The London-born singer has just celebrated her 33rd birthday in her £8.5 million house in Hollywood, with adored son Angelo, eight, and a starry crowd of friends including actress Jennifer Lawrence and best buddy Harry Styles
The death of Adele‘s father after a two-decades-long rift brings to a close an unhappy family saga which would not be out of place in one of the heartbreak ballads that made her name.
The London-born singer has just celebrated her 33rd birthday in her £8.5 million house in Hollywood, with adored son Angelo, eight, and a starry crowd of friends including actress Jennifer Lawrence and best buddy Harry Styles.
By contrast, her father Mark, who has died at the age of 57, was most recently heard of living on a 108-pitch mobile home park near Llantwit Major, South Wales. He was estranged from both his daughter Adele and her half-brother Cameron, and had been battling bowel cancer since 2013.
Cameron remarked that their relationship had ‘fizzled out’ some years before.
When it came to Adele, though, the breakdown of their relationship was characterised more by fireworks than a gentle fizzling out.
The singer raged in 2012 that if she ever saw him again she would spit in his face. She later said — from the stage of the Grammy Awards in 2017 — that she didn’t love him.
They never reconciled, even though Evans would sometimes claim that they had. Despite repeated public pleas and him revealing the bowel cancer diagnosis, she did not relent.
Sources close to the singer believe that she regards his death as a ‘liberation’.
As we shall see, at this point in her life all she wants to be is free of her old self, and of old sadnesses and old failed relationships, both with him and with her ex-husband Simon Konecki.
Indeed, last week, unaware that her father was dying, she posted a picture on her Instagram to mark her birthday. ‘Thirty FREE’ she wrote.
A friend said: ‘She is shaken by the news, but sees that it’s a tie to a difficult part of her life gone, and now she can have some peace about the relationship. I believe that she sees it as some kind of liberation.’
She was furious when he tried to claim that she had inherited her singing voice from him and his mother, and that he had been a key musical influence.
An ill-judged interview in which he said that perhaps she wasn’t happier in her private life because she had lacked a father figure was — for her — unforgivable.
Evans spent much of the past ten years issuing grovelling public apologies to his daughter and in private sending cards and letters to her management, and calling them repeatedly. He never had a response. He said it would be easier to contact the U.S. president.
‘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. 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.’
It wasn’t to be.
Father Mark (pictured) was estranged from both his daughter Adele and her half-brother Cameron, and had been battling bowel cancer since 2013
It was 1987 when Mark Evans met Penny Adkins, Adele’s mother, in a pub in North London. He was a strapping, handsome Welsh labourer; Penny was a student at Barnet Art College. A greengrocer’s daughter, Penny was thinking about applying for an art degree when she started a relationship with Evans. Within two weeks, she was shocked to discover that she was pregnant.
She opted to keep the baby rather than go ahead with university, and left home for a council flat. Penny was 18 and a half when Adele was born in Tottenham, North London; Mark Evans was 25. She and Evans tried to make a go of their romance but had little in common. By the time Adele was three, they had split up.
From this point on, contact was only ever sporadic. Evans returned to Wales and, for a time, worked for his father, who ran a cafe at the Barry Island funfair. He rarely contributed financially to his daughter’s upkeep. He said: ‘Penny never wanted anything from me. Sometimes I did give her money, when I could.’
Adele confirmed that her father had ‘never been in the picture’ but said: ‘It’s fine, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.’
As she explained, it was her mother who fostered her love of music and helped her to take her first steps as a singer, and this relationship has always been exceptionally close. Aged five, she would stand on the table and sing Dreams by Gabrielle at family gatherings. When Adele was 11, they moved to West Norwood in South London.
Aged 14, she started to attend the BRIT school in Croydon and, by the time she was 16, she had management representing her. In her late teens, after landing a record deal, she struck out on her own, living in a rented flat in Notting Hill in West London. But, after a few months, she moved back home to that modest West Norwood flat with her mum, which is where she wrote her first hit album, 19, released in 2008.
She said: ‘I live with my mum again now. I missed her so much that I couldn’t really function without her. She’s my best friend.’
When she hit the big time, Penny was thanked in public. ‘Mum, your girl done good!’ Adele said from the stage of the 2012 Grammys, after winning six awards.
She bought Penny a £600,000 home in London, and her mother was happy to stay out of the spotlight. Indeed, she has never given an interview about her daughter, who became an international supernova upon the release of the mega-selling album 21 in 2011 and is now worth £150 million.
By contrast, it was around this time that Evans began to talk publicly about his daughter, speaking of his deep regrets over their fractured relationship.
Singer Adele Adkins as a child on visits to her father Mark Evans’ home in Penarth, Wales
He said in 2011: ‘I was not there for my daughter when I should have been and I have regretted that every second of every day to this moment now.’
Evans claimed that he had played a crucial role in her development.
He told a newspaper: ‘I’d lie on the sofa all night cradling Adele (as a baby) in my arms and listening to my favourite music — Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.
‘Night after night, I’d play those records. I’m certain that is what shaped Adele’s music. The music I loved and still love today is what gave me the idea for one of her middle names, Blue. I always think of Adele as Blue.’
He added that after the split from Penny she would stay with him on holiday.
‘She came to stay in the summer after her fourth birthday and she was carrying this little acoustic guitar she’d picked up in a charity shop. She said she was teaching herself how to play it by listening to the blues songs we used to listen to on my record player and then trying to make the same noise.
‘Within a couple of years, she’d started singing along and I remember thinking, when she was seven, ‘My god, Adele’s really got it. She’s going to be a huge star one day.’ ‘
It’s not an account that chimes with Adele’s own memories, in which the influence of her mother was all.
Sources say that from the outset, this claim to credit angered her.
‘She was angry anyway about him speaking — but for him to claim some credit for shaping her musically just made her furious,’ I am told.
And, as Evans admitted, he had zero contact with her from 1999, when she was 11.
His father John also died of bowel cancer aged 57, and Mark sank into grief and alcohol.
Adele lives in her £8.5 million house in Hollywood (pictured), with adored son Angelo, eight, and a starry crowd of friends including actress Jennifer Lawrence and best buddy Harry Styles
He said: ‘I was putting away two litres of vodka and seven or eight pints of Stella every day. I drank like that for three years. God only knows how I survived it.
‘I was deeply ashamed of what I’d become and I knew the kindest thing I could do for Adele was to make sure she never saw me in that state.’ He added: ‘I reckon I made Oliver Reed look like a teetotaller. I was in the darkest place you can imagine. I saw no way out. I didn’t really care whether I lived or died.’
The stress of his breakdown caused all his hair to fall out.
He admitted that he had never been to one of her shows. His reasoning was that it would bring home to him how proud her grandfather would have been.
He said: ‘It would tear me apart all over again. I can’t deal with the loss.’
It wasn’t just Adele whom he let down at this point. Evans also split up from Siobhan, his long-term girlfriend and the mother of his son Cameron. They were jettisoned in favour of a long bender. Some local sources said that they weren’t sure that Evans really got over his issues with alcohol.
Certainly, he and Adele were at sharp variance from this point onwards.
She said in an interview: ‘I last saw him at my grandma’s funeral. I think I was about 15. But I’d cut off contact with him when I was ten or 11.’
However he claimed that they had met up at Camden Market in North London when she was in her mid-teens and that she had embraced him — and forgiven him — and that they saw each other ‘every couple of months’.
He added: ‘We get on fantastically now. I am the proudest Dad in the world.’
This seems to have been simple wishful thinking on his part.
The following year, after Evans gave an interview saying he was worried that her unhappy romantic life was down to him leaving, she delivered a counterblast.
Mark Evans met Penny Adkins, Adele’s mother (pictured together), in a pub in North London in 1987
Adele said: ‘I was ready to start trying to have a relationship with him. He’s f*****g blown it. He will never hear from me again. Because there is nothing that would upset me more than my dad being bribed by the Press. It’s like, f*** off! How dare you comment on my life. ‘I love her so much.’ Really? Why are you telling me that through a newspaper? If I ever see him I will spit in his face.’
He was deeply hurt. He said: ‘I can’t believe she said that. It’s devastating. I don’t know where it’s come from.’
He never met Simon Konecki, whom Adele married. He wasn’t invited to the wedding, or told when she fell pregnant, or had son Angelo.
Every now and again he would give an interview talking about how proud he was of his daughter, and how much he only wanted the best for her, but he remained unforgiven.
He said in an interview that his mother Rose told him that Adele was expecting a baby. But he later admitted that he had actually found out via the media.
‘I would have loved so much to have been able to hold her in my arms and tell her how happy I was for her. I want more than anything to be part of her life again,’ he said. ‘I was a rotten father to her and I guess now I’m paying the price.’
In 2013, he said that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and claimed to have made up with his famous daughter. ‘Adele and I are fine, it was just a misunderstanding,’ he said. ‘We’ve patched things up, everything’s fine.’
However, at the Grammys in 2017 she said that the relationship remained unhealed. She thanked her manager, saying: ‘We’ve been together for ten years, and I love you like you’re my dad. I love you so, so much. I don’t love my dad, that’s the thing.’
By 2019, Evans was working as a £50-a-day driver for Yodel and living in a rented flat in Bridgend, South Wales.
More recently, he spent time at Ham Manor Park, a mobile home residential site, apparently living rent-free in exchange for working as a caretaker in the off-peak season.
Adele, meanwhile, was in her £8.5 million Hollywood home, making a new life after splitting from husband Konecki.
Sources say that she has recently developed an interest in life coaching, crystals and therapy. Self-help guru Jedidiah Jenkins is a friend. Her weight loss is a part of a new philosophy. She has committed to being single, and breaking away from her old patterns of seeing herself through the prism of personal relationships, including romances.
Mark was most recently heard of living on a 108-pitch mobile home park (pictured) near Llantwit Major, South Wales
I’m told: ‘She has chosen to invite new people into her life and to let go of her old friends, because they knew the old her. She has to find out who she is and to surprise herself every day. She has changed her house, got a new wardrobe and new hobbies. She is looking to new horizons like acting. She is just finding out who she truly is.’
Many were surprised when close friend Alan Carr revealed that he had been over to LA to visit her and she asked him to stay at a hotel rather than in her home — remember that he was married in her back garden and was her ‘bestie’.
Now, though, he’s not in the inner circle. New friends include Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya — she was seen celebrating with him earlier this month. She believes that under the influence of Konecki, a former banker 15 years her senior, she was living the life of a much older person, and had become reclusive and lacking in self belief.
‘When they were first together she was trying to handle being so famous, which she did by locking herself away, but she doesn’t want to be so reclusive any more. She wants to socialise with her fun young friends. It’s all about new beginnings for Adele,’ said the source.
How sad that there can be no new beginning with her father.