What You Don't Know About Adele

With her once-in-a-generation voice, Adele has ruled the music industry since her debut album "19" dropped in 2008. Chatting with Westword the following year, the young Adele, who was barely past her teenage years, predicted her voice would continue to grow and blossom. "I think I'll still be coming into my own when I'm thirty," she said. With iconic songs like "Rolling in the Deep," "Hello," and "Someone Like You," Adele's subsequent albums further showed off her inimitable voice and all-ages appeal. Oh, and let us not forget all of the records she's shattered. In 2015, her album "25" sold an astounding 3.38 million copies in just its first week, per Billboard. Then, the 2021 single "Easy On Me" on her fourth album became Spotify's most-streamed song in a single day, the company tweeted. It was the lead single to the album titled "30," proving her own prediction right of continued growth as an artist.

Whether it's getting Spotify to change its own rules or picking up Grammy after Grammy, Adele's influence is impressive. But behind all the success is an artist with a complicated past. For example, her songs about heartbreak are often based on real-life experiences. Adele has also dealt with family issues and struggled in the spotlight more than once. Fortunately, her booming voice has risen above it all to provide fans with comforting music.

This is what you don't know about Adele.

Life in London for Adele

Born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, the future Grammy winner grew up in Tottenham, England. A star of humble beginnings, her hometown of Tottenham was "one of the most impoverished communities in England," according to Out. Financial matters aside, she fondly remembers her upbringing, telling i-D, "I had a great childhood. I was very loved." 

As an only child, Adele was raised by her mother, Penny Adkins, and stepfather, Simon. Speaking with Vogue in 2009, Adele called her mother "the most supportive mum ever" and shared that she was aiming to "sell 20 million records" so Penny will "never have to work again." (Of course, Adele would go on to obliterate that goal.)

Per i-D, Adele was also close with her grandparents, and when her grandfather died, it inspired her to try to get into the medical field — specifically, she hoped to become a heart surgeon when she grew up. "I wanted to fix people's hearts," she shared with the outlet. As one may deduce, her dreams of operating on one of the most vital organs in the human body did not stick. What's more, Adele's dreams of becoming a singer were almost dashed, too: As she shared with Vogue, the music teacher at her high school apparently had no interest in bringing in one of the best voices in recent history. "She wouldn't let me in the choir!" she recalled.

Music spoke to Adele early on

"I've always been obsessed with voices since I was 4 years old," Adele revealed to Express Night Out in 2009. One of the voices that caught her ear was the voice that belonged to legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald — so much so that, as The Guardian wrote in 2008, Adele learned to "impersonate" Fitzgerald. The "Set Fire to the Rain" vocalist's musical vocabulary continued to blossom, as her friends "introduced her to R&B via Destiny's Child, Faith Evans and P Diddy." Her mother helped expand her musical horizons, too. "Even when I was 10 and 11, I knew my mom had brilliant taste in music — I just wasn't ready to embrace it," she told Out. "Now they're my favorite artists."

As Adele recalled in the aforementioned Out interview, Lauryn Hill's masterpiece "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" really resonated with her as a young girl — even though the lyrical content went right over her head. Another formative album was "Frank" by the late Amy Winehouse, which came out in 2008. As Adele told i-D, that record inspired her to try her hand at songwriting. "If it wasn't for Amy and 'Frank,' one hundred per cent I wouldn't have picked up a guitar ... this wouldn't have happened," she shared. Luckily, "this" did happen, and her maiden songwriting voyage went rather well. "I was sixteen when I wrote my first song," she said in Westword. "I wrote 'Hometown Glory' when I was sixteen." Talk about hitting a glorious home run.

Where Adele honed her skills

Though she started singing at a young age, Adele was "never musically encouraged" at her grade school in England, per The Guardian. But this changed after Adele headed to the famed BRIT School. According to Vogue, Adele's mother enrolled the teen into the prestigious institution. "I never got bored, so I was never getting in trouble," Adele said about her time at BRIT. She told the outlet that previously, she'd "always had a problem taking teachers seriously, whereas there, you wanted to listen to them because they'd all done it, practiced whatever subject they were teaching." The singer also went to class with impressive peers including Jessie J and Leona Lewis.

Before Adele arrived, the most famous BRIT school student was the late Amy Winehouse. However, their paths didn't cross at the academy. As Adele clarified to Vice, she and Winehouse "didn't really know each other, we weren't friends or anything like that." Instead, Winehouse was an inspiration to Adele to start a career in music. "I adored her," Adele said about the "Back to Black" singer. After four years at the school, Adele left at the age of 18. "A lot of people feel trapped by youth, but at Brit I felt f***ing alive," she recalled to Out. "I took it very seriously," Adele said about her school's encouragement to write original songs. She also credited the school for learning the business side of the music industry, The Guardian reported.

What Adele thinks about her look

Early on in her career, Adele was upfront that she wanted her voice to be her defining feature, not looks. "I'd rather weigh a ton and make an amazing album than look like Nicole Richie and do a s*** album. My aim in life is never to be skinny," she told Q Magazine (via NME). In a later interview with Vogue, she said, "Fans are encouraged that I'm not a size 0 — that you don't have to look a certain way to do well." 

After she dropped around 100 pounds in a two-year span, Adele told Oprah Winfrey that her weight loss started because of mental health reasons. "I had the most terrifying anxiety attacks after I left my marriage. They'd paralyze me completely," Adele shared in the 2021 interview. As a result, she found comfort in exercising to feel back in control of her body. Additionally, the regimented schedule of exercising helped keep her in focus when she "had nothing else to do." Adele became so proficient at the gym that she was able to deadlift 170 pounds at her peak, up from her starting weight of 10 pounds on the bar.

The singer also talked about the public's reaction to her physical transformation. "I'm not shocked or even fazed by it because my body has been objectified my entire career," Adele said. "I was body positive then and I'm body positive now."

Details about Adele's divorce

Adele first linked up with Simon Konecki in 2011, and the two later married and had a son together named Angelo. But outside of her music, Adele and Konecki kept much of their relationship under wraps — including their nuptials. "Their wedding was so private there aren't even pictures online," Rolling Stone noted. After a few years of marriage, Adele decided to end the relationship through divorce.

In a 2021 chat with Oprah Winfrey, Adele talked about the moment she realized she wanted to end her marriage. She recalled telling her friends that she was "really not happy" with where she was at, sharing that she felt like she was "not living" her life. "I'm just plodding along," she remembered saying. This set the wheels in motion for her split, a life change she doesn't take lightly. "I'm just embarrassed that I didn't make my marriage work," Adele said. Though it didn't pan out, the singer told Oprah that she doesn't regret the relationship. "I think Simon probably saved my life, to be honest with you," she said. "He came at such a moment, where the stability that him and Angelo have given me, no one else would ever have been able to give me."

Even after the split and the release of her album "30," Adele revealed she and Konecki have remained on good terms. That said, the pair don't exactly dive too deep into the lyrical content of her fourth album. "We don't sit around and talk about it," she said.

Adele has a complicated family history

Adele's dad, Mark Evans, left the family when she was three years old, but as the singer told Vogue, she was open to making up for lost time years later.  "I was actually ready to start trying to have a relationship with him," she said. Well, that all changed when Evans reportedly "sold a story about her to the Sun newspaper." She wished her dad didn't give into the press and the entire scenario put a further distance between the two. "How dare you comment on my life? It makes my blood boil," she said. Adele concluded about her father, "If I ever see him I will spit in his face."

In a statement to the Daily Mail, Adele's father explained his side of the story. "When she sings, it's so beautiful but it brings back too many memories. It's too painful," he admitted (via the Telegraph). After watching Adele take home several Grammy Awards — including Album of the Year — in 2012, Evans said, "There's so much regret on my part — regret that I wasn't a better father to her." He added about his famous daughter, "I let her down badly, and I wish I could turn the clock back and do things differently."

Years later, Evans became ill and as a result, he and Adele began to talk once again. In her sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, Adele shared that they reached a place of forgiveness before he died in May 2021.

Adele wanted to make a change

Throughout her career, Adele has been open about her history with alcohol. In her younger days, Adele stopped drinking after seeing the paparazzi shots of her that were snapped while she was out on the town. "I was being an idiot and getting drunk," she said in a 2009 interview for Westword. "I just saw photos of myself and quotes I didn't like." As a result, she decided she'd rather stay home to watch movies and play video games. In a 2012 interview with Vogue, Adele shared that she still occasionally smoked but once again gave up drinking. Though she maintained she "has written some of her best songs" after imbibing, Adele said, "I think I got it out of my system." And in 2015, Adele told i-D that even though drinking could help bring out the truth, "That's why I don't really like drinking no more. The panic you get when you wake up the next morning."

"I've always had a very close relationship with alcohol," Adele said in Vogue in 2021. "I was always very fascinated by alcohol. It's what kept my dad from me." In her one-on-one with Oprah Winfrey, the powerhouse singer shared that she "probably kept the alcohol industry alive" at the time of her divorce, but eventually made a change. "Once I realized that I had a lot of work to do on myself, yeah, I stopped drinking," she said.

Adele talks about life as a mom

In 2012, Adele became a mom to son Angelo. The year before, she released "21," a watershed moment for her career. Balancing life as a singer and life as a mother hasn't always been easy for Adele, as she's struggled with being away from her son while she goes off to do, you know, music superstar things. "[Leaving to film the "Hello" music video] was the most exhausting thing ever, being without my baby," she told i-D.  As far as her experience raising a child, Adele confessed, "It's f***ing hard. I thought it would be easy ... I had no idea." She also admitted that while motherhood has its difficult moments, "It's the greatest thing I ever did." She added, "It used to be that my own world revolved around me, but now it has to revolve around him."

Even with her wonderful voice, Adele said in i-D that she rarely sang lullabies to her kid because anything other than "Row Row Row Your Boat" didn't land. Even as he grew older, Angelo enjoyed the music of other artists besides his mom. In her 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview, Adele said her son didn't fully comprehend her star status. Oscars, schmoscars — Angelo's more impressed by the number of fans at a Taylor Swift concert he attended.

What it's like to be Adele

"I hate the red carpet," Adele once confessed to Vogue. "I don't feel insecure, I just feel like, Oh, I don't want to do this. I literally get a stomach cramp." She admitted that she didn't like attending award shows because of all of the other famous celebrities in attendance, telling the outlet that she felt like an outsider who didn't belong at the event... despite her obvious qualifications. But some of her old pals noticed her fame was growing, which sadly led to troubled relationships. Adele told Out that because of her level of celebrity, she lost friends "who just don't get it and treat me weird." Though Adele admitted that she was sometimes impressed after meeting other public figures she admired, she also interacted with "people I don't admire who are completely affected by their success, and I f***ing hate them." Adele said her worst nightmare would be to become full of herself.

In an interview for Vice, Adele further elaborated why she's wary of fame. Calling it toxic, she said, "I'm just frightened of it." At the time, she was worried about stardom  "destroying me and it ruining me, and me getting lost." Instead, Adele vowed to keep as normal of a life as possible, both for her well-being and to still be relatable to fans. "No one wants to listen to a record from someone that's lost touch with reality," she said.

How Adele was discovered

Adele began to write songs as a teen and by the time she left her training at the BRIT school, she had three demo songs, per Out. Adele also started to perform live around this time. As detailed by Vogue, Adele's musician friend Jack Peñate convinced her to open for him at the intimate Troubadour venue in London. "I went on first and I was on my own, and the whole room was packed," Adele recalled of her performance. While singing, she remembered, "the whole room was silent, and I saw these random girls just, like, crying." Adele said this was the exact moment that she fell in love with performing live.

Another friend then helped Adele create a Myspace page, one of the original social media networks. The timing couldn't have been better for Adele to upload her performances for the world to hear because Myspace was growing in popularity. As Vogue recounted, Nick Huggett from the XL Recordings label reached out through Myspace, "assuming that she already had a record deal and a manager. When he found out that she had neither, he set her up with manager Jonathan Dickins, and suddenly she had an album deal." Just like that, Adele went from a casual singer to the next big star in music. "I never saw any of it coming. I didn't realize it was going to get so carried with itself," Adele confessed to Vice about her rapid rise to fame.

A few of Adele's favorite things

The more Adele's appeal grows, the more she can also control just about every aspect of her career. As reported by The Smoking Gun in 2011, Adele's tour rider — requirements she sets to any hosting venue — requested "promoters to provide her with a pack of Marlboro Lights and a disposable lighter." For refreshments, Adele asked for "an assortment of chewing gum, and a small plate of 'freshly made, individually wrapped sandwiches' that 'must NOT contain tomatoes, vinegar, chilli or citrus fruit.'" Then on her tour bus, she would always have a stock of bite-sized candy bars in addition to exactly six "cereal bars." In addition to a few bottles of the "very best quality red wine," Adele required a 12-pack of the "best quality European lager beer." Above all else, she clarified that no matter what, "North American beer is NOT acceptable."

The venues she's played in the past have been small compared to, say, the stadium tours by other big artists like Taylor Swift. And that's how Adele wanted it. As she told the Independent in 2011, she preferred to avoid shows with massive crowds. (Of course, that's not to say she hasn't played huge rooms: As MusicBusinessWorldwide noted, the Adele Live 2016 tour hit giant arena after giant arena.) Adele also said in the Independent that she wanted to avoid selling out, whether that meant using her image for advertising or releasing a deluxe version of her albums to sell more copies.

Inside Adele's first relationships

It's no secret that the lyrical content on Adele's first album "19" was inspired by one of her old boyfriends. After the release of her debut, Adele talked about her ex's reaction to the collection of songs — and it sounds like he didn't take it on the chin. "I've seen him a few times," she told Westword. "He's a bit bitter." Adele said about their failed relationship, "I didn't do anything wrong. It was him!" The singer went on to say that, in this particular case, forgiveness is her call. "And it's all not forgiven!" She also noted the wildly different directions the two of them went after the breakup. "He's working in a phone shop, and I'm sitting in a New York office right now, looking out at Manhattan," she said. "So I'm very happy. I'm very pleased with it."

Adele found love again following the split that spawned "19." However, that relationship was not meant to be either and provided the base for her sophomore album "21." She told Out, "I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for not making my relationship with my ex on 21 work, because he's the love of my life." Adele even confessed that she was so enamored with her former "soul mate" that she would have quit music just for him. Though she confessed her ex "made me really weak," she found positives from the relationship. The singer revealed she not only became fearless but also learned what she wanted in future relationships.

Adele's Los Angeles life

Following her smash debut album, Adele linked up with super producer Rick Rubin to work on her second record, "21." She recorded the album at Rubin's Shangri-La studio in Malibu, and while the end product was a success (to say the least), the singer wasn't entirely thrilled with her experience on the West Coast. "I was hoping to make some local friends, maybe find a nice organic café, things like that," she told Out, noting that most people in the city lived "behind a gate, and they're so f***ing rich they never have to leave, so I didn't meet anyone." As Adele became more and more famous, her hot and cold relationship with Southern California continued. When she returned to Los Angeles in 2017 for the Grammy Awards, she reportedly skipped all the celebrity-filled after parties and instead went with her boyfriend to the movie theater. Coldplay even invited her to a party in Santa Monica but instead, she went to "In-N-Out Burger on Venice Boulevard," according to Vogue.

Eventually, Adele moved to Los Angeles. She told Rolling Stone that her visit for the Oscars in 2013 started the foundation for her love with the city. "That sun every morning — [You can] always see the sky because it's not high-rises here," she said about living in the City of Angels. Adele also said she discovered her allergy to gluten after moving into town.

The charitable side of Adele

As one of the most popular figures in the music industry, Adele can command a room. She also used this influence on multiple occasions to help others. For example, her tour rider requirements for her North American shows supporting "21" specified that there was no such thing as a free ticket, meaning that any guest who showed up at the box office to collect a complimentary ticket would be "asked for a minimum charitable contribution of $20 (in cash)," per The Smoking Gun. Even more, the concert-goer had no "choice to opt out of donating if they plan on attending a show" and the rider clearly stated, "There will be no exception to this rule." The technique worked because the same requirement for the UK and European leg of the tour raised over $13,000 for Sands, her charity of choice. The English charity's mission is to support "anyone affected by the death of a baby and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies' lives."

Adele played a part in several other organizations, like when she performed the Keep a Child Alive Black Ball charity concert, per Borgen Magazine. She also once performed at the Pride London concert in support of equal rights. Adele is reportedly a "longtime supporter of Amnesty International and the nonprofit, MusiCares, which provides a safety net for musicians in need." Additionally, the singer tweeted about the water charity Drop4Drop. Hello from the philanthropic side. 

How much is Adele worth?

Going up against heavyweights like Drake and Taylor Swift, Adele had the biggest album for three of the ten years in the 2010s. First, her album "21" was the best-seller two years in a row, with almost 6 million copies in 2011 and over 4 million copies in 2012. Then, her blockbuster "25" easily reached the top of the sales charts in 2015 by selling over 8 million units in the calendar year, according to Us Weekly's analysis of Nielsen SoundScan data. The album sales, in addition to her tours, all added up to a huge bank account. According to The Times, Adele was worth an estimated £130 million (or about $172 million) as of 2021. Her total may have been higher if it weren't for a divorce settlement with her ex Simon Konecki. The publication estimated the divorce agreement could cost Adele about £20 million, nearly $27 million.

The settlement may cost almost as much as her entire real estate portfolio in California. As the New York Post reported in July 2021, Adele has multiple properties in Los Angeles, each setting her back between $9.5 million and $10.65 million. Yes, that's about $30 million right there. In 2020, a tipster told People that Konecki was in one of the homes — which just so happens to be next to the property where she lives. As the source said, the exes "are doing what's best for Angelo." Not too shabby of a coparenting setup.