Celine Dion and her twin tell us how they hid for over thirty-five years. They confided how difficult it was to live with this secret for so many years and that several clues had leaked. In short, if you thought you had seen it all with Celine Dion, expect to be even more surprised.
I was scheduled for the exclusive interview with Celine Dion at 2 p.m. in an office in Montreal. I have not been made aware of the reason for this exceptional solicitation. No one in her team wanted to tell me, but I could not help but accept such an opportunity.
I arrive early a little nervous about finally meeting her. I reread my notes in which I prepared several questions that would give a decidedly original tone to the meeting. Celine appears at the appointed hour with her usual good humor.
« Hi !
- Hi Celine !
- No, I’m Aline !
- What ?
- The other is coming. Don’t worry. »
A second Celine enters the room a few seconds later. There are now two Celine Dions in front of me and I don’t understand anything. I don’t know yet but I’m not at the end of my surprises.
I remain silent for several minutes. For a week, I had prepared myself like an athlete to question an international singer. Only one. Most journalists would tell you that interviewing a celebrity of this stature is no small feat. You have to research the topic, find relevant questions, be efficient during the interview. But with two stars for the price of one, I again feel like a newbie who would have missed the most important information on his subject.
Questions collide in my head and I can’t quite put a word together. I’m completely stuck in front of the two Celines who are joking quietly together before me as if it was normal. They seem very complicit and create a good atmosphere in the office.
It is finally Francine Chaloult, the press officer, who comes to get me out of my daze.
« It always does that the first time. This is precisely why you were brought here. But we only got one hour, do you think you’ll manage? »
I gradually figure out the new content of my interview. This is my chance for the scoop of the century and I’m letting it go. I don’t want to waste another second, I decide to improvise based on my experience alone.
Celine’s team gave me carte blanche to ask any questions I want. Well, I wanted to be original, the interview got off to a flying start. I have fifty-five minutes left to unravel the mystery of the two Celines.
Look at Us Now
Celine and her twin sister Aline are indistinguishable, apart from the dress they wear. They even put a little sticker with their respective name written on it to help me but I definitely can’t remember. I constantly check the name before addressing one or the other. Aline, OK. Celine, OK. So the first question comes naturally to me. Why hiding Aline?
“I have never been hidden! We were just careful not to appear together in public. Rene always wanted the best for us. When we started our career, we were very young, he wanted to spare us. It was for this reason that he decided that there would be only one public singer, by the name of Celine. He immediately envisioned a very sophisticated schedule with shifts so that one had time for study and leisure while the other was on stage. He said there would be plenty of time to reveal the truth later. “
You and I
We all know the story with the song by Hugues Aufray which inspired Celine’s first name. I ask Aline if she has had a hard time for giving up part of her identity in public.
“Not at all. People confused us so easily when we were young that we used to be called by the name of one or the other. Also, we had to choose a unique name to launch our career. Rene chose Celine’s name because he thought it sounded better for an international career. Anyway, we are so fusional, so when it’s one, it’s the other too.”
One thing is certain, whatever their first name, it is the same kindness we already knew from Celine that animates them both. They have the same laughter and sense of humor and are just as likable as each other. The conversation is fluid as if I had two very good friends in front of me. That doesn’t change us from Celine, whether she’s one or two.
When I ask them if there is competition between them, Aline says not at all.
“We are very different. Celine is a very funny person, she has a very independent character, she has a lot of courage, she goes for it. I’m softer, I don’t have the same courage to act, I’m a little more shy, and more sensitive too. For sure I cry more than my sister.”
If Walls Could Talk
When their careers began in 1981, the twin sisters were only thirteen. It was necessary to take measures as soon as they left the house, to set off at different times or take different cars, to prevent the media from surprising them together in the same place. Rene had experience and he knew he was betting big by hiding his game from the media.
“At the beginning, every time we were together in the same room, he would constantly check the doors and windows to make sure no photographer was spying on us.”
The two little girls, who were inseparable throughout their childhood, struggled with these new rules. They had to wait for the secrets of the walls of the family home to meet again. The first years were difficult, and the reunions, always great moments of emotion. But building a career often requires sacrifices.
Together, they rose to stardom. In the space of a few decades, Celine Dion performed in all the major cities of the world. Montreal, New York, London, Paris, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney… Or did she? If Celine was able to visit so many countries, it is precisely because she did not visit all of them. Half of the shows were taken over by Aline while Celine was resting, and conversely.
They tell me that the production usually sends Aline to tour Europe, and Celine to North America. I always found the Celine “à la française” to be more distinguished and quiet than the Quebecker Celine. Now I know why.
The Show Must Go On
For thirteen years, attending the Celine Dion show in Las Vegas was a must. A unique voice, high-fashioned outfits, breathtaking performances. She blew us away. But which one ?
For the residencies in Las Vegas, they took turns during the ninety minutes that the show lasted. Like in a ballet, Aline and Celine were on stage intermittently. They proceeded differently than for the tours because being already there was much less tiring. There were no planes to catch, no jet lags to cope with, and every night they found the comforts of their shared home.
I learned for the occasion that the costume changes in less than two minutes that impressed so many of us weren’t going exactly as we imagined. One of the twins was already dressed when the other was about to leave the stage. Just because you’re a planetary star doesn’t mean you’re a superwoman.
“How do you think we’ve been able to put on over a thousand shows in thirteen years with three young kids at home and a new album every two years? No human would be able to do that, unless you’re two!”
Sometimes one of the two would do the show entirely on her own, to help the other twin, but they would have to do the same in return. As of June 8, 2019, it was Celine alone who gave the last performance at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas because Aline knew she was going to cry again and preferred to stay home.
The world could have known about it for several years. Many clues had been disseminated over the years.
A first interview between the twins filtered in 2004 for the show “Plus vite que la musique” on French television, after the filming of the music video “Contre Nature”. The Celine Dion phenomenon was then at its peak. Rene didn’t think it was the right time but gave in at the insistence of the two sisters.
As he always did, he offered to test the media’s reaction by starting with a short segment in a variety show. To give the event a less formal tone, it was decided to record a face-to-face interview between the two sisters, without the presence of a host.
The interview was a series of lovely moments of collusion that only identical twins know. Their complicity was obvious. In the middle of the interview, Celine uttered the prewritten line “I don’t think there are two Celines” which was meant to sow doubt into the viewer’s head.
The twins had high expectations of this broadcast, which would end years of logistical complications and painful separations. Unfortunately, there was no reaction from the media, everyone thought the special effects were very well done and no one wondered about it anymore. Rene concluded that the world was not ready for the secret.
New attempt, three years later, in 2007, this time, Rene was ready. He unveiled an ambitious plan to Sony Music, with the apotheosis of a press conference broadcast live in Quebec and France, where Aline and Celine would appear by surprise on stage and would sing in front of the amazed eyes of millions of viewers.
As usual, he wanted to gradually reveal clues. Françoise Dorin, who had been taken into the confidence, wrote “S’il n’en restait qu’une” (If there was only one woman left), a subtle allusion to the fact that they are several. The experience of the video was repeated, this time with a more explicit music video where the twins interacted throughout the clip.
Once again, Rene was at bay for the week following the release of the explosive video. Once again, the twinning of the sisters went unnoticed by the press. In defense of journalists, director Thierry Vergnes had added a lot of special effects that could make easily believe that the Celine duplication had been produced artificially.
At this point, Rene began to ask himself a lot of questions. What went wrong? Is the world ready? Is this the right time? Do we have to wait a few more years? Rene decided to cancel the big press conference and put off the revealing of the Celines until later. “You have to be good when the time is right,” he never stopped repeating his entire life.
How Do You Keep the Music Playing
Over the next few years, Aline and Celine increasingly expressed the need to sing together on stage to the point that a few months before the premiere of the new residency in Las Vegas in 2011, they demanded to appear at the same time in the show. Rene had always been very inventive until then, but here they asked for the impossible!
One day, Rene came up with a New York Times article about holograms. His idea: to make one of the two singers look like a hologram in the public eye while the other strolled through the audience to attract attention. This is how the song “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” was added to the show. It was agreed that they would reveal everything to the press when doubt would have taken hold among the spectators.
Unfortunately, everyone believed the hologram story without batting an eyelid and by seeing the number of people who attended the show without ever suspecting anything, they could have kept the music of secret playing for years.
With Rene’s death in 2016, the Celines were forced to take control of operations. Over the years, the world saw the unveiling of a new Celine more emancipated than ever, as the twins began to take chances.
“Usually we cut our hair at the same time. But lately we want to have some fun with the media. So I got a bob cut while Aline preferred to keep her hair long. Funny thing is, it doesn’t shock anyone. People think I’m wearing a wig!”
Francine Chaloult signals to me that I only have five minutes of interview left. I ask my last question: why reveal everything now?
“Today we decided together to officially disclose everything. We have been locked down together in a large house for several months. We are so happy to spend all of our time together with the kids. It reminds us of our own childhood before it all started. We never want to be separated again and start hiding again after this.”
“It’s a real liberation for everyone to officially announce it today. A thought for all the Productions Feeling and Sony Music teams who have had to keep it a secret for all these years. “
A World to Believe In
Here was the big secret: when everything returns to normal, it is no longer one but two Celine Dions that will now tour the world. For my part, I’ll need some time to find this completely normal.
Upon finishing the interview with the two Celines, I mean Aline and Celine, I come home with many questions that keep popping up in my head. Is there be a third Celine hiding? Did Rene also have a twin? How many twins are still hiding behind our favorite stars?
Finally, in this flood of bad news for 2020, I believe having a second Celine Dion is exactly what the world needs. I’d even say it’s definitely the only thing of the year that deserves to go viral.
Since you’ve made it this far…
Well, this is obviously a hoax. Sorry to disappoint you, but there is only one Celine! And we are already very lucky to have one.
The main purpose of this article is to catch the attention of Celine Dion and her team. A fan of the early days, I would love to meet her backstage at one of her concerts when they resume.
If you had fun reading this article, you can send me a private message on my account @celinedionweb on Instagram and Facebook. And if you can help me to meet Celine Dion, I would be the happiest!