The Biography

Marc Shapiro

St. Martin's Griffin

Adele loves her mother. Always has. Always will. “You don’t realize how important your parents are until you’ve spent a lot of time away from them,” she was quoted on the Web site Great Personalities. “My mother and I have always been friends but we’re tighter than ever now. We can talk about anything and not just in a mother- daughter way.”

But as a Vogue journalist discovered during a 2011 interview, her feelings toward her father are a whole other matter:“If I ever see him, I will spit in his face.”

And a journalist for Rolling Stone received a similar response when the question of her father was broached: “He has no fucking right to talk about me.” Adele’s responses were toward questions about her father’s reemergence in the pages of Th e Sun newspaper, telling about those early days with Adele and her mother. In Adele’s view, he added insult to injury by supplying the paper with rarely seen photos of her as a child. She considered it an intrusion and a betrayal of the highest order, made all the more evil by the fact that he was paid quite handsomely for the interview and photos. For Adele, the act was the final nail in the coffin of an already tenuous relationship, one that just a year previous was showing signs of a reconciliation.

“I don’t know what a dad is supposed to do because I never had one,” she said in a MusicLife story. “I’m sure I will see him again. I think we can be friends. I don’t need him to be a dad now.” But it was not meant to be. Adele is not the first superstar talent to be estranged from a parent. In fact, it comes as a surprise when a reigning celebrity has come from a happy, intact, and functional family. But the obvious anger in Adele’s thoughts when it comes to dealing with the biological dad she rarely saw and now does

not see at all, is palpable.

Armchair psychiatrists have been quick to blame the lion’s share of Adele’s much- publicized relationship difficulties on the fact that she essentially grew up without a father figure. Adele has never addressed the impact not having a father may have had. But one thing is certain . . .

. . . Adele has been adamant in her estrangement from Mark Evans and, indirectly, keeping her father at arm’s length has only served to cloud the details of how her parents met and how she came to be. She has only spoken about that element of her history when pressed, and then we’ve only gotten the broad strokes. Her parents met quite young. Adele’s mother became pregnant. They never married, and her father moved out when Adele was a toddler. There were always the tabloid allegations; Evans was a notorious womanizer and an alcoholic according to the more colorful media outlets.

Of the latter, Evans, in a far- reaching interview with The Sun, admitted as much. But until Adele decides to completely chronicle her history or her mother decides to talk, there is largely only Evans’ recounting of those early days to rely on. Mark Evans was raised in the Welsh seaside town of Penarth. By all accounts, he was cut from simple, workingman stock and maintained a likable, salt- of- the- earth personality. He was once described in one of Adele’s charitable moments as “The big Welsh guy who works on the ships.” His looks: rugged yet youthful. Chances are, if you threw a rock in Wales in the late ’70s and early ’80s, hitting a Mark Evans type would not be difficult. He was straightforward in his outlook, basic in his attitude, and it goes without saying that he was not a creative bloke and certainly not musically inclined.

He would seem an odd choice for Penny Adkins. Penny was born in Tottenham, an equally working-class enclave of North London, to grocer John Adkins and his wife, Doreen. The city of Tottenham had an illustrious history of turning out inventors, statesmen, and no shortage of entertainers that included Dave Clark (of Dave Clark Five music fame), musician Lemar Obika, and actors Ron Moody and Shani Wallace. There was a consensus that being from Tottenham was something special and a legitimate source of pride. So much so that, following the 2012 Grammy Awards, Adele stated proudly in a Sun feature, “I’m not a fake Tottenham girl. I was born there.” ...