LAS VEGAS – Celine Dion called it a wrap at Caesars Palace Saturday night, acknowledging on her final show that pregnancy and poor early reviews almost sank her titanic five-year engagement.
While the show was still in development in 2000, Dion, 39, became pregnant and told husband-manager Rene Angelil she did not want to continue.
"I had a life for the first time," the French-Canadian chanteuse said in a video before her 717th show. "I knew then that I wanted to have more success as a mother than a singer."
But Angelil told her too much money and too many people were involved. Not only would the Colosseum cost $95 million to build, her initial three-year, $100 million contract broke records for a live entertainer.
So she pushed on, fighting through initial bad reviews to make it five years of filling a 4,100-seat arena.
"At one point, it was like feeling like the Titanic was about to sink again," Dion said. "But we believed and we went on with it. Even though the vibe was not that positive for us."
For her final show, Dion interspersed her usual numbers with emotion-filled monologues. Adoring fans cheered, stood and clapped all the way through.
After her last number, Dion invited husband Angelil and her son, Rene-Charles, now 7, on stage with her. Rene-Charles repeatedly reached down to grab rose petals that rained down on the final bow, giving them to her.
"Most of us have left our families behind to give ourselves every night," she said. "I can assure you it was worth it."
Since opening in March 2003, Dion's show, "A New Day..." grossed more than $400 million and was seen by nearly 3 million fans. Dion said one fan had seen her Las Vegas show more than 100 times.
Dion grew up singing as the fourteenth child in her musical family. She sang for the first time publicly at age five and released her first albums, two simultaneously, at age 13.
She has sold 50 million albums in the United States alone.
Tickets for the final show were for sale on EBay for as much as $1,899.
Last month, Dion released "Taking Chances" her first English-language album in four years, and she sang the title song on the album during the extra-long finale.
The album was most recently the 12th best-selling in the U.S., according to Billboard magazine.
Dion starts touring with a first concert date set for Valentine's Day in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Taking Dion's place at Caesars Palace will be Bette Midler's "The Showgirl Must Go On," which is set to open Feb. 20.
"Tomorrow morning, it will be back to reality and back to (being) mommy," Dion told reporters after the show. One television reporter from TVA in Montreal presented Dion with a present of clothespins and a clothesline, for her increased role as a mother. "It's blue, like the eyes of my child," she said.