fashion

"I didn't read the f**king room." 12 things we learned from Adele's Vogue interviews.

After six years of relative silence, Adele is back.

While we still have to wait a little longer for new music, the singer is the November 2021 cover star of both American Vogue and British Vogue. The covers came with two new cover story interviews, her first in five years.

After years without Adele content, we suddenly have a tsunami of new quotes, details and insight into the past few years of her life, covering everything from her divorce to her undying love for Beyoncé.

Here are the most interesting things we learned from both cover stories.

Her divorce was more 'drift than implosion'.

Adele, 33, filed for divorce from husband Simon Konecki in 2019. They share eight-year-old son Angelo.

"It just wasn't right for me anymore," she told British Vogue. "I didn't want to end up like a lot of other people I knew. I wasn't miserable miserable, but I would have been miserable had I not put myself first. But, yeah, nothing bad happened or anything like that.

To the American magazine, she shared the same sentiment: "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."

She said if she reached that 'happiness', "and he sees me in that happiness, then maybe I'll be able to forgive myself for it".

ADVERTISEMENT

She felt embarrassed by the 'failure'.

Adele reflected on those early months, and being scared of people's opinions about her divorce.

"I was terrified. People were everywhere, trying to get stories, and I just hated it. I was embarrassed. I was really embarrassed. That thing of not being able to make something work. We've been trained as women to keep trying, even by the movies we watched when we were little. At the time it broke my heart, but I actually find it so interesting now. How we're told to suck it up."

She said the media timeline of her relationship was all wrong. Articles assumed they had married pre-2017, as Adele referred to him as her "husband" in an award acceptance speech that year. As it turns out, they didn't marry until she was 30.

So how long after the wedding did she end things?

"I'm not gonna go into that detail," she said. "Remember, I am embarrassed. This is very embarrassing. It wasn't very long."

Her ex-husband Simon now lives across the road from the singer, and they continue to co-parent Angelo.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I definitely chose the perfect person to have my child with. That – after making a lot of knee-jerk reactions – is one of my proudest things I've ever done," she said.

She found dating after divorce a struggle.

Adele is now dating sports agent Rich Paul, she confirmed to the magazines. They had been friends for years after initially meeting at a party, and it all came together just before Adele's dad died earlier this year.

"I did date before Rich, but they hated it," she told British Vogue.

"They'd find it stressful being out or seen with me, which meant that I guarded all of it beyond. It never evolved because we were never experiencing things together. Whereas he's not frazzled by it at all. It feels like it's consistent and considerate enough that I don't care who knows."

In fact, one of the songs on her upcoming album reflects on this.

On one song, "written about her first forays into dating post-marriage, the failings of men are writ large", writer Giles Hattersley described how Adele "implores its subjects to give her a bit more goddamn respect". 

She wrote most of the songs on her upcoming album for her son.

Adele told British Vogue she'd written most of the songs we'll soon hear for her son, Angelo.

ADVERTISEMENT

"My son has had a lot of questions. Really good questions, really innocent questions, that I just don't have an answer for.

"'Why can’t you still live together?' I just felt like I wanted to explain to him, through this record, when he's in his twenties or thirties, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness. It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that's a real wound for me that I don't know if I'll ever be able to heal."

One day, when he was just six, Angelo said he couldn't 'see' her, she recalled to the American mag.

"He said to my face, 'Can you see me?' And I was like, 'Uh, yeah.' And he was like, 'Cause I can’t see you.' Well, my whole life fell apart in that moment. He knew I wasn't there."

The next day, she wrote a song, and over time the album became a way for her to explain herself to him. 

The album is more self-reflective than her previous work.

"I realised that I was the problem," she told Vogue. "Cause all the other albums are like, 'You did this! You did that! F*** 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!"

"It was more me divorcing myself. Just being like, 'B*tch, f***in' hot mess, get your f***in' sh*t together!"

She once considered retiring from music forever.

At one point Adele wrote to her manager saying the fame she was experiencing "isn't really for me. It's not why I love music."

"I got really famous right as Amy Winehouse died," she told Vogue. "And we watched her die right in front of our eyes."

She worried that she too could spiral out of control, and lose any agency if media caught wind.

"[Amy's death] really offended me. I picked up the guitar because of Amy's first album. She means the most to me out of all artists. Because she was British. Because she was amazing. Because she was tortured. Because she was so funny. I'm not having these people I don't know take my legacy, my story away from me, and decide what I can leave behind or what I can take with me."

To avoid this, she became accustomed to staying out of the public eye for long periods of time.

"I thought, I'm just going to lock myself in a house. That's what I did. I was very reclusive. It paid off, I think. People are used to me being a recluse."

She reconciled with her dad before his death.

Adele's father Mark Evans passed away in May 2021 from bowel cancer. 

They had a complicated relationship, which played out publicly through interviews and awards speeches, but Adele told British Vogue they reconciled before his death.

ADVERTISEMENT

"One thing that definitely happened in my divorce was that it humanised my parents for me. Big time. I went to hell and back. And in that I found the peace to forgive him. He was ready to go and he lasted a long time with it."

She told Vogue she'd been working with a therapist to unpack the trauma related to their relationship.

"Not being sure if someone who is supposed to love you loves you, and doesn't prioritise you in any capacity when you're little. You assume it and get used to it. 

"So my relationship with men in general, my entire life, has always been: You're going to hurt me, so I'll hurt you first. It's just toxic and prevents me from actually finding any happiness."

She exercised three times a day as a response to a 'year of anxiety'.

The world has been uncomfortably interested in Adele's body for a long time, but especially so since May 2020 when the singer uploaded a photo of herself in a black minidress on Instagram. It received more than 12 million likes, and sparked almost as many think pieces.

"It was because of my anxiety. Working out, I would just feel better. It was never about losing weight, it was always about becoming strong and giving myself as much time every day without my phone," Adele explained to British Vogue.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I got quite addicted to it. I work out two or three times a day.

"So I do my weights in the morning, then I normally hike or I box in the afternoon, and then I go and do my cardio at night. I was basically unemployed when I was doing it. And I do it with trainers."

She said she "needed to get addicted" to something to "get her mind right".

"It could have been knitting, but it wasn't. People are shocked because I didn't share my 'journey'. They’re used to people documenting everything on Instagram, and most people in my position would get a big deal with a diet brand. I couldn't give a flying f***. I did it for myself and not anyone else. So why would I ever share it? I don't find it fascinating. It's my body."

She hated the media speculation about her weight.

Adele said 100 per cent of the articles that came out claiming she'd followed specific diets or worked out with specific trainers were fake.

"The people that came out being like, 'I trained her,' I've never met in my life. It's disgusting. I cannot get over it. Some Pilates lady I've never met in my life! And I haven't done any diet," she told British Vogue.

"No intermittent fasting. Nothing. If anything I eat more than I used to because I work out so hard. And also, that whole thing of like, 'Gets Revenge Body'... Oh my god. Suck my d*ck!"

She told Vogue the speculation hurt.

"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*cking disappointed with that. That hurt my feelings."

She acknowledged the criticism of her Jamaican flag bikini.

In 2020, Adele faced criticism after uploading a photo of herself at an outdoor party wearing Bantu knots and a bikini top made out of Jamaican flags. It was to commemorate what would've been the London Caribbean festival Notting Hill Carnival day, if the event hadn't been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Despite realising the critics had a point, she has kept the photo on her Instagram.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I could see comments being like, 'the nerve to not take it down,' which I totally get. But if I take it down, it's me acting like it never happened. And it did. I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating.

Her intention had been, "if you don't go dressed to celebrate the Jamaican culture – and in so many ways we're so entwined in that part of London – then it's a little bit like, 'What you coming for, then?'

"I didn't read the f**king room."

Her son doesn't realise she's famous.

Adele said her son Angelo, eight, does not yet know his mum is famous.

They live a low-key life when Adele isn't touring, and the last time she toured was when he was only four.

She told Vogue back then, Angelo would come to her warm-ups, but would leave before the stadiums filled with fans. 

The first time he saw a full stadium was when Adele took him to see his favourite artist, Taylor Swift, on her Reputation tour in 2018.

ADVERTISEMENT

"His jaw dropped," she 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?'"

She still believes Beyoncé should have won the 2017 Album of the Year Grammy.

In 2017, Adele won the Album of the Year Grammy for 25, over Beyoncé's Lemonade and famously refused to accept the award. 

She told Vogue she still maintained Beyoncé should have won.

"My personal opinion is that Beyoncé definitely should have won," Adele said. 

"For my friends who are women of colour, it was such a huge acknowledgment for them, of the sort of undermined grief that they go through. For her to nail that on the head, and also bring in the entire globe? I was like, 'This album is my album, she just knows what I'm going through.' That album was not written for me. But yet I could still feel like, 'This is the biggest gift.'"

ADVERTISEMENT

Afterwards, Adele went to Beyoncé's dressing room. 

"I just said to her, like, the way that the Grammys works, and the people who control it at the very, very top—they don’t know what a visual album is. They don't want to support the way that she's moving things forward with her releases and the things that she’s talking about."

She also said she didn't mean to break the mock Grammy onstage, but strangely enough the Grammy that later arrived by mail was also broken.

She has not fixed it. In fact, there's now a piece of fruit wedged into the broken part: "There's a lemon in it," she said.

Feature image: Vogue/British Vogue/Instagram.

Want to win $50? Take our survey now:
MMSurvey