Celine Dion insiders worry about who is ‘looking after her’

Along the Las Vegas strip, rumors have been rife about Celine Dion’s health.

It’s a small town, and, for 15 years the Canadian songbird was its sequined queen as she warbled to millions of fans.

After all, as Vegas journalist Scott Roeben said of her legendary residency at Caesars Palace: “This is the house that Celine built.”

“People had been telling me for some time that Celine would not be returning to live to perform — maybe ever at all,” Roeben told Page Six.

Dion, who owes much of her estimated $470 million fortune to Vegas shows, put an end to the gossip this week with an emotional video posted to social media. The singer announced that she has been diagnosed with a neurological disorder known as stiff person syndrome and will be postponing or canceling her shows.

A picture of Celine Dion in 2019.
Dion announced this past week that she is suffering from a neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome, which has caused her to have to cancel or postpone her live appearances.
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“I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time, and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through,” she said.

“Recently I have been diagnosed with a very rare neurological syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people,” she continued, explaining that the side effects have been brutal.

Dion (left, in 1980) and future husband Rene Angélil.
Dion (left, in 1980) met her manager and future husband Rene Angélil when she was 12 and he was 38.
ullstein image via Getty Images
A picture of Rene Angelil and Celine Dion.
They started dating seven years later. Angélil (right, in 2004) passed away in 2016, leaving Dion without her “touchstone.”
WireImage for ABC Television Network

Dion, now 54, first announced in October 2021 that she had to postpone her new Las Vegas residency at Resorts World because of “severe” muscle spasms — just a month before she was due to take to the stage. Months later, she canceled her North American tour and postponed her European tour.

Stiff person syndrome causes stiffness and spasms in the trunk and limbs, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Over time, leg muscles become stiff followed by muscles in the arms and face.

A picture of Celine Dion leaving the Alexandre Vauthier fashion show in, 2019 in Paris, France.
Dion first announced in October 2021 that she had to postpone her Las Vegas residency because of “severe” muscle spasms that have been connected to stiff person syndrome.
GC Images

The “Power of Love” singer said the condition has made it difficult to walk and has prevented her from singing the way she’s “used to.”

“All I know is singing,” she said. “It’s what I’ve done all my life, and it’s what I love to do the most.”

Dion, seen here at the 2019 Met Gala.
Dion, seen here at the 2019 Met Gala, said the condition has made it difficult to walk — and sing.
Getty Images for The Met Museum/

“When it’s Celine, it’s not what you do, it’s who you are,” Roeben said of her love of performing. “To have it taken away, it’s even more tragic.

“My sources believe she may not be able to return to the stage. After that initial talk of struggling with muscle spasms, we started hearing about how serious things were, but Celine is the type of person who doesn’t want people to be unnecessarily concerned: Her fans are obsessed with every breath she takes. They hang on every word.”

Dion has made it no secret that she has struggled since the loss of her husband and manager René Angélil, who died following a lengthy battle with throat cancer in January 2016. As Dion has said, he was the only man she ever kissed, and it was Angélil who helped her negotiate her first residency with Caesars in 2003. Since then her residencies have grossed $681.3 million, according to AEG.

A picture of Celine Dion in Montreal, Canada in 1987.
Dion is a native of Quebec, Canada.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

One insider who knew the couple told Page Six: “Since René died, it’s been very difficult. He hasn’t been there to protect Celine. He was her touchstone, he looked after everything for her. Celine relied on him for everything — her management, her finances, her music production — and things have gone downhill since his passing.

“I’m not sure exactly who she has in her corner looking after her anymore, or if they have her best interests at heart,” the insider said, adding: “It’s true — she may not ever be able to perform live again. “

As Page Six revealed in 2019, there were fears that a new crowd of friends, including “best friend” and former backup dancer Pepe Muñoz, had too much control over Dion.

Son René-Charles is a rapper and DJ who uses the stage name Big Tip.
Dion’s son, René-Charles, is a rapper and DJ, who uses the stage name Big Tip.
Todd Williamson/BBMAs2016
A picture of Celine Dion and her twins, Nelson and Eddy, at Disneyland.
Twins Nelson and Eddy were born after Dion went through six rounds of IVF.
Getty Images

“Pepe is like her boy toy who is really trying to take over. He’s isolating her and people are feeling it. She’s in love with this guy and listens to everything he’s saying. People go to him when they have questions. He’s completely taken over. The only people around her now [are] Pepe, the hairdresser, and the stylist,” said a source at the time.

Muñoz, who is married to artist Brayden Newby, has not posted any recent images of Dion on his Instagram account and was unavailable for comment.

Dion met Angélil in 1980 in their native Quebec, Canada. The music manager, who was 38 and married with three children, gave up all his other acts and remortgaged his house to turn Dion, then 12 years old, into a star.

Celine Dion performed at the Shoreline Amphitheater on August 29, 1996 in California.
After years of dating in secret, Dion revealed the romance between her and René Angélil in the liner notes of her 1993 album, “The Color of My Love.”
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The couple started secretly dating when Dion was 19 and Angélil was 45. After years of keeping their love under wraps, Dion revealed the romance in the liner notes of her 1993 album, “The Color of My Love,” writing: “René, for so many years I’ve kept our special dream locked away inside my heart. But now it’s too powerful to keep inside’.”

I’m not sure exactly who she has in her corner. . . or if they have her best interests at heart. . . she may never be able to perform live again.’

Insider on Celine Dion

The couple married in December 1994 with a lavish ceremony at the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal that was broadcast live on Canadian TV.

It was the first marriage for Dion and the third for Angélil, who was previously married twice. Their son René-Charles was born in January 2001 after fertility treatments. Following six rounds of IVF, Dion gave birth to twin sons Nelson and Eddy in October 2010.

Singer Celine Dion and Pepe Munoz are seen on Place Vendome on July 01, 2019 in Paris, France.
In 2019, sources told Page Six that former back-up dancer Pepé Munoz was “isolating” Dion from others.
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Celine Dion posed for pictures on the streets in Soho, NYC, in 2020.
Insiders worry about when — and if — Dion will be able to perform in public again.
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Angélil was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999 and Dion took a two-year hiatus from performing to care for her husband.

After having a tumor removed from his throat in December 2013, Angélil was diagnosed with cancer once again in 2014. Once again, Dion also stepped back from her career in order to focus on caring for him.

“I’ll say, ‘You’re scared? I understand. Talk to me about it,’ ” the singer said. “And René says to me, ‘I want to die in your arms.’ Okay, fine, I’ll be there, you’ll die in my arms.” Angélil died on Jan. 14, 2016, just two days before his 74th birthday.

Celine Dion's house in Henderson, Nevada.
The singer owns this Henderson, Nevada, and the property next door.
SplashNews.com

The singer has said her greatest pride remains her children but admitted she had struggled with René-Charles, now a rapper and DJ who goes by the stage name Big Tip.

“If you say no to so many things they will turn around and they will still do them away from you, which is even scarier,” she told The Sun. “The girls are coming now — something to be stressed about. I am giving him more space. He does stuff sometimes, I have to say I don’t necessarily agree with what he chooses to try. But as long as he’s using his intelligence and his brain, I trust him.”

She added, however, “I know he’s well taken care of above — his dad is sending him good energy.”

Celine Dion at the 59th GRAMMY Awards in California.
“She’s just kind of disappeared,” said a source in Las Vegas, where Dion used to be regularly spotted.
FilmMagic

Since her husband’s death, it has been unclear to whom Dion could turn. Muñoz, 38, was pictured by her side as she embraced a new high-fashion image, turning to designers including Valentino. “Yeah, there’s another man in my life but not THE man in my life”, she told The Sun in 2019.

Dion was also aware of concern for her health among devoted fans due to her significant weight loss. She put it down to ballet lessons four times a week and training with Muñoz, telling ABC News in 2019: “It’s true that I’m a little thinner. Everything’s fine, nothing’s wrong.”

Sources said, however, that the singer continues to struggle without her husband.

L'Oreal Paris celebrated Celine Dion as the brand's newest global spokesperson in 2019.
Before announcing her illness, Dion had said her weight loss was due to ballet and other exercises.
Getty Images for L’Oreal Paris

She is rarely seen out and about in Vegas, where she lives after selling a $45 million mansion in Florida as well as her Montreal residence.

Roeben said that, a few years ago, people in Vegas would “spot Celine out and about with her entourage. But, for this very long stretch of time, nobody has shared even a paparazzi photo or a fan photo. She just kind of disappeared.”

The Grammy-award-winning star’s spring 2023 shows have now been pushed to 2024, and she canceled eight planned summer 2023 shows.

Celine Dion and her children standing in front of the coffin of their late husband and father, Rene Angelil.
Dion is raising sons René-Charles (second from left) and twins Nelson and Eddy alone and has said she has struggled.
Andre Pichette/EPA/Shutterstock

Meanwhile, “It’s All Coming Back to Me,” a romantic drama in which Dion is set to make her acting debut, has been postponed from February to May 2023, a source who knows Dion told Page Six.

The film stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas as a woman struggling to move on from the death of her fiancé, played by Sam Heughan. Dion plays herself in the movie, which also features her music.

“Celine said she will be unveiling new songs for the movie,” said Dion’s source. “But whether she does press or not for it [remains to be seen].”

Still, the source added: “Celine is really tough. She’ll be OK.”

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