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MailOnline takes a look back at Adele's complicated love life


Adele delighted fans when she finally dropped her new single Easy On Me on Friday, which was inspired by her divorce from ex-husband Simon Konecki in 2019.  

But the song – which is the lead track released from her new album 30 – isn’t her first to have been inspired by her turbulent love life.

Adele’s first heartbreak, penned in album 19, is said to have taken place a year prior, when she confessed her feelings to a bisexual man- only to rebuffed.

Her turbulent love life carried on through her twenties, with 21 composed after ‘losing the love of her life’, widely reported to be fashion photographer Alex Sturrock, 34. 

Alex was thought to have inspired Adele’s lead track Hello off album 25, a song about revisiting a former flame and things looked up for the star as she sung about being a mum to son Angelo, eight, and made references to her relationship with Simon. 

However her marriage went on to break down and Adele channelled her heartbreak into 30, set to be released on November 19.  

Here MailOnline takes a look back at the Tottenham-born star’s complicated love life and the cathartic tracks influenced by it which have captured the nation’s hearts: 

Love life: Here MailOnline takes a look back at Adele's exes and the heartbreak songs they inspired

Love life: Here MailOnline takes a look back at Adele’s exes and the heartbreak songs they inspired

From Tottenham to Hollywood: Adele showed off her incredible weight loss for the first time earlier this year, shortly before going public with Rich (pictured earlier this year)

Before: Adele pictured in 2008

From Tottenham to Hollywood: Adele’s journey to happiness has been a turbulent one. The singer (pictured earlier this year,  right in 2008)

19  

Difficult times: A cruel heartbreak at the age of 18 kicked off her successful career when Adele was inspired to write her debut album 19 about her ill-fated relationship with a bisexual man

Difficult times: A cruel heartbreak at the age of 18 kicked off her successful career when Adele was inspired to write her debut album 19 about her ill-fated relationship with a bisexual man

A cruel heartbreak at the age of 18 kicked off her successful career when Adele was inspired to write her debut album 19 about her ill-fated relationship with a bisexual man.

After Adele declared her romantic intentions to the mystery man, he cruelly ran off with one of her gay friends just hours later. 

Despite the humiliation, the songstress and the man tried again to make their relationship work but after four months of him cheating on her, Adele couldn’t take it anymore. 

Adele wrote about the drama on her official website at the time, explaining: ‘My debut album is about being between 18 and 19; about love. Daydreamer is about this boy I was in love with, like proper in love with, he was bi and I couldn’t deal with that.

‘All the things I wanted from my boyfriend, he was never going to be. I get really jealous anyway, so I couldn’t fight with girls and boys.’  

Upset: Adele dated a mystery bisexual man four months but he repeatedly cheated on her, it is claimed (Adele is pictured in 2008 aged 20 just after the 19 album release)

Upset: Adele dated a mystery bisexual man four months but he repeatedly cheated on her, it is claimed (Adele is pictured in 2008 aged 20 just after the 19 album release)

21

Ex lover: Adele said she wrote the album 21 over a three-month period at the start of 2010 after a relationship had ended. Though to be fashion photographer Alex Sturrock, 34 (pictured)

Ex lover: Adele said she wrote the album 21 over a three-month period at the start of 2010 after a relationship had ended. Though to be fashion photographer Alex Sturrock, 34 (pictured) 

Adele said she wrote the album 21 over a three-month period at the start of 2010 after a relationship had ended. 

Yet while the singer has been happy to refer vaguely to the inspiration for the album, she has never actually named the person in question.      

Adele’s lyrics from Hello (in the album 25) are also believed to relate to meetings she had with the same former love, who she wrote much of the second album – which was released in 2011 – about. 

While it has never been revealed who put her through so much emotional strife, – most obvious in the hit song Someone Like You -, reports have previously named fashion photographer Alex Sturrock, 34.  

On his text-sparse website, Alex states that he has worked with brands such as Nike, JD Sports, Sony, American Apparel, Vice and NME. There is a section of candid snaps of Adele on her US tour with images of her smoking in bed, sitting next to an ‘I love you’ balloon and with heart-shaped stickers all over her face.  

Tough: In 2011 she spoke of her regret over their romance breakdown: 'I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for not making my relationship with my ex on 21 work, because he's the love of my life'

Tough: In 2011 she spoke of her regret over their romance breakdown: ‘I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for not making my relationship with my ex on 21 work, because he’s the love of my life’ 

Heat first linked the pair back in 2012 with an unnamed close friend claiming the couple had dated in secret from summer 2008 to April 2009. The source said they ‘hit it off straight away’ and ‘spent all their time together’, with the photographer joining Adele on her US tour in 2009.

The friend told the celebrity magazine: ‘He’s a very normal guy and they’d laugh a lot together, eat junk food and ignore the fact that her career was about to go stratospheric.’

They are said to have avoided ‘doing things as a couple’ and being photographed together.

Describing the relationship as ‘volatile’, the pal claimed they went their separate ways after Mr Sturrock started seeing someone else.  

Around this time, The Sunday Mirror linked Tottenham-born Adele to part-time DJ Ned Biggs, while The New York Post named musician and actor named Slinky Sunbeam as the mystery ex behind Rolling in the Deep. 

Adele previously told The Guardian that she will never reveal the identity of the man behind her wounded love songs: ‘Who cares? Nobody famous, just old boyfriends. I don’t date celebrities. I ain’t f****** Taylor Swift, dyouknowhatImean?’

However, while keeping the man anonymous, Adele has been publicly unabashed about hiding her feelings towards him. 

In 2011 she spoke of her regret over their romance breakdown: ‘I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for not making my relationship with my ex on 21 work, because he’s the love of my life.’ 

25 

Life: While the lead track on 25 Hello, was inspired by meeting up with the lost love of her life which inspired 21, Adele also makes references to her ex-husband Simon, particularly in the song Water Under The Bridge, and motherhood in the album

Life: While the lead track on 25 Hello, was inspired by meeting up with the lost love of her life which inspired 21, Adele also makes references to her ex-husband Simon, particularly in the song Water Under The Bridge, and motherhood in the album

While the lead track on 25 Hello, was inspired by meeting up with the lost love of her life which inspired 21, Adele also makes references to her ex-husband Simon, particularly in the song Water Under The Bridge, and motherhood in the album.   

Adele gave birth to her son Angelo at the age of 24, just before she wrote the songs, with the album reflecting her mental and emotional state at the time as well as ‘finding herself’ again after welcoming her first child. 

She has planned to write the whole album on motherhood but then changed her mind, telling the BBC at the time: ‘I did pretty much write an album about being a mum but that’s pretty boring. I scrapped that. 

‘I felt like I was never going to finish this record. It was a long process. I wanted to give up a lot because I couldn’t do it. I thought I’d run out of ideas and I’d lost my ability to write a song.’

The meaning: Adele gave birth to her son Angelo at the age of 24, just before she wrote the songs, with the album reflecting her mental and emotional state at the time as well as 'finding herself' again after welcoming her first child (pictured performing Hello at Glastonbury in 2016)

The meaning: Adele gave birth to her son Angelo at the age of 24, just before she wrote the songs, with the album reflecting her mental and emotional state at the time as well as ‘finding herself’ again after welcoming her first child (pictured performing Hello at Glastonbury in 2016) 

She also told how she was inspired by Madonna’s track Ray of Light when she wrote the album, which the Material Girl star wrote after giving birth to her daughter Leon Lourdes, now 25.

She said: ‘You know what I found so amazing about that record?… That’s the record Madonna wrote after having her first child, and for me, it’s her best. I was so all over the place after having a child, just because my chemicals were just hitting the f*cking roof and sh*t like that… 

‘I was just drifting away, and I couldn’t find that many examples for myself where I was like, ‘F*ck, they truly came back to themselves,’ until someone was like, ‘Well, obviously, Ray of Light.’

The song Frozen, she said in particular, pushed her ‘back into herself’, as she felt it was an expression by Madonna saying, ‘I’ve gotten my confidence to come and do me again.’    

30 

New music incoming: Her newest album 30, was inspired by her divorce from ex-husband Simon, who she shares her son Angelo, now eight, with

New music incoming: Her newest album 30, was inspired by her divorce from ex-husband Simon, who she shares her son Angelo, now eight, with

Her newest album 30, was inspired by her divorce from ex-husband Simon, who she shares her son Angelo, now eight, with.  

Adele and Simon started dating in 2011. Documents filed to court suggest that they were married on the eve of her 30th birthday, in May 2018. 

It was later reported that her Titanic-themed 30th birthday party was actually a wedding celebration.

She’s said in a recent interview: ‘We got married when I was 30 . . . and then I left. I’m not gonna go into that detail. Remember I am embarrassed. This is very embarrassing. It wasn’t very long.’

It's over: Adele and Simon started dating in 2011. Documents filed to court suggest that they were married on the eve of her 30th birthday, in May 2018

It’s over: Adele and Simon started dating in 2011. Documents filed to court suggest that they were married on the eve of her 30th birthday, in May 2018

They announced their separation in April 2019, less than a year on, but she said she made the announcement ‘much later’ than the split actually happened. She is now dating sports agent Rich Paul. 

She told one interviewer that the intro to her break-up anthem, Easy On Me, came to her in the shower in 2018, meaning the relationship was all over within seven months at the most.

‘I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy,’ she said. ‘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.’

In a Radio 1 interview, she admitted to starting fiery rows with Konecki, now 47, after the relationship broke down. 

In her recent Vogue interview – which was her first for five years – Adele also discussed her divorce from Simon, saying that she ‘left’ him and ‘would have been miserable had she not put herself first’. 

She said of the breakdown of her relationship: ‘When I was 30, my entire life fell apart and I had no warning of it. It just wasn’t right for me anymore. I didn’t want to end up like a lot of other people I knew. 

‘It 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.’

She added of the aftermath of her divorce: ‘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.’  

In the interview she also spoke for the first time about dating her new boyfriend, Rich Paul.

Love: In her recent Vogue interview she also spoke for the first time about dating her new boyfriend, Rich Paul (pictured going Instagram official last month)

Love: In her recent Vogue interview she also spoke for the first time about dating her new boyfriend, Rich Paul (pictured going Instagram official last month)

She said: ‘I did date before Rich, but they hated it. They’d find it stressful being out or seen with me…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. He’s great. He’s so f**king funny. He’s so smart, you know.’  

Rich and Adele confirmed their romance last month after being spotted on a dinner date, after going public in July when they sat court side at game five of the NBA Finals in Phoenix, Arizona.

They have since gone Instagram official and have ‘met each other’s children’ and are ‘inseparable’ according to reports.

Honest: In a Radio 1 interview, she admitted to starting fiery rows with Konecki, now 47, after the relationship broke down (pictured kissing in 2017)

Honest: In a Radio 1 interview, she admitted to starting fiery rows with Konecki, now 47, after the relationship broke down (pictured kissing in 2017)

Adele is said to have already introduced sports agent beau Rich, 39, to Angelo – her and ex Simon’s eight-year-old son – and the Skyfall hit-maker has also been spending time with Rich’s three children.  

She also spoke about her incredible weight loss over the last two years, saying: ‘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. I got quite addicted to it. I work out two or three times a day.’   

Who is Adele’s new boyfriend Rich Paul?

The 411: Agent Rich Paul represents some of the NBA's biggest stars and is dating Adele [pictured 2019]

The 411: Agent Rich Paul represents some of the NBA’s biggest stars and is dating Adele [pictured 2019]

Rich Paul is one of the NBA’s top sports agents, with basketball stars including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons and John Wall on his books.

The 39-year-old is worth an estimated $46 million (£33.4 million) and has negotiated more than $1 billion in active deals for his high-profile clients during his career.

In 2020, he made Forbes’ list of the world’s top 10 most powerful sports agents, hitting No. 9 on the list. He was classed No. 2 globally in basketball. He was also featured on the 2020 Ebony Power 100 List.

He is the founder of Klutch Sports, part of United Talent Agency (UTA), which leapt up 23 places on the list of the world’s most valuable sports agencies within a five year period, following Paul’s involvement. Paul now leads UTA’s sports division.

He was raised in Cleveland in a one-bedroom apartment above his father’s store, R & J Confectionery and went to a Roman Catholic high school.

His first foray into business saw him buying vintage sports jerseys from Atlanta, selling them out of his car n Cleveland, often making $10,000 per week.

He met LeBron James at the Akron–Canton Airport in 2002, selling him a jersey. They have been friends and now colleagues, ever since. 



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