The strange story of Celine Dion's life just got a little stranger with revelations about a frozen embryo and the destruction of 200,000 copies of a magazine after her husband deemed them unfit.
"We have a little baby in our belly and one at the lab," a beaming Ms. Dion says in a coming television interview for the TVA network.
Ms. Dion, who became pregnant through in-vitro fertilization earlier this year, says a second embryo has been placed in frozen storage in New York. She hopes one day to have the other egg implanted into her for a second pregnancy, and has promised her mother that she will.
"Mom told me: 'You are going to go get him, right?' and I told her: 'Of course, mom, I will go get him, for sure.' "
The disclosure -- from the same star who a few months ago gave the world details of her pursuit of the much older René Angelil, now her husband, her in-vitro treatment and even her pregnancy-related acne -- was made amidst tightly controlled media conditions.
TVA had planned to publish an article about the interview in one of its celebrity magazines this weekend, only to have the edition recalled before it hit the stands, amid rumours that Mr. Angelil saw an advance copy and didn't like the cover.
The problem was a title in quotation marks on the cover: My Son Already Has A Twin. The magazine's publisher, Trustar Ltd., denied it had caved in to Mr. Angelil and insisted it made the decision on its own. "We agreed with René that maybe the headline didn't live up to the article," Trustar spokeswoman Renée-Claude Menard told a TVA reporter.
And at an advance screening of the interview for the media yesterday, the couple's handlers initially did not want reporters to tape Ms. Dion's comments, even for note-taking purposes.
Also, a photo from the interview was provided but takers had to sign a waiver agreeing not to crop the photo or use it in another context.
The revelation about the frozen embryo is sure to increase the buzz around the Quebec-born singer, who stunned observers earlier this year when she wrote in her autobiography that she fell in love as a teenager with Mr. Angelil, and used calculating tactics to snare him.
Other parts of the romance have also been played out on the public stage. They married in 1994 in a lavish ceremony at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, the traditional site of state funerals in the city.
The couple, who have a $7.8-million chateau outside Montreal, renewed their marriage vows earlier this year in an Arabian-Nights-style ceremony in Las Vegas, followed several months later by the announcement that Ms. Dion was pregnant.
The latest interview took place at the couple's Palm Beach house, in a pillared foyer, amidst gilded chairs and a marble table.
Mr. Angelil said Ms. Dion gave the interview to broadcaster Michel Jasmin because he was the first to promote her on television, when she was 13.
She told him that, on New Year's Day 2000, when she began a sabbatical from performing, she felt so burnt out she was on the edge of tears. "I was at the end of my tether."
Now, she said, "I sing all the time at home, in the shower . . . I sing to my son."
The interview's stunner was the revelation that, of all the eggs fertilized during Ms. Dion's in-vitro treatment, one, at a five-day-development stage, has been frozen in storage.
Because of that, Ms. Dion told Mr. Jasmin, she wants to have another child. "We have another child awaiting in New York, like in transit. I certainly couldn't live knowing of that child there."
She said she was heartened when her doctor told her that one client in a similar situation came back three years later and became pregnant again with the second embryo. "They're called lab twins. Technically it's a twin. It doesn't mean he's necessarily an identical twin but he was conceived at the same moment."
When Ms. Dion turned to in-vitro fertilization, some medical experts expressed hope that her public profile would help debunk myths about infertile couples.
Ms. Dion won't disappoint them. The interview provided detailed, frank information about the procedures she underwent.
She explained that, for a month, she had to inject herself with medication to regulate, then boost, her ovaries' egg production. Then, at the New York clinic, doctors harvested 22 eggs from her.
"I was proud of myself, I had bested my mother!" said Ms. Dion, the youngest of 14 children. "I called mom and told her : 'I have 22 eggs!' "
Of the 22 eggs, 14 were healthy enough to undergo the in-vitro fertilization. When she came back to have the fertilized eggs implanted, Ms. Dion had to make a difficult choice.
The more eggs she would take into her womb, the more chances she would have to become pregnant, but the riskier it would be too.
"It was a big shock when I was asked how many I wanted. I wasn't expecting that, at all. I always wanted a child and now I was asked how many I wanted. It was a bit odd."
She opted to have three eggs implanted, one of which fully developed.
Ms. Dion is expecting in mid-February and, although the boy's name hasn't been settled upon, she said she thought one of the first names should be René.
"It would be the legacy of René's love."