She felt lost, broken, and lifeless after her husband’s death. That’s when Ryan Reynolds reached out to her with an unforgettable letter that changed her life for the better.

Celine Dion is an undisputed diva, but even the most phenomenal artists need a push every now and then. 

Upon the death of her husband, René Angélil, in January 2016, Celine was grief-stricken and struggling to get back into the routine. René, Celine’s partner of twenty-eight years, left a broken family in his wake: a mother who didn’t know how to mend her heart and three young children who were going to have to get accustomed to a life without their father. 

Not only was René’s death a setback on a domestic level, but it effectively weakened Celine’s professional vigor. She was lost and confused, stifled by a devastating case of writer’s block, and found herself unable to produce music that truly spoke to her. It’s the worst position to be in as an artist, and had she not been connected to Ryan Reynolds at the right time, she might have disappeared from public consciousness altogether. 

So how exactly did Ryan Reynolds convince Celine to maintain faith in her career and keep going?

Celine didn’t know how to restart her career after her husband’s death

Tom Szczerbowski / Stringer

With her husband and her brother dying just two days apart, Celine found herself in a dark, inconsolable place. 

She still had to muster up the strength to get through the funeral services and act as a pillar of support to her grieving boys. When you’re called upon to be a rock, you naturally tend to put your emotions at bay. You stand tall with a straight face and fulfill whatever responsibility is asked of you. Celine did just that, but it tormented her from within. She crumbled in the space of a few months and was not looking forward to continuing with her career. 

Losing my husband, for my kids to lose their father, it was quite something […] You cannot stop living. Go forward.

Celine Dion to Good Morning America

René hadn’t just been her husband for nearly twenty-two years; he was her closest confidante, the father of her children, and her long-term career adviser. He’s the one who discovered her back in the mid-eighties and sought to catapult her into stardom. It was through his resilient, resourceful work ethic and industry experience that Celine was able to make a mark on the scene. When he became sick, Celine put her career on hold to dedicate the entirety of her time and focus on his care-taking. “I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband’s healing,” she said at the time, according to DailyMail. Naturally, upon his passing, Celine didn’t know how to recover her morale and return to the studio.

That is until her fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds asked her to write and record a song for his movie Deadpool 2. On April 3, 2019, Celine announced her album Courage and revealed how Ryan Reynolds inspired her to build strength and take on a new lease in life. He reached out to her with a letter in hopes of getting her to sing for the Deadpool 2 soundtrack. The letter was so profound and powerful that it convinced Celine to shake off the listlessness and approach her comeback with a fresh perspective. The 53-year-old didn’t go as far as to reveal the contents of the letter but rest assured, if it could pull the legendary singer out of a slump, it must have been something phenomenal and intuitive. 

But then Ryan Reynolds changed her mind with a sincere letter

Ryan Reynolds elaborated on his decision to seek Ms. Celion Dion herself for his project while speaking to Cinemablend. He said that the studio usually proffers “a whole bunch of sort of millennial, friendly type singers” for these types of movies, but Ryan knew he wanted to look elsewhere. Of course, he said these singers are incredibly talented, but he wanted to shoot for the goddess herself. “We just thought, ‘Let’s go right to the legend. Let’s see if we can get her,’” he said. He stated the letter delved into Deadpool’s plot structure and his aspirations for the film. It took Celine Dion all of two years to get back to him with a resounding yes. Ryan’s team was so excited they also asked her to partake in a music video, to which she also agreed. 

Ryan’s personal gesture resulted in the song ‘Ashes,’ which ultimately became the centerpiece of the Deadpool 2 soundtrack and reached number one on the U.S. Dance Club chart. Celine said the song represents a reawakening of sorts; like a phoenix who can rise and flourish from the ashes, Celine hoped to reinvigorate herself and “move forward” in the face of trauma and pain. 

We’ve all gone through stuff and in order to keep going we have to look inside ourselves and find the courage to move forward. 

Celine Dion via Forbes

She said her comeback wouldn’t have been possible without her husband’s faith in her, which keeps her thriving and working hard and fighting for her authentic self. In his dying days, René himself told Celine not to compromise on her career and to ensure she’s able to do what she loves with utmost concentration and passion. The entire album was designed to be emblematic of the tragedy she experienced but also the beauty and appreciation that can arise as a result of the devastation. It’s impossible to speculate to which extend Ryan’s letter helped Celine come to grips with René’s loss, but it for sure motivated her to stimulate her creativity and get back on the stage. 

There’s light at the end of the tunnel 

Moving on amid loss seems like an unconquerable mountain, but sometimes, all it takes is a heartfelt effort from someone to help you make peace with the situation. Celine could have crumbled and shattered and lost her wits when her husband and brother died, but she repeatedly held her ground. Ryan’s letter, as unexpected and random it may seem, played a part in empowering her to resume work and keep the wheels turning. Life goes on, and sooner or later, you’ll find a way, a reason, a spark to pull yourself up. The light at the end of your tunnel has always been shining; it’s only up to you how soon you want to get there and bask in it.