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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Celine Dion: The November 22, 1999 Interview

Aired April 7, 2001 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, she's the pop sensation who stepped out of the spotlight at the peak of her career. Celine Dion, next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Thanks for joining us. Superstar Celine Dion was riding an incredible wave of success in November of 1999. She'd won about every music award there was, and sold a couple of gazillion albums, the world at her feet.

The Canadian diva decides to walk away, at least for awhile. Celine, and her husband Rene, join me shortly after announcing this stunning move. And my first question, why good-bye?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

CELINE DION: Why good-bye?

KING: Why good-bye?

DION: Well, maybe to come back and say good hello, maybe, for -- but, you know, I just wanted to take a long break, take a break and have a normal life for awhile. There's so many things I want to do.

I've been realizing, you know, when you're 18 and 21 and 22, you hold on to your dream. But when you grow older, you have more experience, and I don't want to hold on to a dream anymore. I want to hold on to my roots, my origins, my family, my friends.

As a woman, I've been a singer, I've been -- this has been my life...

KING: Since?

DION: Since, for 18 years, at least. But, I need to, my soul and my heart needs to talk and I need to become a woman. I need simple things. I need to cook. I need to see -- to walk in the rain and see natures and maybe have kids. Be at home with Rene, travel the world, maybe, but as a tourist. Play golf, have no pressure.

Because, for 18 years I've been a very, very disciplined person. Training my voice, only my voice, only my voice. No dairy products and eating different types of food because when you sing it's a different diet, and I'm a little tired of being, to have this discipline now. KING: How long is awhile?

DION: Good-bye for at least two years, because there's so many things I want to do and I'm wondering if I'm going to have enough time in two years to do everything I want to do. But, at least two.

KING: Was this is a touch decision to make?

DION: Absolutely not.

KING: Not?

DION: Absolutely not difficult.

KING: Is it your decision?

DION: Yes.

KING: Period? In other words, you told Rene?

DION: Well, it was our decision. It was my decision, but we talked about it. We are a team. Rene and I...

KING: He's your manager and your husband, right?

DION: He is especially my husband and my second-half. Rene and I, we're number one, we're one, that's what I mean. Like, we, both of us, we're just one person, and I've been married to my manager for almost five years, and he's been married to his singer. And when he got ill not too long ago, for the first time in my life I had two months off. We were supposed, we were supposed to stop anyway, before this happened to him, before "The Titanic," we were supposed to take a year off, at least. And then "The Titanic" happened, and then we postponed everything, keep posting everything.

But now, after what happened to him, it was another great reason why to stop. But, two months, for the first time, I was with him, and I loved it. And I've met my husband.

KING: Did he readily agree to this two year hiatus?

DION: He cannot wait. He cannot wait.

KING: Because, if he's the manager, that means he's not working either, for the two years, because he works with you.

DION: Exactly. He's not going to be working. We're going to be spending time together.

KING: Did anyone try to talk you out of this? Concert promoters? Record people?

DION: You know what, I'm surprised. Not at all. Because everybody that I work with, they're kind of a family to me. We've been working together for many, many years, and every time, like, the last tour I did, they all came to me and they all said to me that they were happy for me and that I deserved it. And I think they...

KING: And I tell you, you worked hard. I mean, in the middle of a concert tour, you did my party at Gallo last year for the Cardiac Foundation in Washington.

DION: It's been a year already? I can't believe it.

KING: A year-and-a-half.

DION: A year-and-a-half?

KING: A year in November.

DION: I can't believe it.

KING: Ricky Martin worked this year. How do we top the two of you? But, I mean, you worked, right? You like singing? You told me that last year. You like to sing.

DION: I love singing. And whatever I had to do to do a good show and to be totally in top shape vocally, I would do it. And I would stop talking three weeks, a week, ten days, three days, I would do everything in my power to be in top shape.

KING: Do you not think you're going to miss that?

DION: I'm going to miss that. There's no doubt about it. I'm going to miss singing. I'm going to miss not everything in show business, but I'm going to miss to be on stage and sing for the people, because they give me a show every night. They entertain me every night.

KING: You get as much out of it as they do.

DION: Absolutely. We're a team. And I'm going to miss them.

KING: OK. Rene's illness had to play a big part in this. So, let's discuss that. He'll come on later in the show. He was diagnosed with throat cancer, right?

DION: That's right.

KING: When?

DION: In March. Actually, he got the surgery...

KING: How were you told?

DION: ... the 30th of March, my birthday.

KING: How were you told?

DION: We both had a cold a couple of weeks before that. And he was getting better, he was getting better but he still was coughing and, to make a long story short, we were traveling. I was touring. He was in a plane with me... KING: By the way, Rene is going to be on at the end of the show and he's watching this now, so...

DION: I'm really happy. He's very excited about that.

KING: ... occasionally we'll see shots of him.

DION: You know, he loves you.

KING: There's one, there he is.

DION: Yeah.

KING: I love him.

DION: You look wonderful, hon.

KING: OK.

DION: He noticed a bump on the right side, in the plane, like that. And I said, "Honey, maybe because you still have that cold -- when you swallow," and I know a lot about neck, here. And I said, "Let me press that." I said, "Does it hurt"? He said no. I said, "Let me touch the other side." And I was expecting a bump on the other side, like a sore throat or something. I said, "It doesn't hurt." I said, "Don't worry about it. Let's wait until tomorrow."

I was a little concerned about it, but I didn't make a story of it. Like, I just forget about it. The next day he saw a doctor who came at the hotel just for a checkup and he said...

KING: Where was this?

DION: In Dallas. And he said, "It doesn't look so good," but he said, "I would like you to see a doctor."

So, we got nervous about it. We went to bed and the next day I had a show. I can't remember where was the show, I lost it a little bit. But, I was touring and he was supposed to come with me and he said, "I'm going to go to the hospital, and come and join me in the afternoon and we'll go to the airport together," but he said, "I got to go for an appointment earlier."

He went to see the doctor and I went to meet him...

KING: Where was this?

DION: It was in Dallas, at the Astrodome. And then he says, "We have to open to see what it is, but it doesn't look so good."

KING: Did they do that there in Dallas?

DION: They did that in Dallas and...

KING: Biopsy?

DION: Biopsy. And Rene said to me, "I want you to go on with the show tonight."

Of course, I wanted to be with him so bad, but I didn't want to put more pressure on him, because we still didn't know what it was. And I kept thinking positive and I said, "OK, I'm going to go do the show. You do a good show, too, right here. I'm coming back."

I did the show and I came back and we found out...

KING: All in a day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Coming up, Celine Dion discusses her husband's battle with cancer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

KING: We're back with Celine Dion. OK. You do the concert, back to the hospital. They do the biopsy.

DION: Back to the hospital, that's right.

KING: And then what?

DION: And then they letting us know that it's cancer.

KING: When did they tell you? In the morning?

DION: The next day, in the morning, yeah.

KING: How did they tell you that?

DION: I stayed with -- after my concert, when I joined him back at the hospital, I -- we were with a couple of friends. And then at one point he said to me, go to bed, you know, like, you have shows to do. I want you to rest.

I stayed with him, I think, around, till three or four in the morning. And then Pierre Lacroix one of our friends, he stayed at the hospital with Rene and I went back to the hotel.

And Coco, his wife, she came to the hotel with me. And she said, "See, everything is OK. Don't worry about it."

So, I slept for a couple of hours and then she woke me, like maybe three hours later. She took my face, like this, and she said, "Your husband needs you. We just got the news." It was bad news, but when she said to me my husband needs me, I knew it was not going to be good news, and I never got dressed so fast in my whole life.

KING: What's your first reaction to hearing that? Do you fear the worse?

DION: I remember my body all shaking. But I didn't cry. I was not frustrated. I was not angry. I couldn't wait to get to the hospital and to comfort him.

Everybody thought I was probably going to fall on the floor and just go crazy, they were there to support me. To get ready and say, oh, my God, you know. And I don't know why, but I felt so strong.

KING: How did you react, then, to all these tabloids and, he's dying, he's got a day to live, and Celine rushes in the waking hours, last rites.

DION: I don't pay attention to this at all.

KING: You knew it was happening, didn't you? I mean, everyone must have been asking you...

DION: Oh, yeah, I think I am starting to get a sense of show business, a little bit and I know what they're going to do with us. They're -- it's their work, but I don't need to follow this. I don't need to read this. I didn't, don't want to follow this at all.

I know what we went through, what he went through, especially, in which feeling we are now, and what we're looking for words to, no tabloids, no newspaper is going to tell us what's going to happen.

KING: How quick, how long after that did they do the surgery?

DION: The next day. They did two times. They opened, they checked it out, they said it's bad. And the next, actually, within 24 hours they cleaned it up nicely again, to make sure there's nothing left.

KING: Was there a period of time, though, after the surgery, where there's a lot of worry? Do they tell you whether it took or do they tell you right away, it looks like we got it?

DION: The doctors he had, Rene, were unbelievable. They were very positive and they said, "We cleaned it up. There's nothing more. It's clean. He has nothing. Don't worry about it. Get out of here. You're OK. You can walk. Get out of here."

And I've got to tell you, it's been - a lot of people go through this, OK. We're not the first people and, unfortunately, not the only ones. But, it's, I got to tell you, Larry, only positive things came out of this thing.

KING: Only positive? You got closer to him?

DION: It changed our lives. It changed his, it changed mine. We stopped planning the future. We live one day at a time. Everything is so intense. I never thought I could love him more, and I don't think he thought he could love me more. I know I'm his favorite singer in the world, but...

KING: Is it true now, whenever you sing your famous signature song, you think of him now?

DION: All the love songs, I think of him. He's my soul. When I reach down, this is for him. But, he needs me now. And that's the whole difference in the world. He needs me. I'm not only, he doesn't only think I'm cute and I'm a good singer and he loves me. He needs me and I can make a difference in his life. And that makes me feel wonderful.

KING: Other changes. Are you trying to have a baby?

DION: Not now, but we will try to work on this seriously after my work.

KING: Why not now? You mean, you didn't want...

DION: OK. Let's go.

KING: I mean, you didn't want, I mean...

DION: I...

KING: You could get pregnant before New Year's Eve.

DION: Oh, nothing's stopping us. But, I'm the kind of person, I don't know why it's like this, but my nature is like that. My body knows that it's one thing at a time. And I'm so stressed, because everything I do, I give my whole self. So much...

KING: You're going to be some mother.

DION: Me, you think so? I hope so.

KING: Would you adopt if you couldn't have children?

DION: Never really thought of it, but some people ask me the question, and maybe. I keep every book open.

KING: Why not? It's...

DION: Why not? I keep every book open, sure. But, let's have fun first, let's give it a try.

KING: So, in other words, when you're going to be a mother, you'll be 100 percent mother, like you're 100 percent singer...

DION: Big time. Big time. You can count on me for that.

KING: Back with more Celine Dion on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be taking your calls as well. Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

KING: Lucky guy.

We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. These things were printed, so I have to ask them. That you have anorexia. That was printed somewhere. You've heard this.

DION: Oh, yeah. Many times.

KING: Do you eat?

DION: I do eat. You know, every time something like this, like, if you talk about it, people who think I'm anorexic, they will think that now I'm trying to defend myself because it's true. If I don't talk about it, it's because I'm trying to hide something. What's my position? What should I say? You know...

KING: There's no win.

DION: No. There's no win.

KING: All you've got to do is say no.

DION: To you, no, I am not. I am not...

KING: Doesn't it drive you crazy, to see where these things start from?

DION: You know what? I think, yeah, but, yeah...

KING: Maybe you're too, you look too good. You look slim.

DION: I'm lucky in my weight.

KING: But you've always been thin.

DION: I've been thin all my life. My brother is skinny like a toothpick. I'm thin all my life. I'm lucky I can, I can wear different clothing and I feel in top shape, and it's alright. But, I mean, no, I eat anything I want and I'm just lucky like that.

KING: Another widespread rumor was that your husband, when he got this report, had frozen sperm so that you could have a baby in case something happened. True?

DION: When you go through chemotherapy and radiation, it kills the bad thing, but it kills the good things too. And we had to go through some procedures like that to make sure that our hope for the future...

KING: Was that after the surgery, they did chemotherapy?

DION: It was after the surgery and before the chemotherapy.

KING: So, you did freeze some sperm? It's not a bad idea.

DION: It's not a bad thing at all.

KING: It's his baby.

DION: Hey, come on, it's right there waiting for us. I'm ready for it.

KING: You, this concept of needing, him needing you and you having to be there. You don't think it's going to lead to "I did this for you" kind of thing? On those nights when you miss the applause?

DION: Oh, no.

KING: Come on, Celine, you're going to miss the applause. Applause is habit forming.

DION: Well, Rene is probably one of my best, my best critic and he's a fan. So, honey, I'm going to sing for him at home. But, no, of course, I'm going to miss that, Larry. I'm going to miss that. I'm going to look at my ceiling in bed and I'm going to hear them.

But I don't stop, I'm not stopping for a long break because I'm fed up or I'm not stopping because...

KING: You're stopping for you.

DION: I'm stopping because, because I need to be sincere toward them.

KING: What's the first thing you're going to do?

DION: I think I'm going to stay in bed the first day, and just try to feel my bones and my spine and like I now, I own myself.

KING: Is home Montreal?

DION: Home is Montreal. We have a home also in Florida which we spend six months, six months. But wintertime in Montreal we'll spend in Florida and summertime in Florida, we'll spend...

KING: And you're going to do quite a bit of traveling?

DION: We'd love to do some traveling, Rene and I. No body guards. No chauffeurs. No entourage. As tourist. I traveled the world a couple of times, maybe many times, and I don't know anything. I haven't seen anything. Because I haven't had the time.

KING: 4:00, go to the theater.

DION: I want to sit down on a terrace and have coffee and people smoke around me and I say they shouldn't smoke, but it's alright, it won't effect my voice. If I lose my voice, it doesn't matter. I won't have to train. I'm going to see, I've never been to a -- it's nothing, but I've never been to a museum. I want to go...

KING: You've never been...

DION: I've never been to an opera. I've done Oprah's show, but I've never been to see an opera.

KING: I'll tell you one thing that's going to happen. You're going to go on a cruise, Don Rickles, this happens to him, he goes on a cruise as a vacationer, and someone is going to come over and say, "What time are you on? What time? Is it an 8:00 show"?

DION: Oh, well. You know, Rene and I, we talked about a cruise, to rent a boat and go to the Greece Island, something like that. I don't know, I just want to see the beautiful things in the world that I haven't got the chance to.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: When we come back, Celine Dion talks about working with her idol, Barbara Streisand. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

KING: Celine and Barbara. It was reported that you were supposed to sing together at the Grammys and she canceled out. She said she wasn't feeling well, and somebody said it was because she didn't want to work with someone who had replaced her...

DION: That's tabloids again, they can say whatever they want. I talked to her, and I know it's true. She had no voice. She had big flu, she had fever, sore throat, she sounded not so good on the phone.

KING: She's still your hero?

DION: She is, definitely. I love her. She knows so much, she is so strong.

KING: She's a special girl.

DION: Oh, what a girl. I love her.

KING: She said on this program once that she does not think of her voice as a gift. She never thought it was special. Thought she could sing. Do you think your voice is...

DION: Well, Barbara, let us think that it's special. You're unique.

KING: Is your voice a gift?

DION: I think I've been given a talent. I'm very fortunate for that. Yeah, I think so. And I don't know, I haven't done anything for that. I just...

KING: Do you pinch yourself, sometimes? And say, thanks for the gift?

DION: I don't have to pinch, but I say thanks for the gift. I mean, I've been given this and I've been raised with music all my life. I guess it's the only thing I know. I haven't done much, I just train my voice every day with teachers and try to do the best I could.

KING: Have you heard from a lot of other people in the business since you said you were leaving?

DION: No.

KING: No? Do you often think back, people who grew up poor, and you grew up pretty poor, right? You were the 14th child. Do you often think back to those days?

DION: Absolutely. Always.

KING: Gleason used to say every day.

DION: Always. Because it's what keeps you balanced and focused and on the ground. I never want to lose my foundation. This is the thing that I'm the most proud of and I want to keep that.

I'm from Charlemagne, this little town, with 13 brothers and sisters.

KING: Here they are.

DION: They're beautiful. Oh, that's not that beautiful.

KING: Whose that?

DION: That's me. Guess who.

KING: You look like you were a little pugnacious little...

DION: I'm trying to pose. I'm trying to -- my brother cut my hair, you see? You see the bangs here, they're all...

KING: Is the whole family close?

DION: Very close.

KING: Still close?

DION: More than ever.

KING: You number them or you call them by name?

DION: It depends.

KING: Hello, number six, it's number 14 calling.

DION: Yeah. Sometimes. Like I have my sister who travels with me, she's number 11. Sometimes when I introduce her, I introduce her as number 11.

KING: You have lots of nephews and nieces?

DION: I stopped counting after 35, 37. I don't know. My sister just called me a couple of weeks ago, one of my sisters, Pauline, and she called me and she asked Rene and I if we could be, she's got her sixth child, she just delivered her sixth child, if I wanted to be the Godmother and Rene the Godfather. And I didn't even see Claudia yet, so I can't wait.

KING: Is there ever a time where everyone is together?

DION: Christmas time. That's why I love Christmas so much, because it's the only...

KING: They'll all be there? The nephews, the nieces, the 14 of you...

DION: Everybody. And you know what we're going to do next year? Instead of doing a big Christmas party at the end of the year, I'm doing a big show the 31st and instead of doing a big party, the 1st of January, for the New Years, we're bringing everybody to Las Vegas. We're going to be like 250 people, like 238, my family, and...

KING: Going to Vegas to see your show?

DION: ... 30 something people...

KING: Or the night, the day after your show?

DION: Actually, it's kind of a private show, Larry, for friends, so they're going to be there with us for that show and we're going to celebrate Christmas. We're going to share gifts and time and dance and music and love and hugs. And the 5th, Rene and I, we're getting married again.

KING: Redo the vows?

DION: Yeah.

KING: Because?

DION: Because, because I love him more than ever and because five is our lucky number. It's going to be five years that we've been married.

KING: So, January 5th...

DION: Fifth, 5:00, for five years of marriage...

KING: In Las Vegas.

DION: Yeah. Thank you very much.

KING: That's a good day to bed number five.

DION: Exactly.

KING: Anyway, we're going to take a break and come back and go to your phone calls for Celine Dion. We're learning lots here. Later, you're going to mention the aforementioned Rene.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with Celine Dion, who has won five Grammys. What do you think, where are you working New Year's Eve?

DION: New Year's Eve. The 31st of December, I'm in Montreal, home.

KING: Aren't you in Vegas?

DION: The first.

KING: Oh, that's new Year's Day.

DION: The first. And Vegas is not really a show, it's kind of private for friends and a couple of guys.

KING: Where will your last show be?

DION: The last real show, the 31st of December in Montreal.

KING: You're singing?

DION: I'm singing. It's a big show. I'm going to have some guests. I'm going to have a good time. It's maybe a three hour show. It's going to be a party. That'll be my last show.

KING: What do you think that's going to be like? Singing publicly, you know, not for family and stuff, for the last time?

DION: I keep thinking that it's going to be hard for me. But every time I try to picture myself on stage, it's kind of, I want, I don't want that to be sad. I want that. I want to stop. I want to take a break. So, I definitely don't want to say, "Bye, everybody. I love you."

I want to say, "See you. See you soon. Take care of yourself, OK. See you soon, I hope. Alright. Thanks for tonight. I had a great time."

KING: Before we get some calls, do you, you have a lot of self- confidence. Well, you know you're good. You know you're good.

DION: I think I can do it. I think I'm alright. I think the kid is OK.

KING: You don't go on stage worrying, how am I going to do?

DION: Not worrying. Sometimes, if I'm sick, I'm worried, yes, of course. But when the music starts, there's no second that I have to think, I am going to -- no, you do the show, or you don't do it. If you cancel, you cancel before. You don't wait until the last minute. KING: The show we'll see Wednesday night on CBS was taped at Radio City, right?

DION: Radio City. My first time.

KING: And you did an hour show in an hour and fifteen minutes? That's it.

DION: That's right. That's right.

KING: That's amazing.

DION: Yeah, I don't know. Like, last year I did this special that took a few more hours than that, and it was in a small studio with some people, and it was a little difficult, but I loved the experience, it just was long.

And this year, when they asked me to do another special, I was like, oh, I don't know if I can do that. Maybe I'm not so good with this. And it was Radio City Music Hall with, it was a real show, actually. It was an hour show with an audience, on stage, and it us like an hour and fifteen minutes.

KING: In it, we will see you sing with Frank Sinatra. He's singing "All The Way," the great Sammy Cahn tune.

DION: Yeah.

KING: Is that hard? He's on tape, right? I mean, it's a tape of Frank singing...

DION: He's on tape, and they found some footage of him singing "All The Way" with...

KING: From the movie?

DION: From different years...

KING: Concerts?

DION: ... different years. Like, you see him young, getting older, and singing the same song. They've done an amazing job.

KING: OK. What's it like to sing with a tape with a legend?

DION: There's such a legend, and he's so unique, that you kind of forget that it's a tape. You forget that he's not physically with us anymore. You forget it. Because some people don't die, and Frank is not dead.

KING: Is it difficult, technically? You have different chords, right? You're singing with an orchestra, he's already, it's done already.

DION: It was probably difficult for David Foster, who did an amazing job. KING: Oh, he's the best.

DION: Well, you should ask him. But for me, no. Frank took me under his wing and I didn't have much to do. He took me with him.

KING: Everyone talks about his phrasing, that's the key in Sinatra, isn't it?

DION: He's unique with that. It's very difficult to follow, but when you're in a studio, you can always fix things. That's the magic of the recording. But I admire him so much.

KING: OK, we're going to take some -- we're going to take a break and come back and take some calls for Celine Dion and later we'll meet her husband Rene.

This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

KING: Not bad. We're back with Celine Dion, you're going to be married, by the way, at Caesar's Palace.

DION: That's right.

KING: Private little nice ceremony or all the whole (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

Montreal, Quebec, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I wanted to ask Celine, after you come back from your vacation with Rene, I wanted to know, what would you like to do first? Like, make a record or do some acting?

DION: I...

KING: You're already back now.

DION: Exactly. Hello, Montreal. Nice talking with you.

KING: What do you think you'll do?

DION: I don't know.

KING: She's back.

DION: Yeah, and hopefully with, I don't know. I want to do some acting too. So, I don't know. Hopefully, with a record, but maybe a movie a too, maybe a package deal, I don't know.

KING: To Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Hello? Hi, Celine.

DION: Hi, how are you?

CALLER: Great.

DION: What's your question?

CALLER: I just wanted to always say that you're just great. Up until you came along, I thought Barbara Streisand was great, but now there's you as well.

How is it like to work with her and how was she as a person and was there any competitiveness between the two of you?

DION: No competition. I can answer this right away. It was a dream come true, for me, definitely, to meet Barbara and to work with her. As a woman, I've got to know her as a woman now. The artist, she's my idol, I love her very, very much as an actress and as a singer, of course.

But as the woman, she's so strong and she knows what she wants and her eyes are everywhere and she knows and she's got so much. She knows so much. When she gets behind the camera, behind the lights, OK, this light is no good for me, you got to put it there. She knows what she wants and she's a very, very special lady. So, and of course, no competition, of course not, no.

KING: And talented people are never thrown by someone who is very, very particular, are they?

DION: What do you mean, I'm sorry?

KING: I mean, you're talented, so you understand her being particular about things.

DION: Absolutely.

KING: A top professional never worries about a top professional.

DION: I mean, she knows what she needs, she knows what she wants, and the thing with Barbara is like, she knows exactly how the camera works and how the lighting is good for her or what's her best side or she's going to look the best if she does this or that. And she's not shy to let the people know around her, this is what I need, and we'll go and do that. And she's not afraid to spend hours and hours rehearsing until it's perfect, and I agree with that. It's great.

KING: Are there minuses, any minuses, in having a husband as a manager?

DION: What does minuses mean, like a bad side, or a...

KING: The other, yeah, you don't know what minus means? Oh, that's right, it's new in Montreal. One of the downsides.

DION: Downside. I mean, I don't see any.

KING: None at all?

DION: I don't see any. No. We've been a great team.

KING: You must have had some disagreement.

DION: It's been working so well. He hasn't been doing lots of mistakes so far, for 18 yeas, I'm very proud of him.

KING: I mean, is there any place you were booked where you said, "I don't want to go there" or "I don't want to do this"?

DION: There's a -- I've been -- no. When we started working together, I'd never ask any questions like that because I had no idea. I had no experience at all. So, I needed to trust. I think this is one thing in life where you need to trust people. You cannot make it on your own.

But, with the years, because he taught me so much, at one point, 10 years after, or 13 or 14, 15 years after, I thought, like, let's say, since three or four years ago. I started to not question I don't want to do this, I don't want to do that. But I've asked questions like, why that? Or why do you want -- I don't think it's a -- do you really think it's a good idea? I'm not sure. And he's like, trust me on that.

KING: And he's right?

DION: And that's it. That's it.

KING: There's no, you can't reduce the importance, the importance of a good manager.

DION: It's the key. No matter whatever talent you have, its...

KING: It's got to be directed.

DION: Oh, I meet so many wonderful talented people, but management and orientation of the career and...

KING: He manages...

DION: Because the only thing I have to do is go on stage...

KING: And do it.

DION: ... and do the best I can with my song. That's it. I know the show will start. I know I've got the best musicians. I know I've got the best technicians. I know the trucks will be loaded. I know we're going to hit the road. I know it's going to be -- I don't have to worry about anything else.

KING: We'll be back with more of Celine Dion, a few more phone calls, and then we'll meet her husband. Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, NOVEMBER 22, 1999)

KING: We're getting the whole Celine Dion here, aren't we? You've got a new album, we'll talk about that in a little while, called "Celine All The Way: A Decade of Song."

Let's get another call, New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Celine.

DION: Hi.

CALLER: Firstly, I want to say I love your music and voice.

DION: Thank you, very much.

CALLER: My question is, have you ever considered and would you consider doing a musical play on Broadway?

KING: Great question.

DION: I think I'm a little afraid to be on stage every night.

KING: You're on stage every night when you tour.

DION: Almost.

KING: Oh, you mean in a part?

DION: Almost. Yeah, but it would be fantastic.

KING: Would you like to do fun to see, like "Annie Get Your Gun."

DION: Oh, Larry, that would be great.

KING: "The King and I," "Oklahoma."

DION: Definitely, I'd love to do some musicals.

KING: You'd pack them in.

DION: You think so?

KING: I think so.

DION: One thing is for sure, I'd love to do some movies. This is for sure. Maybe a little more than Broadway. But, I'm not, like I said, you never know. KING: We've talked a lot about Rene. We're going to meet him right after these words. Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments. There you see the wedding of Celine Dion and Rene Angelil. They're going to repeat this, I don't know if the same kind of, like, big as this is going to be, at Caesar's Palace January 5 when they remarry.

And joining his illustrious wife with us, on the remaining moments here on LARRY KING LIVE is Rene Angelil. Give me the correct pronunciation.

RENE ANGELIL: Angelil.

DION: Angelil.

KING: What was it like to go through a throat cancer operation?

ANGELIL: Well, it was actually, it was, you know, the doctors are so great, I had a great doctor that operated on me, Dr. Stickler (ph).

KING: But you were scared?

ANGELIL: I was scared, but it's important, the people that surround you support you. You need a lot of support from your family. Luckily, I had great support from Celine and from my children. And they were there throughout the treatment.

KING: That's great.

ANGELIL: And...

KING: You look great.

ANGELIL: Yeah, I feel good.

KING: Will you have that voice, always, it's going to be...

ANGELIL: Yeah, I've always had a voice like this. Actually, I have a better voice now.

DION: He sounds better than ever.

KING: She was always very strong for you. When you met, though, you were much, I mean, she was like a baby.

ANGELIL: Yeah, when I...

KING: How old was she?

ANGELIL: She was 12 years old. KING: You didn't fall in love then.

DION: Don't start a story. They're going to write that.

KING: She was 12.

ANGELIL: She was 12.

KING: When did you realize you were in love?

ANGELIL: Well, you know, I got divorced when she was about 17, 1985, and we were always together, traveling together and working together. And one day, in Dublin, actually, we were in Dublin, in Ireland, for the Eurovision Contest, 1988.

DION: Lucky country for us.

ANGELIL: Yeah.

KING: And what did you say?

ANGELIL: I didn't say nothing...

DION: He didn't say much.

ANGELIL: At night, you know, when you kiss good night, always kiss on the cheek. Well, that night, I made like a little stop right here, and she...

DION: A little stop?

ANGELIL: And everything changed.

KING: Had you fallen in love by then?

DION: I was in love a long time before then.

KING: Did you ever discuss the difference in ages as an impediment to the marriage?

DION: Absolutely not. You were more afraid of me, though.

ANGELIL: Yeah. You know, I was more afraid to, first of all, to admit it to all the fans and all the people. It took, like, four or five years before she came out, actually, and wrote something on one of the albums.

DION: I couldn't keep this inside of me any longer.

KING: You have grown children?

ANGELIL: Yes, I have three great children.

KING: They get along with you?

DION: Very well. KING: Are you looking forward to possibly being a father of a little one?

ANGELIL: Yes, I'd love to...

KING: There's nothing like it.

ANGELIL: I'd love to. I envy you, Larry.

KING: There's nothing like it.

ANGELIL: I know. We're trying, and like Celine said, we're going to try real hard.

KING: She was telling me something. When you worked in Paris and he had to stay in Florida recuperating, he would talk in your ear while you were on stage at an outdoor concert?

DION: That's right. He wanted to be with me and I wanted to be with him, so what are you going to do? I mean, I'm in Europe and he's in the United States, so...

KING: With how many people in the audience?

DION: ... ear plugs. We did two shows, back to back, in the Stade de France; 90,000 people per night for the French show. And a week later I did an English show, at stadium, Wembley Stadium, with an English show, two nights in a row. 75,000 people.

KING: And he, now, how did this work? You had an earpiece in your ear...

DION: Ear piece. I do my show and like via satellite he could talk to me from our home in Florida.

ANGELIL: I watched every show on the Stadium tour this summer in Europe.

DION: Yeah.

ANGELIL: Live. Like LARRY KING LIVE. It was live, "Celine Dion Live."

KING: So, you're singing. And what would he say to you.

DION: I'd sing "When somebody loves" -- he'd say, "I love you, honey, I miss you so much. You look beautiful." I'm like "All the way," and I'm like "OK, next song."

ANGELIL: And we had a little sign.

DION: We had a sign, because I couldn't talk and say, "What's that? Me, too, honey. Love somebody" -- I couldn't do that, so we did a sign.

KING: So what was your sign? DION: I was doing this. Like, I got you.

KING: Did you ever give her instructions? Like, go a little to your left, move forward a little more?

DION: No! Come on!

KING: I don't like the way you look. Chunk the hair, your hair is in your eyes? No? It was just giving her love words.

ANGELIL: And not that many times.

DION: Love words. No. But I loved everyone of them.

KING: So, why don't you do me a favor. There's this new album out called "Celine" -- by the way, "All The Way," you've kind of adopted this as your new song?

DION: This is our new song. And this is the way we live. When we do something, we go all the way.

KING: Great late friend, Sammy Cahn wrote that song.

DION: You know it.

ANGELIL: It was a great song.

KING: Do you, you do these liner notes, and at the end, you do a little note to Rene, it's at the end of the liner notes.

DION: Yes. I always do.

KING: Would you read it?

DION: Of course, I'd love to.

KING: Hope you can read it, it's small print.

DION: It's alright.

Dear Rene, when we chose to get married five years ago, we promised, before man and God, to help each other and to be totally committed and devoted, through the good and bad times, in sickness and in health.

The past year and it's sadness and worries made me realize the power of those vows. My love, I am promising again that I will always be there for you, no matter what.

I love you more each day, and forever.

KING: Did you ever think you might lose him?

DION: I'm afraid to lose him every day.

KING: Before, when you got that news that day? ANGELIL: You know, that's the first thing you think about, when you hear this word...

KING: The word "cancer"? That's -- cancer sounds the height and depth.

ANGELIL: But it's not as bad...

KING: It's very curable if you get it early.

DION: Yes.

ANGELIL: Now, the doctors are so great. They work so hard to get where they are. You have to have confidence.

DION: Yeah.

KING: Did you think, were you worried?

ANGELIL: Of course, when I got the news, I was worried, but I had a great doctor there.

KING: And you've got a great wife.

ANGELIL: A great wife.

DION: I became the manager and I said I'm not going to let this thing kill him, I'm telling you.

KING: We only have 30 seconds. Are you looking forward to this retirement for two years?

ANGELIL: Oh, absolutely. We're so looking forward to -- we're going to play golf. Do some boating, traveling, see the family...

KING: A manger with nothing to manage, a singer with nothing to sing.

DION: I'm telling you.

KING: Life deluxe. Thank you, both.

DION: Larry, we'll be watching you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: On the off change you missed the happy news, Celine and Rene are now parents. Their son, Rene-Charles, born on January 25.

And we're looking forward to talking with the proud momma and poppa very soon.

One further note, Rene's doctors have declared him cured of cancer.

Tomorrow night on LARRY KING WEEKEND, we'll talk with late House Speaker Tip O'Neill, give you a retrospective. Boy, could he tell stories.

Until then, good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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