Photographer Reveals Drug Addiction While Unmasking Private Life of Celine Dion: Celine Dion's Private Life Shown in New Book

By Abraham, Lois | The Canadian Press, April 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

Photographer Reveals Drug Addiction While Unmasking Private Life of Celine Dion: Celine Dion's Private Life Shown in New Book


Abraham, Lois, The Canadian Press


TORONTO - Celine Dion and Rene Angelil's one-time personal photographer has released a book containing more than 600 candid shots of the celebrity couple, whom he credits with helping him kick a drug addiction.

While "Celine: Beyond the Image" is chock-full of intimate shots of the Quebec diva and her family, it also details Laurent Cayla's personal story.

The Montrealer worked for Dion and Angelil from 1997 to 2006, snapping intimate shots of the pair during trips, performances and family events.

It was at a Christmas party, Cayla recalled, when Dion finally confronted him about his substance abuse.

The photographer says Dion touched the cross he always wore around his neck and told him: "I know that you'll pull out of this."

While Cayla had been in and out of rehab, he said the diva's words had an impact.

"(I felt) something very strong, that I'm worth something, you know, and from there the next day I went in therapy and I started rehab and after a year I gave them the idea of doing the book and she let me go with all the pictures I wanted."

He sifted through some 25,000 photos to come up with more than 600 for the book, released in English this week from ECW Press. Most of the photos have never been published and were not retouched.

Journalist Diane Massicotte spent 30 hours interviewing Cayla for the text, which intertwines his story with that of Dion's.

Cayla says half of the book's profits will go to the Celine Dion Foundation to help others with addictions.

Telling his story "was hard, but it's a release too," said Cayla, 52.

"This book exists today so that a story of suffering and endurance can be told. Without this story, and Celine and Rene's support, I sincerely believe that I would not be alive," Cayla writes in the book's preface.

Dion and Angelil wrote in the foreword: "When Laurent told us about his idea for a photo book, we saw an opportunity to turn a difficult situation into a message of hope that might help someone, somewhere, who just needs somebody to believe in them again."

Originally a golf photographer, Cayla first met Angelil on the greens and was later invited to shoot the couple during a visit 1997 with Muhammad Ali. …

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