Adele covers Vogue, talks motherhood: ‘I had a purpose, where before I didn’t’


Adele is the cover lady for the March issue of Vogue. I’m not mad about this AT ALL. This is Adele’s second American Vogue cover – her first was in 2012, following her throat surgery and her “comeback” at the Grammys that year. Adele will attend the Grammys this year too, to perform a song off her latest album. It’s expected to be the one of the highlights of the evening. So… good timing for a Vogue cover. Adele didn’t overdo the press for 25 – she did a handful of magazines, a handful of TV interviews, and it never felt like wall-to-wall media saturation. She doesn’t need to do that, plus… she’s actually not that controversial these days. She’s happy, she’s smart, she’s talented. So, this Vogue piece is a nice read, but there’s no real scandal here at all. Some highlights:

How she writes: Adele still writes her lyrics the old-fashioned way, in a notebook. The first thing she does is to annotate her age on the front page with a Sharpie pen. When it came time to write “25” on that page, Adele was brought up short. “I was just shocked that all of a sudden I was 25!” Adele says. “But actually, I like myself more than ever. I feel so comfortable in my own skin. I really like how I look, I like who I am, I like everyone that I surround myself with.”

The two new men in Adele’s life. Simon and Angelo have transformed it completely. They have eradicated the need for much of the drama that she used to thrive on. “I can’t have any other junk in my head to worry about as well,” she tells me. Angelo, meanwhile, “makes me very proud of myself. When I became a parent, I felt like I was truly living. I had a purpose, where before I didn’t.” Adele took time off to be with her new family before she even thought about putting her third album together. “My main thing is Mum, then it’s me, then it’s work,” she says, adding, “I think I had to take the right amount of time off to let people miss me.”

Adele is healthier than she has ever been.
As well as the litany of foods and drink she has to avoid to protect her throat, has given up the Marlboro lights that she used to more or less chain-smoke, and has almost given up alcohol—this is the woman who admits that she could once put away a bottle of wine a day. “I was trying to get some stamina for my tour,” she says, “so I lost a bit of weight. Now I fit into normal, off-the-shelf clothes—which is really a big problem for me!” she adds, laughing as she describes a newfound shopping habit.

[From Vogue]

I like that she says that she wanted people to miss her. I think she’s being honest there – she went away because she wanted time, of course, and because it took her a while to get her album in order. But she also went away because she’s never wanted everything to be all about Adele, all the time. She – like Beyonce – knows the value of withholding.



Photos courtesy of Annie Leibovitz /Vogue.

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65 Responses to “Adele covers Vogue, talks motherhood: ‘I had a purpose, where before I didn’t’”

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  1. QQ says:

    Goddamn she is BEAUTIMONOUS! this shoot is so pretty!

    • ISO says:

      I always thought she was beautiful. I have to say I liked her pre-stylist look better. She looked so youthful and indy. No pop star ever maintains that thrift store look that I adore.

  2. Lucy says:

    YES. That is all.

  3. dAsh says:

    Didn’t even bother to read the story because I don’t really care about her but I like the cover photo eventhough she looks like she just woke up. She’s beautiful. The couch photo looks the best.

  4. Jib says:

    Gorgeous and very cool woman. I was just working on Someone Like You to sing, though, and she almost croaks part of it. I don’t know if she was having voice issues back then, or if that’s stylistic, but man, it hurts my throat just to hear her. And she still yells too much for me.
    I really do admire her in many ways, but to say a child has given her a purpose, which she didn’t have before, is sad. We can’t live through our kids. They will resent us an hate it.

    • msw says:

      I get what she is saying. I feel like being a parent gave me greater purpose than anything, ever. Almost everything else I have done only affected me and my success- even my husband is not dependent on me for his own successes. My kids, though…. you get a few years to set them up for life, and then you transition into peers, hopefully. When it is time to let my kids go, I will. I don’t live through them or for them. But they absolutely give me a purpose greater than anything I have ever done for myself or my marriage.

  5. Dream Big says:

    Does having children instantly give you purpose? I ask as a person who seeks a purpose in life over being successful. Having a purpose is success!? Or so I tell myself lol

    • Esmom says:

      I think it depends on the person. I felt a new sense of purpose, or maybe responsibility is a better word, when I became a mom. But I also how know how dangerous/unhealthy it can be to make parenthood your sole purpose. I find it hard to understand how Adele, with her tremendous talent, didn’t think she had meaning in her life before she had her child.

      In any case, I’ll echo what others have said — she is breathtakingly beautiful.

      • Dream Big says:

        Thank you @Esmom

        I appreciate that! Responsibility is the hardest part of becoming an adult. I can see how easily it is to confuse the two. Thanks for sharing❤️

      • Algernon says:

        Also, she was young when she had kids (especially by today’s standards, where people are waiting longer and longer to have children). I was directionless in my early 20s, if I’d had kids back then, I probably would have gone, “Aha, this is my purpose now!” simply because I wasn’t doing anything else with my time back then. It’s easy to be selfish when you’re young and making money and have nothing productive to do other than indulge yourself. From the outside looking in, it seems like kids can help focus that energy in more positive directions. (For me it was taking care of a relative who was stricken with cancer that pulled me out of my early 20s selfish haze.)

    • Shaz says:

      I think once you have children, you are too busy to think about anything.

    • Algernon says:

      A purpose is anything you define it to be. As someone who has ixnayed kids, I don’t consider myself less of a woman or human being, and I don’t think my life is missing anything or that I lack purpose or that I don’t know what love really is or whatever other bs new moms spout. I really dislike the idea that you can’t have a full life unless you have kids. Between my family, my friends, my guy, my interests and hobbies, and then, in dead last place, my job, I am fulfilled and happy and excited about the possibilities of the next day. I’m sure kids can be an added dimension of joy (although I know *a lot* of indifferent parents, so I think that depends on the person/parent), but purpose in life can be anything. You define your life on your own terms.

    • Bridget says:

      I adore my kids, and they’ve added something incredible to life, but they’re not my purpose. And I don’t want them to be my sole purpose. I am still an individual with hopes and dreams and goals of my own. They have however helped me to focus my life better, and determine what’s important to me and help me determine how I want to live my life – when you’re constantly trying to impart values and morals on another person, it helps to bring home that point to yourself too.

      • Ash says:

        I say this as someone with zero desire to have children, but you stated your position beautifully (especially that last part). 🙂

    • notsoanonymous says:

      I know this argument comes up a lot, that women shouldn’t seek out all of their emotional fulfillment in motherhood or their children, nor are children necessary to having purpose.

      I felt strongly that I didn’t want children, until at 31 I felt strongly that I wanted a child. I’m now a mother, a working mom at that who fully intends to stay in my career until retirement and raise my daughter to feel similarly empowered. I DO feel a different sense of purpose as a mother in a way that isn’t tangible, it simply IS. It’s how I feel, a shift in my emotions and my actions. I LOVE being a mother. I also didn’t want to lose my identity in that.

      I don’t believe all women must be mothers, but I do believe that some women (like myself) can become better versions of themselves through motherhood.

    • Wilma says:

      I love being a mom, but I’m not on board with the whole purpose thing. Yes, it’s a huge responsibility to raise a tiny person, but I always found great purpose in my life before. I have a meaningful job, meaningful friendships, I contribute to society in different ways. My life is different from someone without kids, but not more or less without purpose.

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    Motherf*cker, that’s a gorgeous shoot. She looks great. I know people find her and her music a bit boring sometimes but come on, we need her to keep us sane among all the Yeezys of the world. I love her.

  7. kri says:

    She reminds me of the ladies in 18th century paintings. That face is something to behold. Beautiful sets and gowns.

  8. sofie says:

    As a fellow brit I love me some Adele.

  9. paolanqar says:

    Losing a few pounds works wonder on a woman’s self esteem despite their wealth or status.
    It just does.
    She was beautiful before but now you can really see it in her eyes that she likes what she sees.
    I just hope she won’t become another product of the show business.. I hope she’ll stay true to herself.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      But she didn’t lose a bit of weight. She lost A LOT of weight. And it’s not from just casually giving up wine and junk food. I like her, but she worked hard for the body she has now and I don’t see the need to pretend otherwise. Other than that, great interview. And she’s stunning.

      • V4Real says:

        I’m not a fan of Adele but that cover photo is nice. And yes she has lost a lot of weight and her confidence is showing. When she was heavier you didn’t see much cleavage now this is the second or third pic that I have seen where she’s showing a bit of it. You can also see her new found confidence by the way she is photographing. Look at the sexy pose on the couch, lips slightly open.

  10. jc126 says:

    I’m happy she quit smoking!

  11. vauvert says:

    She is gorgeous. Love the couch shot in that navy gown, so pretty.
    I know some people are going to take issue with her comment about how motherhood gave her purpose, but I get it. No disrespect to any woman who can’t or won’t be a mom (in fact more power to making your choices, whatever they may be), but I can relate to the feeling. Being a mom changed my life, my priorities and the meaning of everything. There was nothing wrong with my life to begin with, but it was all about me, and I admit I used to enjoy a lot of drama (five engagements, two marriages, moves across countries, and so on.). It is very different now. That’s the way I read her comment too.

  12. Brea says:

    I love the picture of her on laying on the couch, it looks like a painting. Great cover too.

  13. lower-case deb says:

    so Finally Vogue decided she’s worthy enough for a full frontal shoot? her last one was all about shadows and dark that it obscures most of her body.

    but Adele is Adele. her FACE!
    serious envy!

    also, so glad to see a non-mouthbreathing cover.

    • Tiffany says:

      It pissed me off that she has slimmed down and now they want full body photos. That is straight up BS and what you come to expect from Vogue.

  14. Robin says:

    Pretty sad that she had no purpose before she reproduced. Glad she has quit smoking and drinking too much.

    • knower says:

      I was thinking that too. That’s heartbreaking, to hear she felt she didn’t have a purpose or true meaning in her life until she gave birth. What about the women that can’t have children or don’t want to? This kind of “I wasn’t living until I became a mother!” mentality is pretty damaging to women.

      In my mind, that’s why women have been suffering for so long. We’re told that’s the pinnacle of love and living for us…..and it just isn’t. Life is so much more than our default mammal mission, which is to procreate. We are more than our biology.

      • Anon says:

        I was just waiting for everyone to sh*t on her for this. I think what she says is honest and lovely. She clearly has purpose and drive for things beyond being a mom, but it is normal to have priorities and a sense of purpose shift when you have kids. It doesn’t mean people without kids don’t have purpose, or that is her sole purpose. That is not what she said. I felt this when I had kids, and so did my husband- you have a responsibility to someone beyond yourself, and, yes, your life and decisions change because of it, because you have a dependent that you have to guide through early life. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.
        I know this is beyond what she said, but, seriously, everyone take a deep breath, read between the lines and stop nitpicking everything everyone says. She loves motherhood. It makes her happy in a way she wasn’t before. Normal reaction and nothing at all wrong with her come t.

      • frankly says:

        Well, she’s talking about herself, and not all women everywhere, so maybe the lesson is everyone finds different things at different times of their lives to give them a sense of purpose. My babes gave me a sense of purpose, going back to college gave me a sense of purpose, various jobs have given me a sense of purpose. It’s not a one time thing in your life. You don’t get one shot at a sense of purpose. And it’s not for you to judge what gives anyone else a sense of purpose. Every woman is free to write her own story.

      • perplexed says:

        I think she was just talking about herself.

        Since she’s only 25 or so, I guess I don’t find it odd that she might have an existential crisis about what her purpose was before she had a kid, even though I don’t have kids myself.

      • Alicia says:

        “We’re told that’s the pinnacle of love and living for us…..and it just isn’t.”

        Yes, it is.

  15. Mllejuliette says:

    God, I hate when people say they had no purpose before they had children.

    • Antigone says:

      I hate it too. As someone who unfortunately will not be able to have biological children it stings. I know it’s ridiculous because I have plenty of things in my life that give me purpose and I shouldn’t give a shit about what some celebrity says but it still bothers me.

  16. TessD says:

    When parents talk about finding a Real Purpose in their lives after having a child it’s their hormones talking. Mother Nature is very smart.

    • knower says:

      Good point, I didn’t think to chock it up to that! lol

    • Farhi says:

      Ha-ha, as my mother says – if babies weren’t so cute nobody would’ve had them. She loves little babies. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways.

  17. Patty says:

    Whenever I hear someone say they had no purpose before they had children, I just roll my eyes. How shallow and ridiculous do you have to be to not have a purpose or to not be doing anything with your life before having children. What a pity.

    • Alicia says:

      You clearly don’t have any children.

      • Ange says:

        Plenty of people on here who disagree do though.

      • Lea says:

        …or maybe Patty has already found her sense of purpose in life and knows that children may enhance her happiness, but don’t have to be the main source of it. People should find fulfillment and happiness in themselves, and if and when they choose to have kids, find a greater sense of happiness. Not everyone feels their only purpose in life is to be a parent. People can say they experienced a greater level of responsibility, sure, but stop acting as if your life only began when you gave life to someone else. Learn to get a life today.

  18. Anon33 says:

    Thank god people here seem to be sharing how I felt about this…seriously? No purpose before children? I’m so tired of that narrative. It’s damaging to everyone including parents who feel that way. You shouldn’t have a child to “give your life purpose.” Imagine the responsibility placed on that child’s head, to be the sole happiness of the mother…I literally hate when people say this shit.

  19. mazzie says:

    Genuine question, if the sole purpose of your life is children, what happens when they grow up and leave the home? What do you do then?

    • Farhi says:

      Yes, that is not a healthy attitude at all. She might have a hard time letting them go and letting them become independent.
      Children are independent human beings which we are responsible for. We are responsible to create conditions for them to grow and mature and become well adjusted adults. They are not our purpose in life, they are a part of it, imo.
      Adele seems like a nurturing type and I think she needed someone to nurture, but it doesn’t even have to be kids. It can be about anyone in your life, Everyone needs love, attention, support etc.

    • PoliteTeaSipper says:

      If they are anything like my my mother, anything possible to keep their (grown) babies at home, including emotional blackmail. Anything to cripple them enough to where they don’t want to leave. My mom was using the “I’m a SAHM, the most important job in the world” two years after her youngest graduated college. So glad my sister finally left that toxic environment and moved far away, like I did.

  20. Singtress says:

    So what if she found “her purpose” after she had a child.
    That is what is right for her.
    It doesn’t have to be what is right for you.

  21. frankly says:

    Well, she’s talking about herself, and not all women everywhere, so maybe the lesson is everyone finds different things at different times of their lives to give them a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose isn’t your sole reason for living, it’s a motivator to achieve and explore and grow.

    My kids gave me a sense of purpose, going back to college gave me a sense of purpose, various jobs have given me a sense of purpose. It’s not a one time thing in your life. You don’t get one shot at a sense of purpose. It’s not, “I HAZ BABBY/JOB/COLLEGE/MATE AND NOW NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD MATTERS.” It’s a life changing event, so it gives you new perspective and direction for your next steps. Otherwise she wouldn’t have put out another album.

    And it’s not for you to judge what gives anyone else a sense of purpose. Like if she said roller derby gave her a sense of purpose you’d be cool with that – or discovering a love of painting or yoga or got a rescue dog or random whatever that wasn’t a baby you would all be, “yeah girl, way to grow your horizons!”

    Every woman is free to write her own story.

  22. ShinyGrenade says:

    I really got put off they the : “my kid give me a purpose in life”.
    HUm, you are talented, you were successful and et, you had no purpose…

    Make me think of my SIL that those her brother (my husband) that people without kids have no purpose and no live. He had just told her He can’t have them naturally.

    I hate those people. So… cold toward Adele.

    • lucy2 says:

      But Adele didn’t say the same thing your SIL did at all. Your SIL is trying to push her own beliefs onto everyone else (which you and your husband have every right to be bothered by). Adele is just expressing her own feelings about her own experience, not saying a word about anyone else.

      • jc126 says:

        I agree, the SIL (or anyone) who thinks people are worthless without children or other condescending, insulting beliefs is offensive and wrong. But so are the people who jump on a celeb who says something like “I didn’t have a purpose til I had kids” or the like how “sad it is you need kids for a purpose”.
        Granted, there are lots of people who are obnoxious about parenthood or non-parenthood.

  23. als says:

    She may not do a lot of press but she still did a lot for who she is and for the power she has.
    The album would have been a hit even if she had stayed quiet, which she probably should have done. I don’t think there is any credible way to explain people that you made an album about your existential crisis – at 25!!! But she has an exquisite voice and people like romance songs.

    However, please don’t call Adele’s absence ‘withholding’. She obviously wanted a relationship badly, she got one and she went away to enjoy it. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not anything like Beyonce’s withholding tactics followed by a controversial and powerful song like Formation.

    I know Adele talked about not ending up like Amy Winehouse and it seems like they have a lot in common: great voices and a lot of focus on relationships (which produced amazing songs). The difference is Amy never was fortunate enough to be in a happy relationship. I think Adele would be perfectly happy with her man even if she didn’t have this career.

  24. Micki says:

    “My main thing is Mum, then it’s me, then it’s work,”
    Sure, I agree. However my children only changed my purpose, I wasn’t wandering for over 30 years aimlessly. Many mothers I know had purpose before and after motherhood.

  25. A.Key says:

    I think I get what she’s saying. It’s not that you don’t have a purpose to your life, it’s that you get a whole new purpose and outlook on life in general when you have a child. Suddenly it’s not about you and just you anymore, it’s about someone else and you come second place. That’s a powerful thing and that level of unconditional and selfless love for someone does feel like your life didn’t mean as much as before you felt that.

  26. Mel says:

    It’s funny how nobody here seems to have questioned the whole idea that having a “purpose” is indispensable in the first place. 🙂
    It is perfectly possible to have no defined “purpose” and still be quite happy AND successful in one’s work (if that’s important – it is to me). I know this from personal experience.
    But mostly I am interjecting this because I simply like a good logic-based discussion from tme to time. 🙂

  27. Larissa says:

    She is starting to look like Kate Winslet.