The Mail on Sunday
Why won’t Adele let me see my grandson?
After a shattering rift, star’s heartbroken father reveals agony of being ‘dead’ to her – and barred from her baby son
WHEN she takes centre stage at the Oscars next month to perform Bond theme Skyfall, the eyes of the world will be on North London ‘girl-done-good’ Adele. But as she makes her live comeback in front of a global television audience of a billion, there will be one person, sitting alone more than 3,000 miles away, for whom her finest hour will be bittersweet – her father Mark Evans.
While his daughter basks in the glow of being the toast of Hollywood, back at his South Wales home part-time plumber Mark says it will be too painful to watch his daughter on stage.
Instead he will go to bed and make do – as he has done with news of her pregnancy and the recent birth of her first child – with reading about his daughter’s success in the next day’s papers after being cut out of Adele’s life following a family rift in 2011. In spite of repeated phone calls, letters and even an attempt to contact Adele by turning up at her record company offices in London, Mark says his efforts to repair the rift have been stonewalled.
Now, after exhausting every other avenue, the 49-year-old says he is speaking publicly simply to appeal to his daughter to get in touch.
‘I’ve left messages on her phone, I’ve written to her and I’ve sent her birthday and Christmas cards but it’s like I’m dead to her,’ Mark told The Mail on Sunday.
‘I’m not interested in her celebrity status or her money, I just want my daughter back and I want to be a proper grandad to the little one.’
Mark, who became a grandfather for the first time when Adele gave birth in October, added: ‘Not only did I hear I was going to be a grandad for the first time via the media, I found out the same way that she’s calling the baby Angelo James.
‘I’d hoped so much that she’d put my late dad’s name, John, in there somewhere, but alas it looks as if it is not going to be.
‘I’m not sure why she’s chosen James, other than a reference to James Bond, and God alone knows where Angelo has come from. It’s very LA, isn’t it?
‘If only she’d called him John. That would have meant so much to me – and to Dad, God bless him. He’d have been so touched.
‘She spent every minute with him when she came to stay at weekends and school holidays as a kid. She adored him and he always had so much time and patience for her.
‘It’s Dad I think of when I see Adele on television now. It tears me apart to see her living her dream because I know how much my father would have loved to have seen her succeed. I can’t watch her live shows, it is too painful for me because all I would think about is what my father, who loved her so much, was missing.
‘The same goes for the Oscars. I know she’ll win because she’s brilliant but I won’t be there and I won’t even watch it on television. It would upset me too much to know that I was watching something that my dad never got to see. I’d break down and fall apart.
‘And believe me, if Adele caught a glimpse of my face at the Oscars and saw how upset I was, she’d know straight away what I was thinking and the kid would crumple. I’d never want to put either of us through that.’
He said the current situation meant he was ‘missing out on so many of the joys of being a grandfather. Simple pleasures like taking him out for a walk in his buggy along the promenade at Penarth like I used to with Adele, then stop off for an ice cream on the way back.
‘I want to do all the grandad stuff with him – feed the ducks in park, skim pebbles in the sea, splash around in the surf.
‘And then there’s all the music we could listen to together. I’d play him my old blues records and sing him lullabies to help him close his eyes at bedtime.
‘I just want normality. I want to be like any other grandad. I’ve got mates who I see with their grandchildren and I can’t bear to watch. It shows me what I’m missing out on.’
The family rift can, it appears, be traced back to an interview Mark gave in 2011 as his 24-yearold daughter stood in the brink of global stardom following the release of her autobiographical album 21, which laid bare the painful breakdown of a relationship and which went on to win six Grammy awards.
In it he took full responsibility for his failings as a father – walking out when his daughter was three, leaving her mother Penny Adkins to raise her single-handedly. Despite
‘I always kept in touch and saw her regularly’
the breakdown of his relationship with Penny, Mark remained close to Adele, who would spend school holidays in Wales with her grandparents Rose and John Evans and her half-brother Cameron, now 18.
He admits he lost touch with his daughter when he suffered a breakdown following the death of Adele’s grandfather John in 1999 and the collapse of a relationship that triggered a long battle with alcoholism.
But after a three-year hiatus, father and daughter were reunited when Adele was 15 and he became her most loyal fan, watching proudly as her career took off with the release of critically acclaimed debut album 19 in 2008.
‘When Adele was growing up I wasn’t a great example of what a father should be, but I always kept in touch and saw her regularly. She came to stay with me and my parents at weekends and school holidays and we were very close,’ said Mark.
‘Things went wrong when she was 12 because I had issues to deal with, including the deaths of my father and my closest buddy, but we overcame that and we were best mates again by the time she was 15.
‘I remember trying to explain my absence to her then and she cut in and said, “It’s OK Dad, I love you.” Since then, we’d always got on great again and no one has enjoyed her success more than me.’
But the relationship took a turn in 2011, after the release of Adele’s second album 21, which produced the hits Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You and went to No1 in 26 coun- tries. Mark says that as the world went into overdrive to find out who had inspired the record, he was besieged by requests for interviews about his now-famous daughter.
‘A journalist had called at my mother’s home and tried to get an interview with her. My mum immediately rang Adele and a few minutes later, Adele’s management were on the phone to Mum telling her to say nothing.
‘The same afternoon, I also got a call asking if I wanted to do an interview. I immediately told the guy to leave
me alone, but not as politely as that, and called Adele. She told me the same man had been at my mother’s house and then said, “Tell you what Dad, we’ll do it together. We’ll do a joint interview and get it all out in the open.”
‘I was surprised but I said, “I’ll do whatever makes you happy sweetheart, you know that.” Adele said she’d make the necessary arrangements. ‘The next morning, she rings up and says, “Sorry Dad, I can’t do the interview, I’m about to catch a flight to America.” That’s rock and roll, I thought. But I assumed from the fact she wanted to do an interview with me, she wouldn’t mind me going ahead on my own. I genuinely believed I was doing her a favour by speaking about how proud I was of her and how ashamed I was for my shortcomings as a parent, because it would put it out there on the record and stop people bothering her about it.
‘I called her several times to double check she was happy for me to speak but I couldn’t get hold of her. I still assumed she didn’t mind.
‘Even afterwards I thought everything was fine because I got feedback from her management that she was very happy with the piece. Then, a few days later, I got a call from Adele’s mum, Penny, shouting down the phone, “You shouldn’t have done that.” Before I could reply, she hung up. That was the last contact I had with either of them.
‘It’s so sad it’s come to this, and all over an honest account of my feelings for her. I’ve never said a bad word about Adele and I’m absolutely gutted she’s cut me out of her life.’
Since then Mark says he’s gone to extreme lengths to get in touch with his daughter – even travelling to London to try to reach her through her record company.
The wall of silence has been especially painful for Mark given the close relationship Adele shared with
‘I wanted to let her know I’m here for her’
her grandfather. ‘It breaks my heart that Adele is so hell-bent on cutting me off like this,’ he said. ‘I knew she had met her new fella and although I hadn’t met him, I liked the sound of him. But it was a bolt out of the blue when I found out she was expecting.
‘As soon as I found out, I wanted more than ever to get in touch and meet up so I could see how she was with my own eyes and let her know I’m here for her.
‘In desperation, I even went to London to see her management at her record label XL Recordings, to try to contact her. I poured my heart out to some numpty publicist and begged him to persuade her to ring me. It was embarrassing and humiliating revealing everything to a complete stranger. The guy said he’d pass my message on but I never heard back from him or Adele, I’m sorry to say. I don’t even know if that message got to her.
‘But she can’t be in any doubt that I want to see her, to find out what’s wrong and show her I want and need to play a part in her life other than Mr Rotten Dad. She’s obviously taken against me and I feel powerless to change her opinion. I think none of this would be happening if Dad was still alive. My dad and Adele were incredibly close and he’d have got us all together and united us again.’
Despite the breakdown of her relationship with her father, Adele is still in touch with Mark’s mother Rose Evans and half-brother Cameron, Mark’s son from a later relationship.
On his Twitter page Cameron, a student, appears to suggest he met his nephew on a trip to London earlier this month, writing: ‘Nephew is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.’, adding: ‘Not being able to share photos of the baby and sister on Twitter is so ******* annoying. All of my camera phone photos weren’t allowed.’
And while Mark, who grew up in Penarth on the South Wales coast, freely admits he may ‘not have been the best father in the world’, he claims he did give Adele – whose full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins – her greatest gift, the unique voice that has helped her earn an estimated £20million.
‘My mother has a voice like an angel and still sings in the choir at our local church, All Saints. She used to take me every Sunday. I practised in the week and I was solo chorister. I sounded like Aled Jones until my voice started breaking, then they found someone else and I moved on to jazz. I loved singing so much I planned to go to the Welsh School of Music and Drama after school. The problem was, I had zero confidence and I bottled it. Thank God Adele picked up where I left off and made something of the family voice.
‘Adele was always a very happy and confident girl when she was young. I never knew her to suffer from nerves or stage fright.
‘From the age of four or five, she used to sing and dance for me and my family and play her little guitar she bought for £3 at a charity shop in Tottenham and she loved it. She was a natural performer. If nerves came in, it must have been much later.
‘When she was a baby I’d lie on the sofa all night cradling Adele in my arms and listening to my favourite music – Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone. We’d lie there listening to all the great singers who were influenced by Blues. Night after night and all weekend I’d play those records. I’m certain that is what shaped Adele’s music today.
‘The music I loved is what gave me the idea for one of Adele’s middle names, Blue, as in the Blues. I wanted it to be her first name, but Penny, who wanted to call her Adele, won that one. But I’ve always loved the name – I’ve given it to one of my cats now – and I always think of Adele as Blue.’
Additional reporting: Nick North