René Angélil

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René Angélil
René Angelil.jpg
René Angélil in 2009
Born (1942-01-16) January 16, 1942 (age 73)
Occupation Singer, manager, director
Years active 1961–2014
Spouse(s) Denyse Duquette (1966-1972)
Anne Renée (1974-1980) (div.)
Celine Dion (1994–present)
Children 6

René Angélil, CM OQ (French pronunciation: ​[ʁɛne ɑ̃ʒelij]; born January 16, 1942) is a Canadian singer and manager. He is the husband and former manager of singer Celine Dion.[1]

Early life[edit]

Angélil was born in Montreal, Québec, Canada, of a father of Syrian descent and a Canadian mother of Lebanese origin.[2] He is Melkite Catholic and studied at College Saint-Viateur (high school), in Outremont and at College André-Grasset (post secondary), in Montreal.[citation needed]


Angélil started out as a pop singer in the 1960s in Montréal, Angélil formed a pop rock group, "The Baronets", with childhood friends Pierre Labelle and Jean Beaulne. They were known as "Québec's Smithtones"[citation needed] by the name of Les Baronnets. This group had some hits in the 1960s as "C'est fou, mais c'est tout" on YouTube (a translation of the Beatles' song "Hold Me Tight") catering to the Quebec market for translations of English-language pop hits from the United Kingdom or the United States. After the dissolution of the group, Angélil and best friend Guy Cloutier began managing artists.

Together they managed the career of two successful Québec entertainers René Simard and Ginette Reno, among many other pop stars of the time. They parted ways in 1981 to each become solo managers. At the end of 1980 (not long after being replaced as Ginette's manager) René heard Celine Dion's demo tape. In 1987 and 1988, he won the Félix Award for Manager of the Year.

In July 2008, Angélil was named the director for the reality television show Star Academie's fourth season, scheduled to start in February 2009.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1966, he married his first wife, Denyse Duquette, with whom he had one son, Patrick Angélil, in 1968. In 1974, he married singer Manon Kirouac, called Anne Renée on the stage:[citation needed] the couple had two children, Jean Pierre Angélil (born 1974) and Anne Marie Angélil (born 1977), whose husband is Quebec singer-songwriter Marc Dupré. On December 17, 1994, he married Celine Dion, whom he met when she was 12. Dion is 26 years younger than Angélil. Their son, René-Charles Dion Angélil, was born January 25, 2001. On August 18, 2009, the couple announced that Dion was pregnant with their second child; three months later it was announced that she had miscarried. On May 30, 2010, Celine Dion's representative announced that Dion was 14 weeks pregnant.[4] On October 23, 2010, Dion and Angélil welcomed fraternal twin boys. The boys were named Eddy Angelil, after Eddy Marnay, who produced Dion's first five albums, and Nelson Angelil, after Nelson Mandela. Angélil is a fan of NHL hockey, and he is a good friend of former Colorado Avalanche president and general manager, Pierre Lacroix.[5]


Angélil suffered a heart attack in 1992 at age 51.[6] He was engaged to Celine Dion and staying with her at a Los Angeles hotel at the time.

In April 1998 doctors in Dallas confirmed that a lump in Angélil's neck was a malignant cancer[citation needed]. He underwent surgery as Dion was booked for her Texas concert[citation needed]. He suffered from throat cancer (resulting in Dion temporarily halting her career to be with him), but has recovered[citation needed]. He appeared in the video for Simple Plan's "Save You" as a survivor of cancer.[7]

In 2009, Angélil reportedly underwent a heart-related medical procedure to deal with "arterial blockage". The procedure had been "planned for months" and was "not heart surgery".[8]

Angélil underwent another surgery December 2013 for throat cancer,[9] with doctors even replacing parts of his tongue to give him the ability to speak[citation needed].

The following June, Angélil stepped down as Dion's manager to focus on his health. However, he has still been involved in business decisions pertaining to his wife's career.[10]

In September 2015, Céline revealed that Angélil's cancer was terminal, and that he had only 'weeks' to live. [11]

Angélil is portrayed in an unauthorized TV biopic about Celine Dion by Toronto actor Enrico Colantoni.[12]

Extortion attempt[edit]

Angélil was accused by Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung of sexual assault stemming from an incident in 2000 that took place in a Las Vegas hotel. These charges were later investigated by Las Vegas police. Although Angélil eventually paid $2 million to settle, Angélil never admitted to doing anything wrong, always maintaining the settlement was to avoid negative publicity that might upset his wife Celine Dion.

Yun and her husband, Ae Ho Kwon, were later arrested in 2003 and charged with trying to extort money from Angélil over a false rape claim. The couple were convicted in 2005.[13]

Defamation suits[edit]

In 2001, Angélil, along with his wife Celine Dion, filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against Quebec tabloid Allo Vedettes' for printing a story alleging the couple paid $5,000 to rent out the swimming pool of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas so that Celine could sunbathe topless and René could go skinny dipping, allegations they strenuously denied[citation needed]. They later withdrew the case, saying it was not a priority in light of the terrorist events of 9/11[citation needed].

Gambling fame[edit]

Angélil is an avid poker player, having qualified for the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, and finishing in the money at the 2007 Mirage Poker Showdown event on the World Poker Tour, a series of high-stakes tournaments. Angélil is also rumored to be a dedicated gambler away from the poker table. He reportedly gambles upwards of $1 million a week at Caesar's Palace, and keeps a line of credit for the same amount at Bellagio.[14][15]

A frenzy of speculation as to how much Angélil spends in casinos was created when Jan Jones, former Las Vegas mayor and high ranking executive at Harrah's Communications, was quoted by a reporter from the London-based newspaper The Observer as saying, "Celine Dion's husband is a big gambler. He probably gambles $1 million in a week, but he can afford to." Caesar's Entertainment, owner company of Harrah's, later stated Jan Jones' allegations were without merit.


  1. ^ Shepherd, Harvey (July 21, 2001). "Celine's son a Greek Melkite like any other: Rene-Charles to receive a combined baptism, first communion, confirmation in Catholic ceremony". The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec). pp. A6. 
  2. ^ À voir à la télévision le samedi 24 mars - Carré d'as "Né dans le quartier Villeray à Montréal d'un père d'origine syrienne et d'une mère québécoise, le jeune Angelil était un leader"
  3. ^ René Angélil prend la tête de l'académie, LCN, July 29, 2008
  4. ^ [1] Archived November 18, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Fleury, Theo; Kirstie McLellan Day (2009). Playing With Fire. HarperCollins. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-55468-239-3. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Video on YouTube
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ WEtv movie Celine
  13. ^ Rape Charge Dropped for Dion's Husband
  14. ^ NickMathiason (January 28, 2007). "Queen of Las Vegas brings her winning streak to Britain | Business | The Observer". London: Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  15. ^ "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man: Rene Angélil". 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2011-05-05.