Celine Dion Reveals Why She Opened Up About Her Stiff Person Syndrome Diagnosis

Céline Dion’s decision to go public with her stiff-person syndrome diagnosis was heavier than an entire orchestra’s worth of tubas.

In a candid chat with Hoda Kotb on the Today show, Céline dished out the details of her rare neurological disorder with the kind of flair only she could muster. She admitted she initially kept mum about her condition because, frankly, she was just as confused as everyone else. “What did you want me to say? ‘I have…’ what?” the 56-year-old diva quipped. “We had no clue what was happening. I mean, I thought maybe I’d just pulled a muscle from too much voguing.”

Her symptoms, which include some seriously unwelcome muscle spasms, first showed up during her Taking Chances World Tour in 2008. It wasn’t until December 2022 that Céline finally spilled the beans in an Instagram video, postponing several performances. “I should have taken a break, but I just kept going,” she told Kotb, clearly channeling her inner Energizer Bunny. At the time, she was also dealing with her late husband René Angélil’s battle with throat cancer. “My husband was fighting for his life, and there I was, trying to raise my kids and be a superhero,” she said, probably while tying on an invisible cape.

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Dealing with her own health rollercoaster was no picnic either. “I felt like my body was checking out on me,” she shared, revealing her internal dialogue was a lot more dramatic than her stage performances. Eventually, Céline decided honesty was the best policy. “I couldn’t keep up the charade any longer,” she admitted. “Lying was more exhausting than singing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ 50 times in a row.”

In the interview, Céline hilariously described how the condition affected her voice. “It felt like someone was giving my vocal cords a bear hug,” she said, demonstrating in a voice that sounded like she’d swallowed a kazoo. “I couldn’t hit the high notes or the low ones. It was like my vocal cords were on strike.”

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She also explained the stiffness in her muscles with her signature dramatic flair. “Imagine pointing your feet and them staying there,” she said, probably striking a ballerina pose. “It’s like a cramp that’s auditioning for a horror movie. I even broke ribs because the spasms were so severe!”

This heartfelt and humorous sit-down comes just before the release of “I Am: Céline Dion,” a Prime Video documentary that follows her journey with stiff-person syndrome and her fight to return to the stage. “I wasn’t ready to say anything before,” she admitted in the trailer, “but now, I’m all in.”

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“I miss performing so much. The fans, the lights, the spotlight—I miss it all. If I can’t run, I’ll walk. If I can’t walk, I’ll crawl,” she declared, sounding like the most determined sloth in showbiz. “No matter what it takes, I’m getting back on that stage!”

Catch the full interview on Today, airing weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on NBC. And don’t miss “I Am: Céline Dion,” premiering on Prime Video on June 25. Grab your tissues—and maybe some popcorn for those dramatic moments!

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