their path, but they have to find their own way at one point because if you pull the cable too much, they can really go wild and off.

Celine Dion on Good Morning America

Yet, the My Heart Will Go On singer hadn’t anticipated her son’s astonishing success in hip-hop. It was reported in May 2018 that Celine’s son had been sharing a number of songs on SoundCloud under the name Big Tip. Since he had been largely anonymous on the platform, no one had a clue that Celine Dion’s offspring had followed her example. 

Rene-Charles had made such an impact on SoundCloud listeners that his tunes went No. 1 and No. 2 on the Canadian SoundCloud R&B charts. He had already accomplished several milestones on the musical front, so the tricky part was breaking it to his mother that he moonlit as a SoundCloud rapper. 

He told The Montreal Gazette that she was “stunned” to learn of his work on SoundCloud but ultimately proud of his talent. 

It’s kind of messed up, honestly. I just felt like keeping it on the low. But she loved it. She was just kind of stunned at first, because she’d never heard anything from me […] She was like: ‘Why didn’t you tell me first?’ But she’s very supportive of my passion for this. 

Rene-Charles Angélil to The Montreal Gazette 

Rene-Charles went on to explain that he didn’t want to leverage his mother’s career to gain his footing in the industry. If he’d wanted to piggyback off her accolades, all he had to do was ask. “I wanted to prove to myself that I’m able to do it. Not just because my mom is who my mom is,” he said, adding that his capabilities as an independent artist are what matters to him — not his famous mother. 

Celine Dion couldn’t be prouder of her son for venturing into the same territory she had over thirty years ago. She wrote on an Instagram Story, saying, “My love for him is so strong, and it touches me deeply that one of his passions is also one of mine.” 

Not only is music something both mother and son can connect over, but Celine gets to make sure that her son doesn’t feel pressure at being the “man of the house.” She wanted him to focus on his dreams, and so he did, unexpectedly but with tremendous heart and dedication. 

Don’t try to force anyone to fit into a role

Celine’s lovely bond with her son cements her status as a supermom. There are a hundred different ways she could have approached parenting in the wake of her husband’s death, but she persevered to put her children first and extend them the support they need to learn, grow, and mature. Yes, Rene-Charles went behind her back to realize his dreams, but Celine’s delightful reaction tells us that she’ll root for her boys no matter what. She will not try to force them to fit into a “role” — as long as they’re happy, she’s happy. 

Everyone has to encounter death and grief at some point in their life. Instead of adhering to a particular standard or fulfilling a pre-determined role, we should aspire to process our emotions as we see fit and build our life the way we want it. 

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