Céline Dion is celebrating something big on Wednesday: her birthday! The singer, who was born March 30 in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, is turning 48 years old. Sadly, this birthday will be the first since her husband, René Angélil, died.
As previously reported, the music producer died at the age of 73 after a long battle with cancer. To celebrate Dion’s special day, International Business Times put together a list of 12 interesting facts about her. Check them out below, courtesy of She Knows, Woman’s Day and BoomsBeat
- Dion married her husband in 1994, despite their 26 year age difference. The pair officially began dating when she was 19.
- Dion and Angélil wed at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica. Their ceremony was televised and cost an estimated $500,000. She wore a $25,000 gown, with a seven-pound crystal-encrusted headdress and a fur coat. There was a press conference held immediately following their wedding.
- Her full name is Céline Marie Claudette Dion. She was named after the song “Céline,” which was recorded by French singer Hugues Aufray two years before she was born.
- Dion comes from a big family. She’s the youngest of 14 children. Her mom, Thérèse Tanguay Dion, was said to be done having kids after giving birth to twins (her twelfth and thirteenth), but at 41 found out she was pregnant again.
- Dion’s family is also very musical. Her parents formed the group Dion’s Family, which toured across Canada when she was an infant.
- Her parents also owned a piano bar called Le Vieux Baril (The Old Barrel) in Quebec. Dion started singing at the bar when she was 5 years old.
- When she was 12, Dion recorded a demo song she had written with her mom called Ce N'était Qu’un Rêve (“It Was Only A Dream”). Her brother sent the demo to Angélil, who was managing a pop group at the time. After some convincing, he listened to the demo and immediately signed her.
- At age 16, she performed “Une Colombre,” a popular French song, for Pope John Paul II at the Montreal Olympic Stadium in front of 65,000 people.
- By the time she was 18 Dion had won several awards and recorded nine French albums. However, she wanted to become an international superstar like Michael Jackson, so Angélil suggested she take a year off. During that time, she got a makeover, learned to speak English and started recording her first English album, “Unison.”
- Dion wasn’t a fan of “My Heart Will Go On” at first. The song, which was recorded in one take, was the theme song for “Titanic” and went on to become her most popular song.
- Dion never graduated high school but received an honorary doctorate degree from Laval University in Quebec in August 2008.
- Her childhood home was torn down in 2014, and was replaced with her charity, Foundation Maman Dion.