Adam Levine covers Out Mag: is he douchey, or just misunderstood?


Is it okay if I say that I’ve always considered Adam Levine rather douchey? I can remember seeing an interview with him years ago, when Maroon 5 just released their debut album, and in the interview he just seemed so smarmy and full of himself. That general air of douchebaggery has always stuck with him in my mind… but I’ll admit when I’m wrong. This isn’t really one of those times, though. I just read Adam’s cover interview in Out Magazine (full piece here), and while there’s still something rather smarmy about him, I have to admit, there is another dimension to him. At times he almost seems… sweet? No, it can’t be. Here are some highlights:

Working on The Voice: “I talk about it in a very heavy way, but it’s definitely had a pretty profound impact on my life,” he says. “That show’s become a part of me. Being in a position where you can help these people out and — of course I get paid, and of course it’s good for my career as well. But there’s a lot of real talent, and it makes me excited to know I’m part of that.”

Adam on his brief moments of homoeroticism: Levine has a high, nimble voice and a light, loose-limbed step, but other than a brief kilt-wearing, John Mayer–kissing phase (they go way back — Mayer took Maroon 5 on one of their first big tours), he’s hardly the queerest performer in mainstream music today. “There’s no way to hide my straightness,” he says, “but if people didn’t think there was a small chance I was gay, then I wouldn’t be doing my job very well. Look at the best ones, guys whose sexuality was always questioned. Bowie. Jagger. Freddie Mercury. I wouldn’t be the front man of a band if that question hadn’t come up at some point.”

On nakedness, sexuality: “I just love being as naked as possible all the time — it feels really natural to me. I’m extremely comfortable in my sexuality, so I can think, Oh, that’s a good-looking dude. Acknowledging that someone’s attractive and wanting to f-ck a dude are two different things. With a lot of guys who are hypersexual, it comes from some sort of disdain or dislike — they’re guys who love getting laid but don’t really respect women. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been totally promiscuous and slutty in my lifetime, because I have.”

He grew up in a liberal household, and his younger brother is gay: Levine, 32, grew up in a liberal Los Angeles home — his parents both went to Berkeley — but it wasn’t his own sexuality that defined his open-minded beliefs. It was his younger brother’s. “I can single-handedly dispel any ideas that sexuality is acquired,” he says, laughing. “Trust me, you’re born with it. My brother is gay, and we knew when he was two. We all knew.” Instead of a family freak-out, the Levines doubled down. “We all really wanted to provide some cushion for him and constantly let him know that it’s OK,” Levine says. “A lot of people don’t want their kid to be gay and will fight it at all costs. But I’ve got news for you—it’s a losing f-cking battle. The more you fight it, the more f-cked-up your kid’s gonna be. You’ve just gotta embrace it from the beginning. That’s the only way to deal with it as a family. Otherwise, you’re just screwing yourself over, and you’re gonna make your kid miserable.”

It Gets Better and Perez Hilton: The singer signed on early to the It Gets Better Project. “High school f-cking sucked,” he says in the clip, “but if you can get through it, there’s a whole world that exists beyond people treating you badly.” His participation was motivated as much by his own experiences with gossip. “Perez [Hilton] asked me to do it,” he says. “I found it strange that one of the biggest bullies on Earth is asking me. I was really not a fan of his. I thought he was part of the problem. In doing this, I was hoping for a change in him, and I saw one. The guy has changed his tune quite a bit. I respect that.”

Homophobia versus racism: “I’m realistic about the world, but I do have a very sunny perspective on things,” he says. “When the ‘F word’ and the ‘N word’ are equally taboo, when you can’t just walk around saying that word — which you can, to be brutally honest — that’ll be when it’s really real. Homophobia and racism are very different and have a very different history behind them. But for some reason, we’re a little bit behind with homosexuality. The fact that gay marriage isn’t legal everywhere at this point is a joke. But there are things now that you never thought would have existed, so I think that we’re kind of in good shape.”

On American Idol forcing gay contestants to stay in the closet: “What’s always pissed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken. C’mon. You can’t be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break. You can’t hide basic components of these people’s lives. The fact that The Voice didn’t have any qualms about being completely open about it is a great thing.”

The Voice is the best: He acknowledges that the music industry may still have a double standard for gay artists but says The Voice can help correct that. “It’s a great show because it doesn’t alienate anybody. If you’re a talented person, and you want a career, and you’re trying to join an extremely intimidating and also completely dismantled industry — skip all that other bullsh-t, and go for what can be immediately effective.”

[From Out Magazine]

Finding out that he came from a super-liberal family made sense to me – his parents must be hippies, and they must have focused so much on raising self-confident kids. Perhaps I read Adam’s self-confidence as douchey arrogance. And for that, I was wrong…?

I did roll my eyes at the part about how he’s naked all of the time and all of the stuff about his sexuality. I mean, I’ve seen his videos. He’s basically making mini-(softcore) pornos with his girlfriend, who is the requisite long-limbed model type. As if you had any doubt that he’s straight!




Photos courtesy of Out Magazine.

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33 Responses to “Adam Levine covers Out Mag: is he douchey, or just misunderstood?”

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  1. Eve says:

    Super douche. Can’t stand him (nor his music).

  2. embertine says:

    I think he’s gross. His creepily misogynistic lyrics and his obvious self-satisfaction turn my stomach. I love how the guys who talk up about how they respect women are actually the biggest douchenozzles. I guess real men don’t need to talk about it, they just do it.

  3. Katalina says:

    Not only did he grow up in a very liberal household, he also grew up in a very wealthy one. His dad owns several high end boutiques that cater to celebrities in LA. I always figures that’s where his smarmy entitlement came from.

  4. Sarah says:

    Don’t care for his music but still like him. He’s sexy as hell. I don’t think he came off douchey.

  5. Pyewacket says:

    He’s a douche, and being a liberal doesn’t exempt you from being one.

  6. TXCinderella says:

    He’s a good looking dude, but just a little too femme for me. He does seem somewhat full of himself.

  7. natalie says:

    maroon 5 is absolute garbage. i never understood why their videos are basically soft porn and why adam levin is always naked. i actually find his body to be kind of gross.

  8. Quest says:

    Not much of a Levine fan and don’t know much ’bout him, but I did like him on the Voice.

  9. Maripily says:

    He does seem arrogant and self-absorbed, but he has intelligent opinions, so I guess that counts for something. Physically, I don’t find him appealing. He’s too slim, his face is narrow and his eyes are beady. I don’t like Maroon 5 either.

  10. Rhiley says:

    I couldn’t read the interview just yet (will have to save it for my lunch break) but I am going to comment on one thing: I wish Adam Levine would stop with the Mick Jagger impersonations. I do not find Mick Jagger remotely attractive in 70s, but when he was Adam’s age, he was beautiful and his sexuality just came from him naturally. It came from his hips, his voice, his lips, his hair. It wasn’t forced. Adam Levine tries too hard to force it and it just seems gross, not at all sexy. I liked Adam Levine better when he was a Lacoste wearing preppy and not a tatted up, no shirt wearing, dancing like Jagger wannabe.

  11. Vickyb says:

    I find his remarks on homoeroticism quite calculated – I think he knows that the gay fanbase is a lucrative market and he does his best to encourage it. It’s a joke to say he wouldn’t be doing his job properly if his sexuality wasn’t called into question – his job is to sing. If he really didn’t recognise a difference in homosexual and heterosexual men, he wouldn’t reinforce stereotypes.

    But, to be fair to him, he’s being interviewed by a gay magazine, so it’s only natural that most of the article is about his sexuality and his views on homosexuality.

    He’s still smarmy though.

  12. Liz says:


  13. mel says:

    I wouldn’t throw him off the bed unless he was better on the floor.

  14. Anon says:

    To hell with you all! He’s fine as hell! and if you don’t like his music that’s okay it’s opinionated just like my comment is. But i will say you don’t know good music when you hear it….

  15. the original bellaluna says:

    The douche is strong in this one. And I hate that, because I really like some of Maroon 5’s lyrics. (2 of my faves – She Will be Loved and I Never Wanna Leave This Bed.)

    And ok, he may be just a bit mis-understood, but not enough to counter the douche.

  16. GossipVixen says:

    based on this excerpt, I think it’s a good article. He’s probably playing to the readership a bit, but that’s ok. All celebs do that. He does have the long-lasting reputation as a not-so-cool guy, which I suppose is hard to overcome though.

  17. filthycute says:

    the lady doth protest too much

  18. Chloeee says:

    Saw the whole band at LAX, he was so smarmy looking and apathetic the whole time girls were coming up to him to ask for autographs. It wasn’t even that many and they were all young girls with their mothers. Maybe that was the apathy. He caught me watching him and just gave me this look like ‘yeah, you’re watching me’ that’s when i turned around and decided i was over it.

  19. Aquarius74 says:

    Well, are we gonna make the list of all successful artists who are full of themselves ? I don’t think Levine is the more arrogant of them. Except when he says that he moves like Jagger 😉 (killer song anyway)

  20. Paula Berry says:

    I think he gets a bad rep. I met Adam in las Vegas when we were both 19 way b4 they were famous and his band was called clairas flowers. I liked him cuz he had this nerdy quality about him and both our parents went to berkley at the same time. We’ve remained friends threw the years and I was living in Tucson when they 1st toured with John Mayer, and we got to hangout 2 night in a row. He’s really funny and not at all a dbag. Actually at that time John Mayer was
    completely different from what I imagined.
    He was funny and didn’t take himself seriously. Anyways Adam still cool and he still has time for the little people like me, who he says he’s grateful for to keep him grounded. He told me he wished he could be successful w/out the fame, and I believe him. I last saw him when they were here in San Diego touring with train last month. He still hooked me up w/ backstage passes and let all my friends in. A db would never do that or continue to talk to a friend he met yrs ago.

  21. Mitch Buchanan Rocks says:

    Billy Currington is way more humble & sexy and a million times more talented without a douchetastic attitude. I don’t get why Maroon5 is so big, his guys voice sounds worse than Celine Dions.

  22. Amanda G says:

    He seems like an okay guy, but I hate hate hate his voice.

  23. NinaGianvonni says:

    I think he’s just an idiot! You would think he’s apart of the best band in the world, but it’s Maroon 5 enough said.

  24. Venus says:

    With all the money he has you would think he could shell a little more out to get some decent tats. Those are just sad.

  25. Becky says:

    He seems like he’s in love with himself but for whatever reason it amuses me. He appears intelligent and his interviews are usually somewhat entertaining.

  26. Tiffany says:

    He has always give off a bit of arogance in interviews but nothing to the point where you say, ‘Sit Down and Shut Up!’ Say what you want about Levine, but that assessment of Perez Hilton is pretty dead on. I think that guy is the biggest bully of all, the way that he talked about closeted celebrities who were not ready to come out.

  27. Hannah says:

    Most entertainers have a little bit of douche in them. Some just hide it better than others. I like him even though I don’t like his music.

  28. lucy2 says:

    He still gives off a douchey vibe to me, but I actually liked him during The Voice. He seemed genuinely into it and helpful, and kind of hot in an “I don’t really want to admit that” sort of way.

    And in line with this article, I will give credit to the producers of the Voice for not hiding the fact that several of their contestants were gay, or for going the opposite route and trying to capitalize on it. Everyone seemed to be presented equally, and it was a nice change from how shows like that usually work.

  29. Tim Esnier says:

    Overrated douche. Whiney, smarmy songs. Just terrible terrible voice. Weedy body (what happened to the chest hair?). Beedy little eyes, no lips, arsey tatts.

    Does anyone actually like him except his PR agent?

  30. Stephanie says:

    I actually really love him.

    Something you all might not be aware of: Maroon 5 was scheduled to play at the Indiana State Fair tomorrow, but all the concerts at that venue were cancelled after a giant storm came during a Sugarland show and the stage toppled over and five people died. Maroon 5 changed venues and are donating the proceeds from the concert to a memorial fund for those that died. I thought that was a cool thing to do. (Also interesting: Janet Jackson and Lady Antebellum were also scheduled to play at the fair, but they just cancelled their appearances, even though there were alternate venues available).

    So, I realize it may be a big PR move, I still think it’s a great gesture by the band.

  31. ToastedSkin says:

    I love love love him. He’s a total sweetheart.

  32. MarkyMark says:

    I met him in person and I can confirm that he is a tool. He’s really cute, but his toolness kind of cancels it out.

  33. CPB says:

    I’d like to confirm the ‘asshole in person’ claim. This guy is so disrespectful and condescending it’s deplorable. Someone should alert Asshat Levine that he is a generic radio pop-rock (gag) band’s front man.