Céline Dion Recalls Taking High Dose of Valium to Help Ease Stiff-Person Syndrome Symptoms

She spoke to Hoda Kotb in an NBC News special.

Celine Dion
(Image credit: Getty)

Céline Dion has further opened up about how she has dealt with her stiff-person syndrome over the years.

The superstar sat down with Hoda Kotb for an NBC News special, which aired on June 11, and explained that at one point she was taking a high dosage of Valium to help her manage her symptoms—and continue performing.

"We tried a lot of things. Trying a lot of things when you don’t know what you have can kill you," Dion explained (via Us Weekly).

"I did not know, honestly, that it could kill me. I would take, for example, 20 mg of Valium and just walking from my dressing room to backstage, it was gone already. That fast. 20 minutes."

At the time, the singer had not yet been diagnosed with SPS, and was scrambling to do anything she could to manage her pain.

Of the diazepam, she said, "it can kill you, you can stop breathing. And my body got used to it at 20, and 30 and 40 mg. It was relaxing my whole body but for how long? For two weeks, for a month? But then it doesn’t work anymore. More, more more."

At one point, Dion was taking up to 90 mg of the drug. "90 mg of Valium can kill you. You can stop breathing," she said (via NBC News).

Singer Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Céline Dion performs at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite experiencing certain symptoms since as early as 2008, Dion put off canceling her performances for as long as she could.

Speaking to People for their latest cover story, she put it this way: "I was going down, down, down. It took my whole life," she said.

"But it's like if my kids are rollerblading, for example, and one of their ankles is hurting. They don't want to tell me because I'm going to say, 'Well, take a break from rollerblading. I didn't want to stop. I wanted to stay onstage. I wanted to be brave instead of smart. That was wrong."

In 2022, the star was officially diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome.

In an emotional Instagram post in December 2022, Dion revealed her diagnosis publicly, and officially canceled certain tour dates and rescheduled others.

Since then, she has been candid with her fans about the details of her illness, and is preparing to release a documentary about her SPS journey—which will stream on Amazon Prime starting June 25.

I Am: Celine Dion - Official Trailer | Prime Video - YouTube I Am: Celine Dion - Official Trailer | Prime Video - YouTube
Watch On
Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.