René Angélil, music producer and the husband of iconic singer Céline Dion, has died after a long battle with cancer. Here are some things you may not have known about their relationship.
1. Theirs was the epitome of a May-December romance
Seventy-three when he passed, Angélil was 26 years older than Dion, who is now 47. They officially started dating when Dion was just 19 years old, although he later admitted their romantic relationship had actually started about a year prior.
2. Dion’s age when they met might creep you out
Angélil was managing pop groups when he discovered Dion after her brother sent him a tape of her singing at their father’s piano bar. She was just 12 years old at the time; he was 38.
3. Angélil already had two families before he met Dion
Angélil had been married twice before: Once to Denyse Duquette, whom he wed in 1966 and shared a son, Patrick; then to Manon Kirouac in 1974 with whom he had two children, Jean Pierre Angélil and Anne Marie Angélil.
4. They had major infertility issues
It took Dion and Angélil seven IVF attempts to have their children, and they even suffered through a miscarriage. All their effort finally resulted in two pregnancies and three healthy babies, René-Charles and twins Nelson and Eddie.
5. Their wedding was completely over the top
The couple’s extravagant 1994 ceremony at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica was televised and featured the bride in a seven-pound crystal-encrusted headdress, a $25,000 dress with a 20-foot train and fur coat, and a press conference with the happy couple immediately following the ceremony, at a cost of $500,000 — which would be approximately $805,000 today.
6. They made their home in an unusual spot
When Dion landed her huge contract for an as-good-as-permanent gig in Las Vegas and traveling became too much due to Angélil’s health, the pair put their homes in Montreal and Jupiter, Florida, on the market and settled into a small palace in Lake Las Vegas.
7. Angélil took a huge risk to get Dion’s career off the ground
In order to finance her first album, La voix du bon Dieu (“The Voice of the Good God”), Angélil took a second mortgage out on his home. The risk paid off: The album, released in 1981 when Dion was just 12, sold 100,000 copies and launched an incredible career.
8. The couple’s net worth is astronomical
Dion herself is worth approximately $630 million, while Angélil has an individual worth of around $400 million.
9. They owned several businesses together separate from Dion’s performance career
Angélil and Dion owned Nickels Delicatessen and Nickels Grill & Bar before disassociating themselves with the brand in 2007. They also own Le Mirage Golf Club in Montreal and Pure nightclub at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas , as well as Dion’s line of fragrances and other merchandise.
10. Angélil put Dion’s career into the stratosphere
With her husband’s help, between 2000 and 2010, Dion was the highest grossing entertainer in the world. Concert tickets, album sales, merchandise and her various businesses grossed $720 million — $350 million of which came from the Las Vegas residency he negotiated for her.