EXCLUSIVE: Celine Dion on emotional BBMAs honor and son's surprise: 'I thought I was going to make it through the night without tears'

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Celine Dion on Emotional Billboard Music Awards Appearance: 'I Just Collapsed'

It was an emotional night for Celine Dion.

The legendary singer, whose husband, acclaimed music producer Rene Angelil, died in January, was honored with the Icon Award at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, where she teared up after being surprised by her 15-year-old son Rene-Charles Angelil, who presented her with the award.

MORE: Celine Dion Tears Up After Son Rene-Charles Surprises Her With Icon Award at Billboard Music Awards

Backstage, Dion opened up to ET's Cameron Mathison about the emotional moment, and how finding strength in difficult times does not mean who have to conceal your feelings with those you love.

"You have to be strong, but I think it's important as well to not hold everything," she shared, admitting, "I tried to hold it in front of my 5-year-old twins, but my 15-and-a-half year old beautiful son is old enough to understand.

"Even though I did not want to cry, he understands it's okay because it is therapeutic and you can't take so much pressure," she continued. "You can take so much strength and weight on your shoulders, but sometimes you can't control everything."

See photos from the emotional moment:

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Celine Dion Billboard Music Awards 2016
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EXCLUSIVE: Celine Dion on emotional BBMAs honor and son's surprise: 'I thought I was going to make it through the night without tears'
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from son Rene Charles Angelil onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from son Rene Charles Angelil onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Lester Cohen/BBMA2016/Getty Images for dcp)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Lester Cohen/BBMA2016/Getty Images for dcp)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from son Rene Charles Angelil onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Singer Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion (L) accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from recording artist Seal onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Singer Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from son Rene Charles Angelil onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from son Rene Charles Angelil onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Singer Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Singer Celine Dion performs onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: Honoree Celine Dion accepts the Billboard Icon-Award from son Rene Charles Angelil onstage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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WATCH: Celine Dion Talks Life Without Late Husband René Angélil

This year, the music world also lost a legendary performer in Prince, and at one point, Dion stopped giving interviews to turn around and watch Madonna's heartfelt tribute to the late rock legend featuring Stevie Wonder.

For Dion's own performance, the 48-year-old songstress gave a heart-wrenching performance of Queen's "The Show Must Go On," which she told ET was her late husband's "favorite song."

WATCH: Celine Dion Pays Tribute to Late Husband in Triumphant Return to Las Vegas Stage

"To try to perform that song without collapsing was big enough," she explained, "and then I turned around and I saw my son. As a mother, I really, through this whole process of our new life, wanted to be strong."

"I thought I was going to make it through the whole night without tears and show strength, and love won," she said. "I just collapsed. I'm very thankful for the award and proud of my family so much."

For Dion, the performance marked a "new chapter" in her life as both a mother and performer.

"I'm not the first woman and I'm not the last one who will lose her husband," the singer shared. "It's hard, but my family is helping me through it. I hope I think people know that I don't do music, I don't do my passion and sing to win an award. It's never been the number one goal. It's to share moments with fans and the celebration of music itself."

WATCH: Prince Mourned at Private Religious Memorial Service in Minnesota

RELATED: Celine Dion and Rene Angelil through the years

60 PHOTOS
Celine Dion and Rene Angelil's Romance in Pictures
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EXCLUSIVE: Celine Dion on emotional BBMAs honor and son's surprise: 'I thought I was going to make it through the night without tears'
UNITED STATES - MARCH 01: Celine Dion and Rene Angelil In Los Angeles, United States In March 1990. (Photo by Pool 6500/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANADA - JUNE 19: Celine Dion celebrates her 10 years career In Montreal, Canada On June 19, 1991-Celine Dion and her manager Rene Angelil. (Photo by PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANADA - DECEMBER 15: Celine Dion's Wedding In Montreal, Canada On December 15, 1994-Celine Dion with husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANADA - MAY 01: Archives: Celine Dion In Montreal, Canada In May, 1996-December, 17, 1994, during her wedding with Rene Angelil. (Photo by Michel PONOMAREFF/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
MONACO - MAY 03: World Music Awards In Monte Carlo, Monaco On May 03, 1995 - Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by Jean-Pierre REY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANADA - SEPTEMBER 25: Celine Dion Starts World Tour In Quebec, Canada On September 25, 1995-With husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by Michel PONOMAREFF/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
FRANCE - JANUARY 22: With Husband Rene Angelil in Cannes, France on January 22, 1996. (Photo by Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
MONACO - MAY 08: World Music Awards In Monaco city, Monaco On May 08, 1996 - Celine Dion & Husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by Jean-Pierre REY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANADA - DECEMBER 17: Celine Dion celebrates the millions solds of album 'Falling into you' In Montreal, Canada On December 17, 1996-Celine Dion with her husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Celine Dion and Rene Angelil during The 69th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Celine Dion and Rene Angelil during The 70th Annual Academy Awards - Red Carpet at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
CANADA - MAY 01: Celine Dion decorates the national order of merit in Quebec, Canada on May 01, 1998-Celine Dion and her husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by Jean-Philippe DUMAS/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - DECEMBER 8: Singer Celine Dion (C) stands next to her husband Rene Angelil (L) and the President of Sony France Paul Rene Albertini (R) after receiving a diamond record for her album entitled 'S'il Suffisait d'Aimer' in Montreal, 07 December. (Photo credit should read ROBERT LABERGE/AFP/Getty Images)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion during The 25th Annual People's Choice Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Celine Dion and Rene Angelil during 26th Annual American Music Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Celine Dion & husband Rene Angelil (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Celine Dion & Husband Rene Angelil during The 25th Annual People's Choice Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Celine Dion & Husband Rene Angelil (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Celine Dion and Rene Angelil during 26th Annual American Music Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Celine Dion & Husband Rene Angelil during 71st Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
CANADA - SEPTEMBER 08: Celine Dion And Husband Rene Angelil Giving Press Conference In Montreal, Canada On September 08, 1999. (Photo by Michel PONOMAREFF/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANADA - OCTOBER 25: Celine Dion And Rene Angelil Attend A Hommage To Hockey Player Maurice Richard In Montreal, Canada On October 25, 1999-Rene Angelil And Celine Dion. (Photo by Michel PONOMAREFF/PONOPRESSE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Celine Dion & Husband Rene Angelil during 2000 Nabisco Golf Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, United States. (Photo by Sam Levi/WireImage)
Celine Dion & Husband Rene Angelil during 2000 Nabisco Golf Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, United States. (Photo by Sam Levi/WireImage)
392394 02: Pop star Celine Dion stands next to her husband, Rene Angelil, who holds their baby Rene-Charles July 25, 2001 as they arrive at the chappel of the Notre-Dame Basilica in old Montreal, Quebec before the baptism of their 6-month-old baby boy, The ceremony was celebrated by Mgr Michel SaydT in French, English and Arab under the Greek-Melkite rite. (Photo by Pierre Roussel / Getty Images)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion (Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive 1/WireImage)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion during VH-1 Divas 2002 - Backstage at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Celine Dion, her husband Rene Angelil and their 20-month-old baby boy Rene-Charles (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
Celine Dion & Rene Angelil during Celine Dion Opening Night Of 'A New Day' - Post Concert Press Conference at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
Celine Dion and Husband Rene Angelil during Celine Dion Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Her Achievements in Music at Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 15: Celine Dion and her husband Rene Angelil pose for a picture backstage during the 2004 World Music Awards at the Thomas and Mack Center on September 15, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 1: Singer Celine Dion and her husband and manager Rene Angelil walk from a news conference to a ceremony marking the opening of the 26-story, 949-room Augustus Tower at Caesars Palace September 1, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dion, who performs in her show 'A New Day...' at Caesars, also announced that she and her husband and manager Rene Angelil pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Harrah's operates three casinos in the Gulf Coast area that were heavily damaged by Katrina. Gary Loveman, Chairman, CEO and President of Harrah's Entertainment, announced that all of the 8,000 employees at the properties will get their salaries for 90 days from the hurricane and that Harrah's will pick up the costs for all of their health care premiums indefinitely. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion during Caesars Palace Augustus Tower Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Canadian pop star Celine Dion, her husband Rene Angelil and their child Rene Charles (Photo by Mehdi Taamallah/FilmMagic)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion at the in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Dimitrios Papadopoulos/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 07: Singer Celine Dion (L) and her husband and manager Rene Angelil help give away prizes to audience members at the end of the 500th performance of Dion's 'A New Day...' show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace May 7, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show raised over USD one million for the Celine Dion Foundation, which will split the money evenly between ten Las Vegas charities. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 07: Singer Celine Dion (R) hugs her husband and manager Rene Angelil (C) as they draw tickets to give away prizes to audience members at the end of the 500th performance of Dion's 'A New Day...' show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace May 7, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show raised over USD one million for the Celine Dion Foundation, which will split the money evenly between 10 Las Vegas charities. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - JUNE 04: Singer Celine Dion (R) and her husband and manager Rene Angelil pose before a fashion show by jewelry designer Chris Aire at the Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace June 4, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 03: Singer Celine Dion and her husband and manager Rene Angelil pose after Dion performed at the 41st annual Labor Day Telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the South Coast Hotel & Casino September 3, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 25: Singer Celine Dion (R) and her husband Rene Angelil attend the 79th Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 25, 2007 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion at the Mortons in West Hollywood, California (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 10: Singer Celine Dion (L) and her husband and manager Rene Angelil pose during a farewell masquerade themed party at Caesars Palace September 10, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her show will close on December 15, 2007, after a nearly-five year sold out run. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Caesars Palace)
MONTE CARLO, MONACO - NOVEMBER 04: Singer Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil are seen with the Legend Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in the awards room, during the 2007 World Music Awards on November 4, 2007 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)
Rene Angelil and Celine Dion attend the 2007 World Music Awards held at the Sporting Club on November 4, 2007 in Monte Carlo.
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: ***EXCLUSIVE***Manager Rene Angelil and Singer Celine Dion in the audience during the 2007 American Music Awards held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on November 18, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/AMA/Getty Images for AMA)
LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 15: Singer Celine Dion is embraced by her husband and manager Rene Angelil and their son Rene-Charles Angelil after the final performance of her show 'A New Day...' at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace December 15, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Almost three million people watched Dion perform 717 shows since it opened in March 2003. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for AEG Live/Concerts West)
(FILES) Canadian singer Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil pose upon arrival at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, southern France, 26 January 2008 to attend the 2008 NRJ Music Awards. Dion is 14 weeks pregnant with twins, it was reported on May 31, 2010. AFP PHOTO VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 21: Singer Celine Dion (R) with husband Rene Angelil (L) attend the Taking Chances World Tour press conference at the Primedia Broadcasting Studios on February 21, 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Michelly Rall/WireImage)
Canadian singer Celine Dion (3R) poses with her husband Rene Angelil (L), her child Rene-Charles, her mother Therese (2L), and French President Nicolas Sarkozy (R), after she was awarded with France's Legion d'Honneur during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 22, 2008. AFP PHOTO POOL CHARLES PLATIAU (Photo credit should read CHARLES PLATIAU/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 07: Celine Dion, Rene Charles Angelil and Rene Angelil attend the Portland Trailblazers Vs. New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Singer Celine Dion (R) and her husband Rene Angelil attend the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 16: Rene Angelil, Rene-Charles Angelil and Celine Dion attend the premiere of Celine: Through The Eyes of The World presented by Piaget at Regal South Beach Cinema on February 16, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sony)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 16: Celine Dion, Nelson Dion Angelil, Eddy Dion Angelil, Rene Angelil and Rene-Charles Dion Angelil arrive at Caesars Palace on February 16, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
(L-R) Rene Angelil and singer Celine Dion arrive at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California.
DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 22: Celine Dion and Rene Angelil attend the 'BAMBI Awards 2012' at the Stadthalle Duesseldorf on November 22, 2012 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 27: Singer Celine Dion reacts to a standing ovation from the audience as she performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace as she resumes her residency on August 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show had been on hiatus since August 2014 when Dion stopped performing to care for her ailing husband Rene Angelil. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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