It’s been a hard year for Celine Dion, but she’s keeping her head up.
The 48-year-old singer gave a spirited performance in New York City on Friday morning, and also co-hosted the final hour of the”Today” show with Kathie Lee Gifford.
While most of the show included lots of wine drinking and Dion breaking out into song, Gifford did shift gears at the start of the program to talk about the musician’s husband and manager, Rene Angelil, who died of throat cancer at 73 in January. It was an emotional conversation for the 62-year-old morning show host, who also lost her husband, Frank Gifford, nearly a year ago.
“You have been as I have been this past year …We’ve been on quite the journey,” Gifford shared. “We are still on one.”
“I lost the man of my life,” Dion said as Gifford started to cry. “But I cannot live thinking this way. I have to say, ‘I found the best man in the world.'”
Turning to Gifford, Dion added, “Like you did for yourself. We were both extremely lucky.”
“The luggage that we have, we will carry for the rest of our lives,” she continued. “And show our kids that mom is fine, and you’re gonna be OK.”
Through tears, Gifford — who admitted later that she hasn’t really cried — responded, “And we’re all going up someday.”
The two shared a heartfelt hug, and continued their candid conversation about losing their loved ones. “If I concentrate on what I lost, then I will be in despair,” Gifford explained. “But if I concentrate on what I still have, all of God’s blessings. I still have my beautiful children, my husband, the same way you do. …We are in a state of what’s called grace, and I think that’s because God gives you what you need when you need it. We have actually been rejoicing as a family since Frank went to be with the Lord. …We have peace about it.”
Dion also opened up to “Today” show co-anchor Matt Lauer earlier in the morning about how she’s coping. “It’s been a journey. It’s been hard,” she admitted. “Seeing the love of your life suffering for the last three years has been really hard, but millions of people are going through this. I feel very strong because, not only that he loved me so much — for many, many lives to come — (but he) gave me three magnificent kids, so much knowledge, stability and confidence.”
Dion told Lauer that she leans on her and Angelil’s children, 15-year-old Rene-Charles and 5-year-old twins Eddy and Nelson, for comfort. “When I feel good, the kids are feeling great, and when the kids are feeling great, I feel good,” she shared. “But I think it’s all about feeling very strong and positive. They sense that mom is OK. They know what’s going on. They know that dad is not coming back. They know they have to live with him, but differently. …I’m very thankful that the way that he passed was not dramatic in front of the children.”
The “Because You Love Me” singer said that fans now seek her out at shows who are going through something similar. “I have assisted so many people to heaven in a way, because they wanted to talk to me before they leave this earth,” she said. “Honestly, they come to me and when I sing, it’s kind of therapeutic. It’s a way for me to express myself, but it’s beyond music.”