Celine Dion


Interviews

Céline on Larry King

26th of March 2002

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, after a dramatic two-year break from show business, Celine Dion is back with the son she calls a miracle, a multi-million-dollar deal in Vegas. How does she find time to have it all? We'll find out, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening and welcome to another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Special show tonight. Celine Dion returns. She has not been with us since November of 1999. This is the historic date, March 26, because today her brand new CD, "A New Day Has Come" -- there you see its cover -- has just been released worldwide. And at the end of the program tonight she will debut for us the title song.

It's always great to see her, the musical superstar, Celine Dion. Thanks for returning.

CELINE DION, SINGER: Hello.

KING: Congratulations to your country on the Olympics.

DION: Thank you.

KING: You won the hockey, you tied for the figure skating.

DION: That's right.

KING: Were you rooting?

DION: Oh, yes. You bet.

KING: Are you pure Canadian when it comes to that?

DION: Oh, yes, man, I love my husband, so when it's time to watch sports I'm right with him.

KING: You're there.

DION: I support him. Oh, yes, I'm there. I've been there for 20 years.

KING: There's so much to talk about.

DION: I know. I know.

KING: Why did you...

DION: It's good to see you again.

KING: Why did you take off? Why did you leave us?

DION: Well, a part of me stayed with you, but I needed to take a long break, I needed to have a normal life for just a little bit. My husband got ill almost three years ago.

KING: Very ill.

DION: Yes. He got cancer. And he needed me more than before. When he told me, you know, "I love you," but he said, "Now I need you." And Rene used to organize everything, the guide, and, "Don't worry, just sing, I'll take care of everything." But when he told me that he needed me, I became a little bit more in charge of taking care of the family and making sure that we stopped planning too, too much ahead and don't forget today. Yesterday, we can't do anything it; tomorrow, we don't know. Today.

KING: What did he have cancer of?

DION: The throat.

KING: How was he able to beat it?

DION: Well, you know, sometimes when something like this happens to you, you have no choice. It's something that you have to go through. Life decided that you're going to get sick, but you still have a choice. How you going to go through with it? Are you going to say, "Why me? I don't understand. What am I going to do? My gosh." Or you going to say, "You know what? I've had a great life so far. Let me take a day at a time. Let me be strong. Maybe I need a wake- up call. I'm going to fight this thing, I'm going to be strong, and I'm going to make sure I take a day at a time, let's go for it." You have no choice.

KING: Was surgery involved?

DION: Surgery involved, chemotherapy, radiation, the whole package deal.

KING: The whole package deal.

DION: The whole thing. And it was hard, it was hard for him, it was hard for the whole family, but we went through with it.

KING: Did you ever think during any of that time that you would lose him?

DION: Of course. Of course. And it made even it more special, to think a day at a time. And even today I'm afraid of losing me, I'm afraid of losing him. Every day becomes a very special day now, and we got to be thankful for that.

KING: Did you miss performing?

DION: I hope I have time to answer it very well.

KING: You have all the time -- you have the hour.

DION: Because no, I didn't miss performing, I did not miss a second of it. Because I didn't really left it completely. When you're home, I don't listen to my own music at home.

KING: This was Florida or Montreal?

DION: It was both. It was Florida and it was Montreal. I listened to music, I watched TV, I watched the others perform, I listened to some other people's music, and I gave space to hear life.

I got very busy. We love to golf together. I was there for my husband, he was there for me. We visited friends and family. And we got pregnant.

KING: We'll get to that. But didn't you miss applause?

DION: No.

KING: Recognition? Standing on a stage? Hearing yourself? No?

DION: I didn't not. I sounds pretty maybe cold for me to say that.

KING: No, weird.

DION: Weird?

KING: Performers perform.

DION: Yes. I started at 5 years old in the kitchen table with my family supporting me. I know where I'm from and I know exactly where I'm going. And maybe I've done it -- for 20 years I've done it so much that I still hear it and it still feeds me very well.

KING: So you didn't need it, to be on the stage?

DION: Well, I didn't need it. I did it a lot. And my family and friends and Rene and the pregnancy fulfilled me with so much love and things that I didn't even have a second to think about it.

KING: Did you always know you'd come back?

DION: Yes. I knew I wanted to come back. I knew I needed to take a break, to empty myself, to fulfill myself with new things, modern things, some things to talk about, things to sing about. For me to take the two years -- and, you know, I remember something. When I started in show business, when I turned 18 years old I wanted to learn English and I wanted to sing in English, and Rene told me, "You've been in show business a long time, since you're 12 years old. You want to have an international career, we have to take a break.

You don't want to bother people like for people to say, "Oh, her again. She's been on the radio, on television, on front pages of newspapers." Too much is too much. If you want to sing and be there all the time, you have to take a break.

And I remember taking like a year off changing my style a little bit because people used to see me as a little girl. If I want to make a change, it's better if I stop a little bit, make the changes I want, and then come back stronger and say, "Oh, the little girl is still there inside of me. But here I am. I'm a grownup." Instead of them going, "Oh, you've got your hair. Oh, the little girl you used to be is no longer there." You got to stop to make a change, and sometimes you need a balance in your life. You have to take a break.

KING: So you've had some history doing that?

KING: And you will be different now?

DION: If I'm different now?

KING: Will you be different now?

DION: I am.

KING: Two years helped?

DION: I am different. This -- I'm sorry to come back to the baby thing. But when somebody so close to you gets sick, and when you give life also, it changes you for the rest of your life.

KING: It sure does.

DION: I will never be the same.

KING: Tell me about the in vitro process, and what that was like.

DION: Well, it's a long process, a lot of patience.

KING: You are how old?

DION: Two years ago, almost two years ago, and it involves a lot of shots.

KING: How old are you?

DION: I'm 33 years old.

KING: So you're young enough to have babies right now.

DION: Oh, if I could, I would have 14 kids like my parents had. But I think I'm a little late for that.

KING: The process was difficult?

DION: Well, the process was not very difficult. It depends. If you want it so bad, it gets easier. You go to New York for two weeks, and you relax. And you give yourself shot after shot after shot and blood tests. The doctor every day. For some people, it might be very hard. But when you want a child and you've been trying for six years, and this miracle baby comes, it's not hard. And every night, I gave myself a shot. And it's big needles like this in the muscle.

And I said to Rene, you're going to come with me to the bathroom. You're going to give me the alcohol little pad that's going to help me to do this. I didn't want a nurse. I wanted to do it myself, and every night I said to him, not, "Let's go and give ourselves a shot." No. "Let's go and feed the baby." We went into the bathroom. I gave myself those shots, pffff, right into the muscle. I fed the baby every night, and I think he heard me.

KING: We'll be right back with Celine Dion on this edition of Larry King Live. Remember, the CD is out today, "A New Day Has Come." You're going to hear the title song later. Don't go away.

KING: We're back with Celine Dion and we're discussing the coming to the world of Rene-Charles.

DION: RC.

KING: You call him RC, like the Cola.

(LAUGHTER)

DION: No, no. We call him Rene-Charles.

KING: Did you know it was going to be a boy?

DION: Yes, we knew.

KING: And it had to be delivered caesarean?

DION: Yes. I went through labor for 24 hours. And then, they said to me, "The baby's a little tired. The umbilical cord is two time around his neck. Let's go for it." I said, "No problem. I'm ready." It took 10 minutes.

Rene took him in his arms. And you know what he said to me? That I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life. He said to me, you know, "Celine, I love this kid the first day that I found out you were pregnant." He said, "Having him now in my arms, I never knew I was going to love him that much that it was possible." And he said, "I almost lost my life. And now, I'm giving life." And we both cried.

KING: He's an adorable little boy.

DION: Yes. Of course, for us, like every parent, he's the most intelligent, he's the most beautiful, he's the most prettiest. You think the same of your children. I think the same of mine. I think that it's normal.

KING: Is he a good baby?

DION: He's a very good baby. He's got lots of guts. His character is very -- he is very soft, but at the same time he's got like a...

KING: I wonder where he got that from?

DION: What are you saying?

KING: He has good genes on both sides.

DION: Oh, yes. While I was pregnant, the one thing I said to myself -- two things I said to myself, "Well, two things I know for sure. He won't be blond and he won't have blue eyes." That's for sure. He's almost blond and he's got the eyes of the sky.

KING: Did you ever think of adopting?

DION: It went through my mind very quick. Never meant to think about it, but it went through my mind. I don't hide it. Yes.

KING: Of course, I know people have adopted. It's wonderful.

DION: Why not. It's children. It's human being. It's love. It's making a difference in somebody's life. Yes, of course, I thought...

KING: All right. What's motherhood like for you?

DION: You know, Larry, what I want the most right now, of course, my album, my record is fun.

KING: You got this deal coming in Vegas. We got to talk about that.

DION: Yes. I'm very happy. I love to sing. I mean, it's not a new thing. It's part of me. I love to sing. And I love to be here and see my friends again and that's great.

But I hope, what I hope the most is to be more successful as a mother than in show business, because to be a mother is the most difficult I will ever have to do.

KING: You ain't kidding.

DION: The most rewarding, though, and the most important. Nobody said it was going to be easy. But I want to be successful as a mother. No matter what I have to do. There's not even a decision. I'm not even going to think about, I will do.

KING: This baby gets lullabied, I guess. Do you sing to him? Oh, my gosh.

DION: You know what? The first months of his -- because I sang to him while I was pregnant in the shower. You know, he got the stereo, mono, he got it all. But when I started to sing for him when he was a couple of months old and he -- when I sing to him he cries.

KING: I'm sure you got a gorgeous -- he's hearing the sound...

KING: So what do you sing?

DION: So I just hum. And it's the new song just for him every night and he's OK with that.

KING: You tell "Redbook" magazine in the April issue, "It's difficult to have a love affair when you breast feed. It's all for your child, not your husband." You also said, "Sometimes you don't feel sexy or so passionate or so hot." Is that true? Did I quote it correctly?

DION: You what when you do interviews -- that's why I said, "Do I have time to answer?" Because sometimes you start talking about something, they shorten the answer.

KING: Print interviews. See, here we can't do that.

DION: Yes, print interviews.

KING: What were you getting at?

DION: When you are a new mother, your body is -- you're not in control totally. You're not going to put your little sexy things and your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and you come and say, "Want to hit the road with me, baby?" You're not going to go for that. You're breast feeding every two hours. Milk is like it end of two valves, like the milk is coming out of your breast, which is a fantastic thing.

But its like -- it's not a toy. This is the milk of the baby. It was like from here to here, "Do not disturb. We're busy."

(LAUGHTER)

Any way, I can talk a long time about it. But everything's OK now. Everything's great.

KING: Nieces and nephews, you've got 30, right?

DION: Rene-Charles is the 30th. I stopped counting.

KING: So you're used to babies being around. You're used to having them around.

DION: I've seen diapers. And believe me, my mother is right. What's in the pooh-pooh is like the Bible. The truth is in there.

KING: Now, we move to a tragic day, September 11. The baby is, I guess, eight, nine months old. Where were you that morning?

DION: I was in Rosemere. It's near Montreal. I was at my parent's place.

KING: Were you up or did they have to wake you?

DION: We were up. And we were watching...

KING: Television.

DION: ... television. And, of course, like everybody else...

KING: Was the baby with you?

DION: No. The baby was sleeping. And like everybody else, we thought it was a nightmare. And it is a nightmare. But we thought it was not real. We got very nervous about the what we were seeing on television. And I started to cry. And Is aid, "I can't believe." How can we raise children into this world. I ran downstairs. I looked at my son sleep. I came back up. And I said, I answered to myself, "I know why. It's unfortunate that these things happen."

But children, they hold the truth. They have -- I think that life has a secret, and children they hold that secret. Maybe it's not given to everybody to discover this thing. But they hold the secret of life. When you are surrounded by children, the child in you comes back. And people who do such bad things in the world like this -- they're probably not around kids a lot.

They don't hear about music, because I think music is a very good thing. And babies hold the truth. So I think they should go back to babies and music, and they should -- I don't know. But I look at my son, and I felt bad at one point that he was there. But at the same time, I said you all...

KING: What happened, because they were all babies once?

DION: I don't know. What happened?

KING: Celine Dion, musical superstar. We're going to talk about lots of things including this incredible deal she has in Las Vegas. Don't go away.

KING: We're back with Celine Dion. Soon after September 11 -- in fact, September 21 -- you appeared on the tribute to heroes telethon. You closed the telethon.

DION: Yes.

KING: Sang "God Bless America."

DION: That's right.

KING: David Foster, I think.

DION: Yes, correct.

KING: You said -- or it was said, "Why did they have a Canadian sign 'God Bless America'?"

DION: Yes.

KING: How did you feel?

DION: First of all, I felt very flattered and honored. I was asked to go into a recording studio with David and record the song, and they were going to come and film me, and they were going to pass the tape on the television, for which, of course, I didn't even think about if I wanted to do it and go, and I did it.

A couple of hours passed by and the whole thing changed and all the artists had to be there live. And I said, "Rene," I said, "I don't want to go. I don't want to go because I'm afraid that we're going to die. I can't bring my child. I'm going to leave him for the first time."

KING: You were afraid of security at the building you were in?

DION: Security -- I'm going to go to New York, take the plane and never come back. Something's going to explode over there or I don't know. And I was going to leave my son for the first time. And then Rene tried to calm me a little bit and say, "Hear me here. OK. Nervous. Rene Charles is going to be just fine. He's going to have a bottle. Everything's OK. We're going to go back and forth. We have to do this."

And then I paused, and I think about it. I didn't have a choice. It's a responsibility. I had to go. And I'm glad I went. I went there, I was scared. I was honored.

And then, you know what? As a Canadian, as a Quebecois (ph), or as an American, or as whatever nationality you are, I don't think it has anything to do with where you're from. It's a responsibility of a human being, to get together and be strong and tall and stand up and say, "It's going to be OK. Everything is going to be OK." And it was a responsibility of a human being. I lived this and I went through this as painful as anybody else. Took the plane, I went there, I sang the best I could, and I'm glad I went.

And it was wonderful to see everybody backstage, from actors to singers, performers, any style, not different dressing rooms for everybody, with bodyguards and who's going to get the biggest dressing room. No. A green room, everybody getting together, holding hands, without saying anything. And so you're next. All right. "We're with you, we'll be watching." It was incredible.

KING: You're glad you did it?

DION: Oh, no doubt.

KING: An honor to have closed it, right?

DION: Very honored that they asked me to be part of it, yes.

KING: And America is the Americas. Canada is in North America the last time I checked, and a pretty good place, by the way.

DION: (OFF-MIKE)

KING: What's the deal in Vegas?

DION: It's a great one.

KING: Have your own room? You're Siegfried and Roy?

DION: That's right. Siegfried and Roy.

KING: What is the deal? It's at Caesar's right?

DION: It's going to be at the Caesar's Palace. And I have to tell you a little bit of the story behind it.

KING: Please.

DION: It's a long story, but I'll make it quick. Two years ago I went to Vegas and I was going to do a show at the Caesar's Palace, just before I was going to take my two years off. And for the year 2000, the new year, I wanted to bring my whole family. And what are we going to do for year 2000 with my family? I'm not going to be with them. So we rent a plane, we flew everybody to Vegas...

KING: Millennium.

DION: ... we'll have special week.

KING: I remember when you were going.

DION: That's right. And we all went together to see the Cirque d'Soleil "O."

KING: The "O" show.

DION: The "O."

KING: I haven't seen it. I hear it's...

DION: Oh, you haven't seen it? You got to go.

KING: Rene was telling me...

DION: Oh! It changed my life. It changed my way of seeing performance. I looked at Rene the second that the show started, the curtain opened, disappeared. It didn't go backstage, it didn't go up in the air, it disappeared. I looked at Rene, I said, "I want a show like that." He looked me the corner of his eye like, "I understand.

I would like a show like that, too, but you can't move with a show like this, you can't travel with a show like this, it's too big. The effects, the decors and the magic and it's impossible, technically impossible, to travel with. So let's move, move to Vegas.

Make a long story short. After the show, I was so impressed. I wanted to go backstage, and I wanted to look into the eyes of every performer. There was 50, 60, 70 performers, and I wanted to talk to them. I wanted to say how great they are, and how great this show was. And Franco Dragone, who put this whole show together apparently was touched by the fact that I went backstage. He wrote me a letter, and he said that he was touched by the fact that I went backstage. And that he saw my show at the Stade de France, the Stadium of France, and that he saw my show there for the 90,000 people, and he loved the show. Blah blah blah, OK. And finally that he would have loved -- he would have been honored to maybe be part of my next show, doing something with me. It didn't come here and left this other year. It stayed right there for Rene (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He says, "Franco (ph) would love to meet you." He came home in Florida. We met. We talked. We are -- we became friends. And the Caesar's Palace were very interested in having us, and they were ready to build a colosseum of 4,000 seaters.

KING: A colosseum?

DION: A colosseum, yes, at Caesar's Palace.

KING: And it's your room?

DION: It's our room.

KING: And how many nights a week -- how many nights a year will you...

DION: 200 shows per year, five shows a week, and...

KING: How many on the cast?

DION: It'll be 60 performers on stage.

KING: You're in the middle of all this singing, and doing your Presley already. Look at this. Close in -- she does an Elvis look.

DION: That's right. Thank ya very much.

KING: When does this open?

DION: In March. At the end of March. I'm not sure about the date, but it's at the end of March, 2003. KING: Next year.

DION: Next year. Can't wait.

KING: And you're going to live in Vegas.

DION: I can't wait, because I wanted to do a special show...

KING: How many years are you're committed to then?

DION: Three years. I wanted to have and come back and do a special show. I don't want to go on tour and sing one song into the another and have the blue lights and red lights and yellow lights -- I want to have a visual experience.

KING: When you're not there, will other people perform in the room?

DION: I don't know. Maybe some boxer or something like that.

KING: They'll use it for events? The colosseum?

DION: Oh yes, they will. They will. They will.

KING: Are you in the Round?

DION: No, I won't be. It's going to be a very intimate show.

KING: For 4,000?

DION: I'm not going to go "Viva Las Vegas!" I'm going to do it like this...

KING: An intimate show for 4,000?

DION: For 4,000 people.

KING: It happens in a year. Celine Dion is our guest. Her new CD -- we'll ask about that. "A New Day Has Come," we'll ask about it. Don't go away.

KING: We're back with the wonderful Celine Dion. Golly. Business changed much in your two years you been away?

DION: I think the music industry changed.

DION: I guess, sort of the better. I guess. I was -- I mean, listening to some music at home from Britney Spears and to Destiny's Child, which is a positive and great thing, but the rap thing I'm a little afraid of this. I mean, I like the beat. It's good. But sometimes I have to be careful about the lyrics.

I think it's, you know what? When your a singer it's not only to sing and then we try to have a hit here, there's a responsibility of what you sing. Some people are being influenced. You enter people's life with some music. There intimacy. So whatever you sing you got to be careful sometime with lyrics that are, maybe, too little bit heavy. You have to be careful. But I think the industry change a little bit.

I was not ready to do the big jump and come back with a rap album, even though the music changed and, maybe, there's a little less of a ballad and romantic music. But to me, I need for me to do some ballads and romantic music, still.

KING: Tell me about this CD. We'll hear the title song, "A New Day Has Come." How do you select your music?

DION: I receive about 1,000 songs a year.

KING: I bet.

DION: And I have a great team with me selecting and hearing everything. They know me very well.

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