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Hoda Kotb Says Céline Dion Is Planning a Surprise Return Performance

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Hoda Kotb is sharing some illuminating comments that happened behind-the-scenes during her emotional interview with Céline Dion

The 59-year-old Today co-host sat down with the 56-year-old Canadian pop icon back in June to discuss her health battle with Stiff Person Syndrome and her future as she navigates her medical struggles. 

“First of all, she’s 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 shared of Dion on Tuesday’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “And now here she is, and she’s singing again.”

Dion previously shared with Kotb that singing with her medical condition felt “like being strangled.” 

The “My Heart Will Go On” singer previously shared that the condition causes parts of her body to spasm, and it has been so intense that it has caused her to break a rib. 

Hoda Kotb talks with Celine Dion about her Stiff Person Syndrome in June 2024.NBC News/YouTube

“It can be in the abdominal. It can be in the spine, in the ribs. But it feels like if I point my feet, it will stay in it,” Dion explained to Kotb. “Or if I cook, my fingers or my hands will get in position. It’s cramping, but it’s like you’re in the position of you cannot unlock them.” 

However, Kotb did tease after their interview that Dion had plans to return to the stage for a live performance. So when a caller asked the journalist what she knew about this potential appearance, Kotb spilled some tea on WWHL

“Her manager was off-camera, and I was like, ‘So what’s going on? When are you performing again?’ And she goes, ‘Can I tell her?'” Kotb shared, adopting Dion’s accent. “And her manager goes, ‘No!’ He screams, ‘No,’ I was like, there’s something.” 

Canadian singer Celine Dion announces the Montreal Canadians first round pick during the Upper Deck NHL Draft on June 28, 2024 at the Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada.Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The caller questioned whether that appearance might take place during the upcoming Paris Olympics. Kotb admitted to not knowing for sure, but said she thought that would be “spectacular.”

“That would be amazing! Oh, I just got chills,” Kotb’s co-host Savannah Guthrie exclaimed. 

“That would be amazing, but I don’t know,” Kotb added. “I know she’s going to be performing live again, though. I don’t know where.”

Getting a bit carried away with the notion, Guthrie gushed, “It has to be the Paris Olympics. That would be incredible.”

However, WWHL host Andy Cohen was more skeptical, noting, “I think it’s not gonna be and here’s why. I think it would be amazing, but my understanding is that this is something she can’t control. And so if it was something so set.”

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb talk Celine Dion on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.WWHL/YouTube

But Kotb challenged that idea, sharing that Dion has found a more manageable regimen of medications she takes, saying, “So you never know. I mean, if she knows she’s performing at a certain hour, let’s do it.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, Stiff Person Syndrome is “a rare disorder of motor function characterized by involuntary stiffness of axial muscles and superimposed painful muscle spasms, which are often induced by startle or emotional stimuli.”

Dion documented her health journey for the new Prime Video docuseries, I Am: Celine Dion

Kotb previously opened up to ET about Dion’s coping mechanisms on stage when she first started experiencing symptoms of Stiff Person Syndrome. 

“She would sing her songs and then she would take the microphone and put it out to the crowd,” Kotb told ET last month. “Why? To get a break. Her fans were helping her.”

Celine Dion performs on the opening night of her new world tour Courage at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Quebec, on Sept. 18, 2019.ALICE CHICHE/AFP via Getty Images

When COVID-19 hit, Kotb said it was “weirdly a blessing” for Dion “because now she could heal, she could stop, she could be home.” However, during that time at home, Dion canceled her remaining Courage World Tour dates due to “severe and persistent muscle spasms.” Afterwards, Dion entered into a self-imposed isolation of sorts.

“She is used to singing for big crowds, so since she couldn’t sing, she said she didn’t want to go outside and be with her children because people would say, ‘Oh, she seemed fine with her kids… Why wasn’t she on stage? I had to get my money back for my ticket,'” Kotb said of Dion, who shared sons René-Charles, 23, Nelson, 13, and Eddy, 13, with her late husband, René Angélil.

“She was so concerned about (her fans), so it was kind of an isolation where she was living,” Kotb added. “She was learning to work with a PT to keep her muscles limber to know what to do when something starts to to cramp up.”

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