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Guylaine Tanguay reveals rare secrets about his brother’s illness

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On September 23, Guylaine Tanguay celebrated her 50th birthday on stage with her audience. A few days before her, she gathered her family to celebrate the event, which allowed her to write the most positive account of her life. “I’m still so in love with Carl, she said, my family life is going well and so is my career.” The only shadow on the board, the brother’s illness, to remind us that we have to go back to basics. At 50, those who present your favorites in my way want more than ever to enjoy the present moment and not put off anything.

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Photo: Julien Faugere / TVA Pu

Guylaine, introduce us to the third album My way. What do we find in this work?

There have been Ginette my way, Celine my wayand now this third album which is called Your favorites My way. It was born of special requests that people sent us during the pandemic. Several titles came from the French song, a repertoire I haven’t explored often in my career. Since there were many titles, we decided to bring them together in an album, dedicated to great performers. The Aznavour classics (Bohemian)by Sardou (Love sickness) and Dasino (Hello lovers) they evoke many memories in people. It makes them happy and I make myself happy at the same time.

You are currently on tour. Do you present the songs from your three albums on stage?

Absolutely! The show is the story of these three albums. I don’t offer my old directory, except when I recall. Singing Ginette, Céline and other giants of French song is a great challenge for a singer. I challenge my voice, my heart and even my soul, because these are fantastic lyrics and even more difficult songs than many others. And some are breaking my heart right now … Life has always held surprises for me, good and bad. This year I have to live this show despite what we are going through in our family.

Are you referring to your brother’s illness?

Yes. We support my brother in sickness. News isn’t always good news. Furthermore, we must respect everyone’s rhythms. I like to take care of my loved ones and my brother, especially right now. But, due to my professional commitments, I cannot experience my pain as I go along. So, it often happens to live things late, after the others. This is the case right now: I don’t have time to live with my pain. And if I cry, I have to do it when I have a break. I have no choice.


Photo: Julien Faugere / TVA Pu

You just celebrated your 50th birthday on September 23rd. You were on stage on your birthday when you launched your album. Was she your choice?

Yes. I live things intensely in music. The album came out on the 23rd, we were on stage the same night at Abitibi and we were launching the new album. All my life I’ve wanted to sing, and that’s what I do!

How are you approaching this new decade?

For me 50 years is a number, nothing more. I really don’t have a problem with my age. So, the only way to take this step is to honor my age and consider myself lucky to be alive. It is a lesson I have learned this year, due to my brother’s illness. He is 46 years old. In fact, I recently wrote to him that he has to live every day to the full, whatever awaits him. He is my inspiration. I would like to stop taking care of him, but it doesn’t work like that in my job. I can’t interrupt my tour. It represents great responsibility morally and financially. At the same time, every time I go on stage, he makes me feel good. Since I was a child I have lived my joys and my sorrows on a stage …

Do you see any advantages of aging?

For me, growing old means learning from life, trying to improve myself, sweetening the life around me and mellowing a little. I am intense and demanding with myself. I wish I could take a little more time to think for myself in everything I’m going through. I’m lucky because I’m still with Carl, my husband. Between us, it is happiness. Our couple is strong and we are still in love. Every night, I can’t wait to pamper him … It’s a real privilege! He knows me from A to Z. He is always there to support me. I am grateful for this love and also for my stable family life. My children are fine. All this is priceless! We often focus on our problems, but we must not forget to appreciate everything that is going well in our life.


Photo: Dominic Gouin / TVA Pub

For your birthday, was it important to celebrate the occasion with your family?

Yes. Normally I would have received it at home, but I ran out of time. So, just before my birthday, I gathered my daughters for dinner at the restaurant. These moments are essential for my survival. I can’t live without them. When I’m with my family, I do Reset. I am proud of my daughters. Mélissa, Mary-Pier and Marilyn are also happy as a couple. Everyone has a man in her life who takes care of her. It is reassuring for a mother. I know they are fine and with their lover they can afford to be who they are.


Photo: Bruno Petrozza / Les Pu

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Finally, even if not everything is perfect, there are many areas in your life that make you happy …

Yes, despite what happens to my brother, life goes on. He is the first to write to me to tell me that he saw me on TV or that he read an article about me in a magazine. He sends me messages: “Bravo, my sister! I am proud of you! “He is happy that I continue. When he received his diagnosis, he told me that he would be angry if I stopped because he is sick … He wants us to stay solid around him. Through illness, he teaches us a great lesson.

Is this event an invitation to live and enjoy life to the fullest?

Yes. I am a good life and I have always tried to enjoy life. Carl and I prefer to live in the present moment by not putting off professional and personal projects. We also invite our daughters to propose projects that are important to them and to be happy in their personal life. So, in this moment, life pushes us not to postpone and to live intensely. I’ve always been intense and I intend to be even more intense.

Would turning fifty create an urgency in some way?

Yes, because even if I don’t feel old at all, I am realistic: I still have good years ahead of me, but it may be that in certain moments I have less strength or less courage. Sometimes, despite ourselves, we have to slow down. Obviously I slowed down a bit and put off some personal projects to spend time with my brother. So I feel the urge to do everything we have on our list. I know that sooner or later I will become a grandmother, as my daughters want children. When we have grandchildren, I want us to be able to spend time with them and have that experience to the fullest, because Carl and I love children. When that happens, I want us to have time to enjoy it. So, the urgency right now is to implement all of our plans so that I can finally take care of my grandchildren and give our daughters a break.


Photo: Julien Faugere / TVA Pu

Do you consider aging a privilege to cherish?

I think it’s nice to grow old. It’s a chance to celebrate your 50th, 60th or 70th birthday! You have to accept your age, whatever it is, because you never know what can happen. My brother will turn 47 at the end of October. He will celebrate differently, but he will celebrate anyway. Being alive is a real blessing!

And in your opinion is aging also gaining wisdom?

Yes. When I was young, I wanted to build my life and buy myself a house. I had a lot of responsibilities and concerns. Then things settled down. Now I live comfortably, but I have never spent too much. I didn’t move house for a bigger one. I have not poured myself into luxury either. We only have one car. In fact, we haven’t changed anything in our way of life, even though Carl thinks I invest in saddlebags! (laughs) We have chosen to have a simple life. I find this to be a phase where there is less pressure. This is what I live for and I am proud of. I am comfortable with myself. I accepted my face, my body, the added wrinkles. Sure, I buy face serums, but I haven’t exaggerated. This also makes me proud. At 50, I’m at peace with all the decisions I’ve made. When I reunited with my family, I confirmed once again that I made the right choices and walked the right paths. I realized once again how much I am in the right place in my life.

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Guylaine Tanguay presents us a new album, Your Favorites My Way. Find out more about Guylaine’s tour at www.guylainetangay.ca.

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