Who broke Adele's heart and made her a star
09:28 GMT, 10 March 2012
Great love: While Adele, 23, has been happy to refer vaguely to the inspiration for the album 21, she has never actually named the man in question
The songs encapsulate the wrenching experience of having lost a great love — starting with anger and denial, and moving on through feelings of hurt and acceptance.
They are also probably the most lucrative expression of heartbreak ever recorded. Adele’s album, 21, has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, netting her a 25 million fortune since its release last year. It remains No 1 in the U.S. charts after 22 weeks in the top slot, and has sold more than 4 million copies in the UK.
And, following the singer’s recent performances at the Grammys and the Brits, her record sales show no signs of slowing down — executives claim a copy of 21 is sold every two seconds.
But a tantalising mystery remains: just who was the man who broke Adele’s heart She says she wrote the album over a three-month period at the start of 2010 after the relationship had ended. Yet while Adele, 23, has been happy to refer vaguely to the inspiration for the album, she has never actually named the person in question.
There are a few clues. She said last year: ‘We just fell out of love … and I had to deal with the devastation of feeling like a failure because I couldn’t make things work.’
In another interview, she said: ‘He was a few years older than me. He made me feel alive … and made me really passionate about food, wine, film, sociology, history and travelling. He opened my eyes to a lot of things.’
But was it really a great love The affair must have happened between the release of her first album 19 in 2008, and the beginning of 2010 when she went into the studio to record 21 — both albums being named after her age at the time.
He was a few years older than me. He
made me feel alive … and made me really passionate about food, wine,
film, sociology, history and travelling. He opened my eyes to a lot of
During that period, however, she has only been pictured with one possible suitor — a musician named Slinky Sunbeam — but she’s rubbished claims they dated. ‘Whoever this source is, they’re talking out of their ****. He ain’t my type,’ she wrote on her blog in 2008.
Given that Adele was fairly well-known by this point, had she been in a serious relationship, surely at least one photographer would have spotted the couple, say, going to the cinema
And Adele has confused things further. In January 2008, she said she was single. A year later, she said she was still not with anyone and that she’d ‘had a relationship last summer that was rubbish, more of a fling’.
So was Someone Like You just an intense reworking of her feelings about a ‘rubbish’ fling from the summer of 2008 Or was there a Mr Right — who somehow went undetected — between early 2009 and early 2010
Some Adele-watchers believe the truth
may be that the album is her creation in more ways than one. One source
who has spent several weeks attempting to find ‘the man’ told me this
week: ‘My money is that she has either made it up or this was a case of
is also a cynical theory among some in showbiz that there’s nothing
like a mystery for keeping people interested. Could it be Adele’s PR
machine is deliberately stoking the flame — thus the constant denials
whenever a new name is suggested
For her part, Adele insists there was a real romance, with a real person. But who on Earth is it — and why can nobody find him
Is the man who inspired Adele's album 21 just a mystery Could her PR team deliberately stoking the flame
'Missed': Slinky Sunbeam is also thought to be the inspiration. Ned Biggs, right, is thought to have dated Adele in 2008
THE PHONE SALESMAN
Who DJ Ned Biggs, 28. A former marketing assistant from South-East London who is now a part-time DJ.
Why might it be him He’s the latest suspect, and it is claimed they dated for a few months in 2008. Last week, his mother, Teresa Corr, fanned the flames, saying: ‘I was aware the album may have been written about him. Adele was a lovely girl. She was great to have around and I adored her. She is a much missed girl.’
Why not: He fits the bill, but he’s previously worked as a teaching assistant, a mobile phone marketer and on a mag-azine before turning to music. So could he really be the grounded older man No sign of passions for travel or sociology, either.
He says: Nothing, but a spokesman for Adele has denied it.
THE COMEDY STAR
Who The comedian and actor James Corden, 33.
Why might it be him They are best pals, and their friendship dates from exactly the right period — Corden split from girlfriend Sheridan Smith in mid-2009. At the time Corden, famous for his role in hit BBC series Gavin & Stacey, was living a life of excess in London. He got to know Adele after her first ever TV performance on television show T4, and they remain drinking buddies.
Why not: He has dressed up as her for Heat magazine — suggesting their relationship is more of a playful, jokey one. And there wasn’t much time for a grand romance either— he started dating his fiance Julia Carey in November 2009.
He says: ‘It wasn’t me.’
Adele's friendship with James Corden, left, happened around the right time. Mark Ronson, right, was one of the first to champion the fledgling star
THE ROCK SINGER
Who Jamie Reynolds, the lanky, rakish lead singer of rock group Klaxons and friend of model Alexa Chung.
Why might it be him Jamie, 30, has an eye for the ladies, and the pair did get to know each other in 2008 when both appeared on TV show Never Mind The Buzzcocks. He studied philosophy at the University of Greenwich and is several years her senior, so seems to fit her worldly description.
Why not: Despite them both being famous, they have never been pictured together, and his lifestyle — which has included 72-hour benders — seems worlds away from Adele’s preference for staying in to watch The X Factor with a cup of tea and a cigarette. At one point in 2008, he was also said to be simultaneously dating both Peaches and Pixie Geldof.
He says: ‘It wasn’t him,’ insists his publicist.
THE POP GURU
Who 36-year-old DJ and uber-producer Mark Ronson, responsible for hits by Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse.
Why might it be him He is older, well-educated and certainly the kind of man who could have taught her about sociology, wine and so on. They have been close friends for years — he was the first person to really champion her back in 2006 when she first appeared on the music scene, and they collaborated on a track on her first album.
Why not: How on Earth would he have found the time He dated someone else for three years until January 2008, and soon after started seeing model Daisy Lowe. They split in September 2008, and Ronson then had a fling with a female drummer before dating actress Josephine de la Baume. They are now married.
He says: ‘No comment.’
Could the album be about a lost love between Adele and her father Mark Evans, left Jamie Reynolds, right, got to know the singer when they both appeared on TV show Never Mind The Buzzcocks
Adele has found worldwide fame and recently won six Grammys
THE PARTY ANIMAL
Who Slinky Sunbeam — the bassist with band The More Assured (real name Slinky Winfield). He’s a snake-hipped party-loving musician from Margate with a shock of curly hair and a reputation for being a man in search of a good time.
Why might it be him They were pictured on a night out together in London’s Soho in Spring 2008. Shortly afterwards, however, she was said to have become jealous of his friendships with other women and the romance ended.
Why not: She isn’t really his type — his track record suggests he likes skinny models. He’s previously dated social butterfly Lorna Bean, daughter of actor Sean, and is also friendly with Peaches Geldof.
He has been known to strip naked in the street, too — which suggests he isn’t ‘the older and wiser mentor’ Adele referred to in an interview.
He says: ‘Half of what you read is made up.’
THE ABSENT FATHER
Who Adele’s father, Mark Evans, who is a plumber and recovering alcoholic.
Why might it be him Could it be that the album isn’t about a boyfriend, but a rather different kind of lost love Mark, 47, abandoned Adele and her mother when she was a baby because the relationship wasn’t working out. Adele’s mother Penny was an art student who fell for Evans after a meeting in a pub, and according to Evans they were deeply in love before he left. It is possible to read many of the songs on 21 as addressed by Penny to him.
Why not: Adele says the songs are about a romance of hers, and apparently detests Evans — saying she would spit in his face if she ever saw him. So would she really write a whole album about him
He says: ‘I definitely believe it is about an ex-boyfriend but I’m afraid I don’t know the name.’