Celine Dion Cancels Some Performances to Help Her Husband Cope with Cancer Before Starting a Family
Until recently, Celine Dion's [greatest concern was how to put her life as an international pop diva—along with the globe-trotting tours, designer clothes and fan adulation that go with it—on hold to start a family with her husband and manager, René Angélil. But her priorities changed overnight when doctors discovered cancer on Angélil's neck and surgically removed it in early April. "Obviously this is a very delicate time for René and I," said Dion, 31, in an April 7 statement. "René is the biggest priority in my life, and I want to be by his side as he continues his treatment."
Following the surgical procedure, Angélil, 57, began six weeks of radiation therapy to combat the Squamous Cell Carcinoma Metastatic. He'll require regular checkups once the treatment cycle is completed. Radiation, however, should not affect Angélil's all-important goal of fathering a child. (The couple married in 1994 and were hoping to conceive a child next year) "From a medical standpoint," says Dr. Kathleen Behr, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA, "having children is not a problem for patients with similar illnesses." She adds that the treatment need not affect the reproductive area.
Though Angélil's doctor says his prognosis is excellent, Dion, who is in the midst of a year-long world tour, canceled her April 13 to May 7 performances in North America to be with her husband. (She told fans at an April 11 concert in Houston, "Your support means everything to us.") Her brother Michel Dion, who travels with her as an assistant tour director, says that Angélil played golf only days after his surgery and may join his wife when the tour resumes in Europe on May 27. "That's up to him. He's the boss!" says Michel, adding that his sister does not appear overly worried about Angélil's condition. "Or maybe she is," he says, "but she didn't tell me."