Hoda Kotb Says Celine Dion Almost Revealed When She’s Returning To Stage During Interview: ‘Wouldn’t That Be Spectacular?’

Hoda Kotb has a secret. Actually, the Today Show co-host revealed to Andy Cohen on Tuesday night’s (July 9) Watch What Happens Live that during her recent sit-down with Celine Dion to discuss the singer’s terrifying battle with Stiff-Person Syndrome the Canadian superstar almost spilled the beans about a potential return to the stage.


Answering a fan question about an interview teaser for the prime time NBC special that aired on June 11 in which Kotb appeared to suggest that Dion would be “performing soon” after years off the stage due to the neurological condition, the caller wondered if Kotb was suggesting that Celine might make her triumphant return by performing at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

“That’s a good question,” Kotb said, explaining that when the two were walking around Dion’s property she asked the singer when she planned to perform again after cancelling a planned world 2023-2024 world tour due to her battle with the rare neurological disorder that causes severe muscle spasms; Dion had earlier cancelled the 2022 dates on her North American Courage world tour before revealing her medical condition. With Dion’s manager off camera and out of range, Kotb said Celine asked her team, “can I tell her?” At that point Kotb said Dion’s manager yelled “no! no!”

“So I was like, ‘so there’s something?’,” Kotb recalled thinking about the possibility that Dion would play her first show since March 2020. “Whether it’s the Paris Olympics, wouldn’t that be spectacular? Celine Dion at the Paris Olympics… that would be amazing, but I don’t know. I know she’s going to be performing live again.” The opening ceremonies of the summer games are slated for July 26 and, for the first time, they will kick things off not in a stadium but on the scenic River Seine, with the march of the athletes and a roster of performers who’ve not yet been announced.

WWHL host Andy Cohen threw cold water on the speculation, saying that Dion’s ailment is unpredictable, which would likely render a firm-date show difficult to nail down. “She’s gonna perform again. There is always going to be a date and time to perform,” Kotb responded, noting that Dion’s current regimen of medications is more balanced and, unlike before, is not focused on just relaxing her muscles and keeping them from uncontrolled spasms.

In the prime time chat, Dion said she was so desperate to alleviate the pain from the severe muscle spasms during her nearly two-decade long battle with the rare neurological/autoimmune disease that she took nearly fatal doses of Valium.

“I did not know, honestly, that it could kill me. I would take, for example before a performance, 20 milligrams of Valium, and then just walking from my dressing room to backstage — it was gone,” Dion told Kotb of the pain relief the medication offered at the almost toxic levels she was taking. “At one point, the thing is, that my body got used to it at 20 and 30 and 40 [milligrams] until it went up. And I needed that. It was relaxing my whole body. For two weeks, for a month, the show would go on… but then you get used to [and] it doesn’t work anymore.”

Kotb also praised Dion for her tenacity while answering the question about what she learned during her NBC special on the singer. “She is an incredible fighter. I had no idea what she had been through, how close she came at some point to actually not surviving it,” Kotb told Cohen. “Yes here she is and she’s singing again and all those things.”

Though the performance exchange Kotb described to Cohen did not make it into the special, Dion has left the door open during the interview to a stage return this year after battling the disease she said causes spasm so intense they caused broken ribs and sometimes made it feel like “somebody is strangling you.”

In addition to teasing her performance reboot to Kotb, Dion also seeded hope in her recent Prime Video doc I Am: Celine Dion, in which she said of her determination to play for her beloved fans again. “If I can’t run, I’ll walk. If I can’t walk, I’ll crawl… I won’t stop,” she said.

Check out Kotb talking Dion’s return to stage below (Dion talk comes in at 2:50 mark).

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