June 4, 2012 at 9:10 AM ET
Visitors to Las Vegas may have been wondering what could have happened to Celine Dion that would require her to cancel five weeks of shows. Here's the answer, as the Grammy-winning songstress told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Monday: She had a virus that affected her vocal cords.
"It was just choppy a little bit," said Dion. And while her heart may go on, her voice wouldn't let her go on -- so she had to make that difficult decision to stay off stage for a bit. "It's hard to do a show, but it's much harder to cancel the show. We disappointed a lot of people. It was hard."
There's one person out there, however, who was probably happy with a little less of Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," a song that won an Oscar after being featured in "Titanic" -- Kate Winslet. In March, the actress said the tune made her feel like "throwing up." But Dion took the criticism in stride -- and even admitted to some empathy with Winslet's statement.
"'My Heart Will Go On' gave me the opportunity to be associated with a classic that will live forever," she said. "If I just count how many times I've sung it, maybe it'll get me sick. If she feels tired just hearing it, and, like, throwing up, I'm glad she was not the one singing it."
For now, Dion is back from her break, and even has a new song, "Didn't Know Love." She said that no matter what happens to her voice, though, that is not what defines her. "I don't depend on my vocal cords," she said. "I don't depend on my success and my singing. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do. But I don't hold on to that. When you have children (Dion has three with husband Rene Angelil -- and notes that her 11-year-old son is more of a fan of Eminem than his mother's music), you have accomplished a lot."
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