Being a widow at 50 was not something international music superstar Celine Dion ever planned for.
While she continues to grieve the death of her husband and manager — “the greatest man in this world,” she tells The Sun — something unexpected and inspiring has happened to the My Heart Will Go On singer.
She has found, as she puts it, “the wind beneath my wings” to become an unlikely fashion icon and fearless businesswoman, willing to take risks she never would have when her husband was in charge.
“It’s all new. It’s like I’m having a second wind — 50 has been great for me.”
Just don’t suggest a toyboy lover has trampled all over the memory of Rene Angelil — who discovered Dion when she was 12 years old, became the only man she ever kissed and then left her devastated three years ago when he died of cancer, aged 73.
For the last two years Dion has been accompanied almost everywhere by dancer Pepe Munoz, with many hints of a new romance.
Dion has finally addressed rumours of a romance.
“The press said, ‘Oh my God, Rene just passed and now there’s another man’.
“Yeah, there’s another man in my life but not THE man in my life.”
Dion is concerned the attention is “difficult” for Munoz, 34.
“It was probably overwhelming for him at the beginning when we started working together because we were dancing together,” Dion recalls in the interview.
“We bonded right away as friends, we had a good time. It evolved.
“But when people started to take pictures and it was like, ‘Who’s that guy? Rene?’” With the slightest hint of anger in her voice, she adds: “Let’s not mix everything.”
She takes Munoz with her all the time, she counters, because he helps to style and train her so she is in the best shape. She adds: “We’re friends, we’re best friends. Of course we hug and hold hands and go out, so people see that. I mean, he’s a gentleman. He’s giving me his hand to go out.”
However, she says she is not angry at the romance rumours.
“I don’t mind because he’s handsome and he’s my best friend.”
Asked if she is still single, Dion replies “I am”.
“By the way, when I say, ‘I am single,’ please, leave me alone. Thanks.”
Dion says she sees her dead husband “every day through the eyes of my children.”
“He gave me so much strength through all these years. And so much for me to explore, for me now to spread my wings,” she said. “The maturity that comes with age and time.”
It is now up to Dion to make the tough decisions — for her career and, most importantly, her children.
“I feel that now I have a voice, which is kinda weird as that’s what I’ve been doing all my life — using my voice, but in singing and performing.
“But I use my voice as well for things that I choose I want to do and things that I say to my team I don’t want to do. I feel that I am grown up enough to say, ‘I think I would rather do this than that’.
“I’m not playing 50. I’m not playing that, ‘I’m the boss now’. I don’t want to do that. I don’t necessarily want to be the boss.
“I just want to be the best of me and be surrounded — like my husband always surrounded me with — the best people.”
This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission