Adele: ‘I’m a 33-year-old divorced mother of a son, who’s actually in charge’

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American Vogue did their own exclusive photoshoot with Adele for their November cover, and they totally bungled the cover shot. The rest of the editorial is lovely and interesting, and I’ll never understand how this image was chosen for the cover. Awful. I ended up reading Adele’s British Vogue and American Vogue interviews back-to-back. She’s in much the same headspace for both, although I feel like she’s just “lighter” and more laid-back in American Vogue. She’s obviously promoting her new album, and now that she’s in her 30s, having been a relative recluse for the past five years, she says she’s “getting ready to be famous again.” Yes! You can read the full Vogue piece here. Some highlights:

Drinking during the pandemic: “It got earlier and earlier, the drinking. My first emergency run at the grocery store was for Whispering Angel and ketchup,” Adele says, referring to her favorite rosé. “Whispering Angel turned me into a barking dog. It did not make me whisper.”

Her Saturn Return: “Then I hit my Saturn return. It’s where I lost the plot.” It takes 27 to 32 years for Saturn to fully orbit around the sun and return to the position it was in when you were born, Adele explains. “When that comes, it can rock your life.It shakes you up a bit: Who am I? What do I want to do? What makes me truly happy? All those things.”

Why her marriage ended: “I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy. Neither of us did anything wrong. Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved. It’s really important to me. I’ve been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since.”

What got her through her Year of Anxiety? “It was a lot of sound baths. It was a lot of meditation. It was a lot of therapy. And a lot of time spent on my own.” The gym was key: “It became my time. I realized that when I was working out, I didn’t have any anxiety. It was never about losing weight. I thought, If I can make my body physically strong, and I can feel that and see that, then maybe one day I can make my emotions and my mind physically strong.” She started with her lower back and stomach: “I have a bad back and I had a C-section. So I had just nothing going on down there.”

She realized she was the common denominator in her relationships: “I realized that I was the problem. Cause all the other albums are like, You did this! You did that! F–k you! Why can’t you arrive for me? Then I was like: Oh, sh-t, I’m the running theme, actually. Maybe it’s me!”

On Rich Paul: “He was always there, I just didn’t see him,” she’d said. She tells me they met at a party a couple years ago. “I was a bit drunk. I said: Do you want to sign me? I’m an athlete now. He’s just so f–king funny. He was dancing. All the other guys were just sitting around. He was just dancing away.”

On her dating life: “[With Rich], I don’t feel anxious or nervous or frazzled. It’s quite the opposite. It’s wild…I’m a 33-year-old divorced mother of a son, who’s actually in charge. The last thing I need is someone who doesn’t know where they’re at, or what they want. I know what I want. And I really know what I don’t want.”

On her weight loss: “My body’s been objectified my entire career. It’s not just now. I understand why it’s a shock. I understand why some women especially were hurt. Visually I represented a lot of women. But I’m still the same person. The most brutal conversations were being had by other women about my body. I was very f–king disappointed with that. That hurt my feelings.”

The new album doesn’t have a “Hello” type song: “There isn’t a bombastic ‘Hello.’ But I don’t want another song like that. That song catapulted me in fame to another level that I don’t want to happen again. I’m not saying I’ve got ‘Hello’s in my pocket. I was just conscious that I didn’t want my story on this album to sound like that.”

[From Vogue]

This was so funny to me: “I’m not saying I’ve got ‘Hello’s in my pocket” - I love her but what the hell? She’s got “Hello”-level mega-hits in her pocket and she’s not handing them out? Come on. As for Adele being hurt by women judging her body… I do think that many women felt so protective of her and then she lost 100 lbs and we were like “um WHAT.” We felt attacked! Or something. And this: “Oh, sh-t, I’m the running theme, actually. Maybe it’s me!” When will Taylor??

She name-drops two famous women, two of her peers, in the Vogue article as well. She tells the story about winning the Grammy instead of Beyonce (when Bey was up for Lemonade). Adele was convinced that night that Bey would win and then it suddenly occurred to her that she might win instead. She ended up going to Beyonce’s dressing room twice (because Adele was crying) to tell Bey that B should have won and that what B is doing musically is out of this world and so important. Adele also told a funny story about how Angelo’s favorite artist is Taylor Swift, and she took him to one of Swift’s concerts in 2018 and he was amazed by the stadium full of people. Adele said, “I got really annoyed! I was like, Excuse me! This is what I do, you know. He said, When we go on tour, should I have a seat next to me with Taylor Swift’s name on it for Taylor to come?” Angelo is Snake Fam?!!

Cover & IG courtesy of Vogue.

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56 Responses to “Adele: ‘I’m a 33-year-old divorced mother of a son, who’s actually in charge’”

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  1. Alissa says:

    I mean, Taylor pretty clearly moved up the release of her red release because Adele’s album dropping. as far as selling power in the industry, I feel like Beyoncé and Taylor are the only two female artists that compared to Adele in terms of album numbers. why the snark on Taylor in this article?

    also, any woman that felt attacked because of Adele decided to start working out for herself is being completely ridiculous. talk about a parasocial relationship.

    • Abby says:

      I agree, I think Taylor and Beyonce and Adele are the biggest female artists when it comes to album sales.

      I am going to disagree on Kaiser’s comment saying Taylor should realize she’s the running theme. I think she’s been with the same guy for years and years… her last two albums didn’t have the same theme of “i’m a victim, you broke my heart.” there’s a lot more nuance to her music now. A lot more creativity, and telling the stories of fictional characters vs. blind items about her own relationships. You can tell she’s matured. Maybe she hasn’t gone back and said “I was the problem” in every other relationship, but I don’t know that to even be true! I think she played the media game, she’s still playing the game. But her romantic life seems to have chilled out.

      • NCWoman says:

        I would suggest that she’s never actually had that “theme,” Our culture just has a significant problem with women expressing their emotions from a place of power. Speaking your emotional truth should not be called playing the victim. And if you actually listen to her music, she’s taken the blame for relationships ending plenty of times.

      • ellie says:

        Yes I was actually SUPER impressed by Taylor’s lyrics on Folklore and Evermore. They’re beautiful, clever, vulnerable and nuanced. Just all around incredible songs that reveal
        more the more you listen.

        Isn’t it time to put the Taylor snark away? She’s not 19 anymore and neither are we.

      • Ry says:

        Kaiser is always tryna start beef lol

  2. sunny says:

    1. Adele looks terrific and I can’t wait for the album. Loved the shoot styling except for the cover
    2. You really get a sense of where she is in her life and the work she has done on herself
    3. Realizing you might be the problem is your relationships is huge. We all have patterns
    4. I find her so funny
    5. Beyonce really should have won album of the year for Lemonade. It was a masterpiece that was channelling not only her own pain and trauma but black women’s history, pain, and trauma. The podcast Dissected devoted a whole season to breaking down the album and I was blown away. The goal posts for black artists are forever moving. Sigh.

    • PinkestSlip says:

      I think everyone believes Beyoncé should have won. The thing that stopped it being a disaster was Adele’s humility and humour. It wouldn’t have gone down so well without that. She’s a real star…

    • SH says:

      Personally I don’t get the TS snark on this site, they seem to really like putting her down. Like the comment in this article was pretty pointless. She’s been in a relationship for 5 years, and she dated around in her early 20’s. The horror!

      • Esp.Lumiere says:

        +1

        Taylor Swift is certainly flawed, but this constant need to put her down is unnecessary.

      • sunny says:

        I wasn’t commenting about TS- I was commenting about Adele and her own self-awareness about her relationship history.

        Not sure how the TS comment applies.

      • GraceB says:

        I don’t really listen to anything by Taylor Swift, so I can’t comment on her music, but just on a relationship front, I don’t think it matters if she went through men. It’s such a double standard that men don’t get the same amount of judgement for it.

        I get the feeling she did so because she was messy, but even then she just needed to figure things out for herself. I went through so many men in my late teens and early 20′s. I was messy too and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. People absolutely judged me for it. People just love to judge, but to be honest, if you’ve got it together then just be thankful for that. Not everyone has come from the same starting place or had the same guidance.

  3. Kristen says:

    She obviously shouldn’t stay in a relationship that wasn’t right for her, but heavy side eye to this: “I’ve been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since.” These are the people who tend to miss being happy and satisfied in the moment because they have some grand idea about, “reaching happiness”, like there’s a point where you’ll just be happy every minute of every day.

    • sunny says:

      This 100%. I think it is healthy to be growing, learning, and working on yourself because both you and the world around you changes. However, having happiness as a destination rarely works out well. And even the notion of “true happiness” seems a bit troubling.

    • tealily says:

      Yeah, the way she talks about her marriage makes it sound like she just got bored. Not that she should have stayed if she wasn’t happy, but you also shouldn’t jump ship every time the honeymoon period wears off, you know? I don’t know what happened here, but I guess I’m questioning it.

  4. Erica says:

    I didn’t understand why people were so upset with Adele for losing weight. I haven’t read her American Vogue interview but I read the British Vogue interview and what she said made sense to me. It was how she coped and she realized she enjoyed it. I’ve always hated exercise but when covid hit I NEEDED to get out of the house so I started walking every day. Then I started walking and exercising. It made me feel better. One thing I could control in the chaos of the last year and a half.

    • STRIPE says:

      I understand the logic and emotion behind why people were upset. As we say on this blog often, representation is important. A lot of people saw her as a famous person who looked like them in an industry so full of skinny people and they felt connected to her in that way.

      Her weight loss and the fan fair around it, then, feels like an indictment and rejection of their own bodies – which leads to a lot of feelings about their own worth and the perceived goodness or badness of their bodies. They then take those feelings out on her.

      Is it fair? No. But I think it would happen anytime someone is a major representative of a group leaves that group, in this case in a very public and celebrated way

      • Erica says:

        “Then they take their feelings out on her” which is incredibly unfair to her (which you also said-this isn’t an attack on you). I think people that do this sort of thing really need to take a look at themselves and try to figure out why they believe a celebrity should represent them. I was overweight for a long time and I love Adele for her music and her humor. The fact that she was a ‘bigger’ woman didn’t really even register with me and when she was showing off her weight loss I was rooting for her. Just like I’d root for her if she looked the same as she did before. I don’t know, it’s weird what people expect from celebrities. I don’t understand the dynamic honestly.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Stripe and Erica: Agreed, and those points seem to apply to a lot of not so great behaviors toward girls and women from other women over the years (decades….centuries…)
        too. A whole lot. The behaviors definitely aren’t right, but that emotion behind them isn’t impossible to understand.
        Looking forward to the new album.

    • Scal says:

      I’m fine with her losing weight-I just wish she hadn’t changed her face so much. google images from her first second album vs now and between the nose job and the fillers…..it just seems to come from a unhappy place vs a doing it for myself one.

      I’m genuinely curious about how the weight loss has affected her singing. Maria callas talked about how she couldn’t get the same power out when she lost weight-I wonder if she’s had to change her technique

      • Pix says:

        She’s always been beautiful woman, but I swear she looks like a different person, especially in profile. I hadn’t considered she’d had work done, but maybe?

      • STRIPE says:

        Devils advocate here as I have no idea what she has or hasn’t done to her face or why…
        My weight fluctuates a lot, and it shows in my face big time, it really is something how different I look. Maybe her weight loss just transformed her face?

        Also, with such a large amount of weight lost, maybe she was having some lose skin issues in her face and got fillers to help with that?

      • Erica says:

        When I lost all my weight (60 pounds now) my face DEFINITELY changed and there was no plastic surgery involved. Even my nose looks thinner LOL It’s great. I don’t think her face looks that different other than she is a lot thinner.

      • LBB says:

        I agree, I think it was more the weight loss. I really don’t think she had anything done.

      • cassandra says:

        She also wears a ton of make-up and always has. There’s definitely some Kardashian level contouring going on. Weight loss and make up could cover it.

        I can’t imagine the pressure she must feel to maintain her weight loss. That alone would make me stress eat

      • Truthiness says:

        Adele was on snl last year after the weight loss. She was so relaxed tossing off songs in sketches and rehearsals and her voice sounded the same. There was a great sketch mimicking the Bachelor where she kept singing her songs over all the other women vying for the Bachelor. It was the complete opposite of someone having to try hard or that needs to coddle their vocal chords.

  5. SarahCS says:

    Is that green cover dress made of plastic? I agree that they did her dirty with the cover.

    I’m loving the vibe of the interview and her take on life these days. My British Vogue should be here any day and I can’t wait.

  6. Abby says:

    GoshI love her. she seems really fun and really funny. The story about her son and Taylor Swift is funny!

  7. GrnieWnie says:

    I had the exact same approach to my body. Was in a hard place emotionally/mentally, started working out. I’ve never been more fit in my life. My abs are wild. But it was never about changing my body…it was just about wanting to feel physically strong so I could get stronger in other ways. And I also focused on my core…anyone who has had a rough childbirth should. It’s life changing.

    • Twin falls says:

      This. There is something about working on your physical core when you’re on a journey to strengthen your emotional core. I lived slug life during 2020 and the tail end of my divorce but once I really got into the work on where I was emotionally adding working out for me felt really good. And I do not normally love to workout.

      I’m really excited for this album.

  8. Jessica says:

    The British cover is sooooo much better, she looks gorgeous. I’m not that much older than her (35), and I also got divorced in 2019, so it was really cool to read about how that affected her. I also started hitting the gym hard as I adjusted to life on my own, it became a refuge. And what she says about being the common denominator in relationships is true. It’s something I never truly worked on before my divorce, but really trying to recognize the patterns and how I’m contributing to what’s making me unhappy has really helped me in my current relationship.

  9. Katherine says:

    People are trashing her because they trash all hot women, regardless what they do wrong. If the same thing was done by someone plainer, they don’t care. But the moment there’s a teeny-tiny reason to trash a hot woman, they are all over it. She lost weight and her hot factor went up, so now she doesn’t get sympathy, she just gets hate – and for the things people would’ve let slide before.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Because fat women can’t be hot? Is that what you’re saying?

      There are probably people who reacted for the reasons you say, but also a lot of women were upset because suddenly everything was all about how thin and “healthy” (weight is not a measure of health, btw) Adele was, when previously she was someone who was big and gorgeous in a toxic industry that’s all about looking a certain way. They weren’t feeling represented anymore. It doesn’t change the fact that they had no business taking it out on her, as it’s not her fault how the industry (and society) treats fatness, but it’s not because she’s “just now” hot. She was hot before.

      • Katherine says:

        Nah, she was more on the cute, adorable, bubbly side. There are women who went from skinny cute to skinny hot. The moment you go hot, people start hating on you, speaking from experience (I was always the same weight). And I don’t know who said she was healthier, I saw people saying she looked less healthy now and lost her glow. Not in these glam shots though)

    • Joanna says:

      Yeah I’ve had that happen to me. I’ve noticed when I get in shape I get more attention from men and more snark from women. My attitude towards others doesn’t change but their attitude towards ME does. So I kinda feel like I have to pick my poison so to speak. I’m gonna get hate I’m sure for saying this but it’s how it’s always been my adult life.

  10. Jess says:

    I’m missing something because I love that cover shot. And yea, I’m still ticked that Bey didn’t win the Grammy, which she deserved. Otherwise, my only question is whether we’ll get a post of the Huma story – I’m still so ticked at her ex!!

  11. Watson says:

    Yeah I remember when we first got pics of Adele and her weight loss on this site. Some people were legit upset and felt that she had bent to beauty standards, gotten an ED and betrayed them cause she was one of the rare stars that looked like them. It’s wild how much ownership and projection they felt over her body.

  12. AmelieOriginal says:

    One of the things I didn’t realize about her ex-husband is there is a pretty huge age gap. Adele is 33 and her ex Simon Konecki is 47. When they first got together around ten years ago (around 2011), Adele was 22-23 and Simon 36-37. I’m not surprised they are getting divorced now. Adele is in her early 30s where a lot of women do a lot of self-introspection. It’s well-documented Adele has daddy issues, her father was an alcoholic who walked out when she was 3 and she was estranged from him for most of her life. So not saying Simon was a replacement for her father but the significant age gap is an indicator to me. My guess is she realized she could take care of herself and didn’t need an older guy to do it for her. Her new boyfriend is 40 and she’s known him for awhile it sounds, so it just all around sounds like a healthier dynamic.

    This post doesn’t include the quotes but I saw some quotes where she talks about how her son was asking her why she didn’t love his father anymore and why they couldn’t live together. Celebrities rarely mention how divorce impacts their kids and as a child of parents who are still together, I’ve never really thought what it’s like for kids to process divorce. It’s such a hard thing on everyone. The good thing is that it sounds like Adele and her ex get along and they live across the street from each other or something like that.

    Also I was surprised to hear Adele say Hello made her ultra famous and she never wanted that to happen again. She was already a megastar when Hello came out? Rolling in the Deep is the song that made her super famous. Hello was the first single she released after several years of silence and we all had been waiting for another song from her, so the reception was maybe overwhelming to her. But we were just so happy to have Adele back among us with new music. I don’t know why she thinks that won’t happen with her next album! It’s been awhile and her fans love her.

  13. Em says:

    I love Adele and Beyoncé and Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. Taylor’s Folklore & Evermore albums are masterpieces. Taylor is not 19 anymore and it shows in her work, as I am sure it will in Adele’s newest release.

  14. jferber says:

    I think Taylor Swift’s song writing skills and delivery have really grown and matured. Though she doesn’t get the respect, really, I think she’s developed into an artist. Remember, she started when she was about 15. And she writes her own material, all of it, I think. I know she’s a pop singer, but I’d like to see more range to her songs. Love songs and break-up songs are great, no question. But I’d love to see her explore other themes. I know she’ll get there too.

  15. Green Desert says:

    The whole interview is really great. I know Adele has a fantastic voice but I’ve always been pretty meh on her music. I was so charmed by the interview though that I’m going to give it another shot.

    I love how she talks about Beyonce, the album of the year f*ckery, and acknowledges the cultural importance of Lemonade for everyone, and especially for women of color. So many white women are still so bugged by Beyonce. Like, you don’t have to like her music, cool. But so many are up in their feelings about why they don’t like her and to me that shows it goes beyond her music.

    As for Adele’s body transformation – it’s so weird that people are upset by it. It’s clear Adele has worked really hard and her focus was on getting physically stronger. Sounds like she did things the right way (rather than starvation). I related to what she said, too. I also had a c-section and low-back issues (from growing a gigantic baby lol) and have had to work really hard on rebuilding strength.

  16. Wilma says:

    I don’t care about her weight loss, but I do care about her saying that it’s because she started to enjoy exercising. Losing a lot of weight from exercise alone whilst eating the way she told us about in the past? I don’t think that actually happened. That would be quite the reffed up metabolism and a ton of exercise per day.
    As I said, I don’t begrudge people working on their body or the way they feel in their body, but transparency about these things really matters because a lot of women feel like failures when they don’t drop weight the way a celebrity drops weight.

    • Kebbie says:

      She 100% had gastric surgery, IMO. She looks great now though, her face has filled back up a little so she looks like herself again. She had that gaunt, drawn face that people get after weight loss surgery. I didn’t recognize her at all in the first few photos after her weight loss. Even when I knew it was her, it still didn’t look anything like her.

      Rebel Wilson is an example of a celebrity actually losing weight through diet and exercise. She has always looked like herself and it has come off at a natural rate over time. The weight loss hasn’t aged her the way it does when you lose it in a couple of months from gastric surgery.

      • LovesitinNM says:

        I have the same opinion, she had something. The balloon, sleeve, something. And she doesn’t want that to be her public identity, fine. But I agree it does feel disparaging if I assume she’s being honest. Knowing she’s incredibly rich helps so i feel a little better. I’d love to be super fit but it’s doable for me right now.

      • Sophie says:

        The shrunken face weight loss look is not necessarily from surgery. It could be due to weight loss and being in her 30s (skin doesn’t bounce back quite as quickly). When my husband was 39, he did intermittent fasting for like 3 months and lost 40 lbs. His face initially had that shrunken look, but smoothed out after a couple months at the lower weight.

    • J says:

      Agreed. I lost 50 pounds in about 15 months (all during Covid). The first 15 pounds weren’t intentional – I had zero desire to drink during early Covid (not the norm, I realize!) and was eating better, but not great, purely because I wasn’t eating out like I usually did. But to lose the 35 pounds after that, I’ve been walking 5+ miles most days, do Pilates once a week, and have changed my eating habits – I’m eating less and better than I used to, without going crazy, because I know that that would be unsustainable for me. There’s no way she lost 100 pounds just by getting into exercise.

      Not sure if she’s had work done or weight loss surgery. My weight loss made wrinkles show in my face that weren’t there before and that makes me look older. Then again, I’m almost 50, so tougher for your skin to bounce back vs when you’re 30.

    • Monica says:

      Adele had free time and ample resources. It’s possible she lost it without surgery, but either way, most regular people would not be able to repeat her results. It’s time for people to stop feeling like crap when they can’t look like a celebrity, and the celebs being honest about they got there would really help.

  17. Nev says:

    I don’t think the Vogue shoot is good at all. Could’ve been so much better.

  18. SM says:

    What’s interesting is that back on the day Gwen Stefani released the Return of Saturn with No Doubt and she talked in very similar way about it. I also had my first child at 32 and feel like I started a new life I really felt comfortable to live for the first time in my life

  19. Gubbinal says:

    I love Adele. She can do whatever she likes, but I feel a bit sorry that she seems to have chosen to become a dead-ringer for a 1990′s Julia Roberts. Plastic work means that we are losing unique faces.

  20. Fabiola says:

    I keep reading about Beyoncé’s album Lemonade but they radio stations ever play it. I used to have a really long commute to work and never heard any of the songs on the radio. I heard Adele’s album in the radio all the time. Maybe that’s why Lemonade did not win. Lack of air play.

  21. so says:

    As a plus size woman, I never felt betrayed by her weight loss, but I was kind of annoyed that she attributed it to “sirtfood diet” and gym, when all signs point to a gastric surgery. She’s 100% entitled to her privacy though.

    • Joanna says:

      Yeah she’s had a gastric sleeve operation imo. Which is fine but idk all the working out is BS. I like Adele but if she worked out enough to drop the weight that fast, she’d have a lot more muscle. I’m still overweight and only work out 3 times a week for 30 minutes and you can see muscle tone.

  22. Giiiiirl says:

    Something irritates me about Adele, but I still think her music is very good and she is very talented.