IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Celine Dion says the love of her kids helps her as she grapples with stiff person syndrome

The singer is a mother to René-Charles and fraternal twins Eddy and Nelson.
/ Source: TODAY

Celine Dion's children give her hope, she says, especially as she grapples with stiff person syndrome.

She discussed the support she's received from her kids, René-Charles and fraternal twins Eddy and Nelson, in an interview with Vogue France published April 22.

When asked what helps her most in her fight against stiff person syndrome, she replied, "Above all, the love of my family and my children, the love of the fans too, and the support of my team. People who suffer from SPS may not be lucky enough or have the means to have good doctors and good treatments. I have those means, and this is a gift.

"What's more, I have this strength within me. I know that nothing is going to stop me," she added.

Celine Dion
Celine Dion and husband René Angélil with their children Nelson and Eddy as babies, and eldest son René-Charles, pictured in 2011. Ethan Miller / Getty Images

In late 2022, the Canadian pop star was diagnosed with stiff person syndrome, a rare neurological condition that can cause severe muscle stiffness and spasms. The cause of the disorder is unknown but it affects women twice as much as men.

"I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better and my precious children, who are supporting me and giving me hope," Dion, 56, said in an emotional Instagram video in December 2022 in which she shared her health news.

Elsewhere in the Vogue France interview, Dion explained how living in Las Vegas has afforded her the opportunity to balance her work life and her life as a mom.

"I had a house in Florida, but as I was traveling a lot when I was touring, we didn’t go there anymore. I had a house in Montreal, but on holiday, the children wanted to go to the beach. I got a home in Las Vegas when my eldest son was one, twenty two years ago today, and we have moved in here.

"I am 35 minutes away from work," she continued. "That gives me the time to get ready to go to work. I can see my team, we joke around with each other, we rehearse singing… And then that gives me the chance to get on the road. I eat in the car, I get home, I see my children, and I can sleep in my own bed. I have the best of both worlds."

Here’s a peek inside the pop star’s close relationship with her three children, whom she shared with husband René Angélil, who died in 2016 after a throat cancer diagnosis. The couple had been married for more than two decades.

Who is Celine Dion's eldest son, René-Charles?

Dion gave birth to René-Charles on Jan. 25, 2001.

The singer recalled the post-birth media circus in a 2019 interview with James Corden on "Carpool Karaoke."

“I’m delivering my first child and I don’t even have him in my arms yet,” she said. “I look to the left, and there’s a TV there and the doctor is announcing, live on television, a beautiful healthy boy, 7 pounds, 8 ounces. And I’m saying to myself, ‘My baby is on television, and I didn’t even hold him yet.’ So I turned it off. I turned off the TV.”

In 2006, Dion told People that she was meant for parenthood.

“I love being a mom — it relaxes me to read stories to him, do finger painting, play with Play-Doh," she said. "I think people have a hard time imagining I can have a normal life, but I do."

Dion said that knowing her son was watching one of her shows gave her stage fright.

"My son was going to be there looking at me as a performer and not as a mom reading stories at bedtime," she said.

That year, Dion told The Associated Press how she handled the separation anxiety in her 5-year-old son when she left for work, saying, "I’ll sing as fast as I can and I’ll call you, OK?”

Dion also shared that she wanted to give René-Charles a normal lifestyle.

“I certainly don’t see him at 5 the way I was at 5, starting something professional,” she told the AP. “I so much want him to be a kid.”

René-Charles, who was named after his father, grew up to be a musician. In 2018, he told the Montreal Gazette that he wanted to succeed on his own, without his mom's influence — so he kept his passion a secret until two of his songs hit the top of the Canadian SoundCloud R&B charts, under his stage name "Big Tip."

"My mom’s the greatest singer of all time and she’s got all these outlets," he said. "I could have been like, ‘Hey mom, I’m kind of into this music stuff, let’s do something about it.’ But I wanted to prove to myself that I’m able to do it. Not just because my mom is who my mom is. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me the most: to make a name for myself.”

Celine Dion with her three sons.
Celine Dion with her three sons.@celindion via Instagram

When his father died in 2016, René-Charles took center stage to deliver a beautiful eulogy.

“Fifteen years is not a long time for a son to get to know his father. You had a busy life but we were communicating through golf, hockey, poker and smoked meat and a lot of other wonderful food, bonding more and more as time went by."

"You left me now with enough good memories of you to share with my younger brothers," added René-Charles. "As they grow older, without you being around, I'll make sure to pass on what I've learned from you."

Who are Celine Dion's twins, Nelson and Eddy?

Dion always wanted to give René-Charles a sibling.

"We hope to be blessed again as parents, that would be amazing," she told "Access Hollywood" in 2009.

In May 2010, Dion announced their second pregnancy, using an embryo that was frozen eight years prior while trying to conceive their first child.

Her twins were born Oct. 23, 2010.

Celine Dion In Paris
Celine Dion with her twin sons Nelson and Eddy in Paris, France, in 2017. Mehdi Taamallah / NurPhoto via Getty Images

A spokesperson for Dion told People that the twins were named after Dion's music producer Eddy Marnay and Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa. "Céline and René want their children to be inspired by their names, because they were so inspired by these men,” said the rep.

In 2017, in the wake of Angélil's death, Dion shared how she and her twins, then 6, helped each other with their grief. "We kiss him every night actually," she told The Sun. "We have a little ritual where we say goodnight to him with a little picture ... and then the kids talk to him."

“I organize myself to not feel lonely,” she added. “So I got myself a huge ... bed and I sleep with my twins. My twins are comforting me a lot. I need them."

Dion has occasionally shared photos of her children, including a rare family pic with all three sons in March in recognition of International Stiff Person Syndrome Awareness Day.