Troubled life of Adele’s alcoholic father: Ex-plumber abandoned his daughter as a toddler, had a ‘complete breakdown’ after his father’s passing, and worked as a £50-a-day Yodel driver before reconciling with singer before his death from cancer aged 57
- Adele has opened up about difficult and turbulent relationship with her father
- She reconciled with her estranged father, Mark Evans, shortly before his death
- Last week she said she underestimated how much love she had for her father
As she continues to promote her upcoming album, Adele has opened up about her difficult relationship with her father, who struggled with alcoholism, abandoned her as a toddler and refused to listen to her songs for years.
She told Oprah as part of the two-hour CBS special ‘Adele One Night Only’ that she reconciled with her estranged father, Mark Evans, in Wales, shortly before his death in May from bowel cancer, aged 57.
Then last month the Grammy-winning songstress confessed in Vogue that she dealt with the grief of losing him by having ‘a lot of therapy’ and ‘a lot of time spent’ alone, while telling Rolling Stone last week that she underestimated how much love she had for her father, after years of acrimony.
Here, FEMAIL looks back at their turbulent relationship – from his ‘absolute lack of presence and effort’ to their shattering rift and then reconciliation.
Adele (pictured left) told Oprah as part of the two-hour CBS special ‘Adele One Night Only’ that she reconciled with her estranged father, Mark Evans, in Wales, shortly before his death in May from bowel cancer, aged 57
Mark (pictured) walked out on Adele when she was two, leaving her 20-year-old mother, Penny, to raise her alone
Mark walked out on daughter Adele when she was a toddler
Mark walked out on Adele when she was two, leaving her 20-year-old mother, Penny, to raise her alone.
For years, he kept in touch with his daughter, even though he offered little in the way of financial support, he previously admitted.
There were, however, summer holidays spent in a caravan in Tenby, South Wales, and days eating ice cream on the beach at Barry Island, Glamorgan where Mark helped his father, John, run a café at the pleasure park.
He previously recalled a happy-go-lucky little girl who loved swimming and was obsessed with the Spice Girls, always singing along to their songs and learning their lyrics by heart.
‘I just can’t believe that a scruffy little kid from Tottenham has grown up to be a global superstar,’ Mark said in a 2012 interview with the Daily Mail.
He was a ‘rotten father’ to his daughter growing up while suffering from alcoholism
Mark previously admitted he was a ‘rotten father’ to his daughter when she was growing up, blaming his alcoholism – triggered by the collapse of his relationship with Adele’s mother Penny Adkins – for the way he treated her.
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.’
Revealed: How Adele’s parents met in a North London pub in 1987
Adele’s parents originally met in a North London pub in 1987, while Mark Evans worked as a building labourer and Penny Adkins studied at Barnet Art College.
Adkins was 18 and a half when Adele was born in Tottenham, North London; Evans was 25. They tried to make a go of their romance but had little in common. By the time Adele was three, they had split up.
Evans moved back to Wales, initially working at his father’s café on Barry Island, but he would slide out of Adele’s life and into alcoholism while she became an international star.
It was around the time of her groundbreaking second album 21 that Evans began to talk publicly about his daughter, speaking of his deep regrets over their fractured relationship.
By 2019, Evans – who announced his bowel cancer diagnosis six years earlier – was working as a £50-a-day driver for Yodel and living in a rented flat in Bridgend, South Wales, after giving up his career as a plumber.
More recently, he spent time at Ham Manor Park, a mobile home residential site, living rent-free in exchange for working as a caretaker in the off-peak season.
He added that he was ‘deeply ashamed’ of what he had ‘become’, adding: ‘The kindest thing I could do for Adele was to make sure she never saw me in that state.’
Adele would spend school holidays in Wales with her grandparents and her half-brother Cameron following the split.
But Mr Evans suffered a breakdown after the death of Adele’s grandfather John in 1999, which caused him to lose touch with his daughter completely for several years.
He said of that time: ‘Losing my dad was the single worst thing that has ever happened to me. I loved him so much. He was everything to me. One of the hardest things for me is knowing he never saw Adele perform, never saw what she became.’
Mr Evans spoke of having a complete breakdown after his father’s death — he lost his hair to stress-induced alopecia — and drank two litres of vodka a day for three years.
Eventually a girlfriend stepped in and helped persuade him to stop drinking.
‘God only knows how I survived it, but somehow I did. I hit the bottle so hard that I am pretty much oblivious to anything that happened to me in those three years, and I didn’t want Adele to see me like that,’ he said.
‘I was deeply ashamed of what I’d become. The kindest thing I could do for Adele was to make sure she never saw me in that state.’
In an interview with the Mail On Sunday in 2013, he explained: ‘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.
‘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.’
Mark (pictured) previously admitted he was a ‘rotten father’ to his daughter when she was growing up, blaming his alcoholism – triggered by the collapse of his relationship with Adele’s mother Penny Adkins – for the way he treated her
The pair famously fell out in 2011 following an interview by Mark
Mark and his daughter famously fell out in 2011 when he claimed in an interview that she struggled to find love because of her abandonment issues.
In the interview that led to their bust-up, Mr Evans took full responsibility for his failings as a father.
But he said Adele’s tumultuous love life – which features in her song lyrics – could be because of abandonment issues brought about when he walked away.
Reacting to his comments, Adele is understood to have said: ‘He’s f****** blown it. He will never hear from me again. It makes me angry.
‘To come back after 10 years and be like, “Maybe her problem with men comes down to me.” It’s like, “How dare you comment on my life?” It makes my blood boil.’
In an interview with American Vogue in 2012, she said: ‘If I ever see him, I will spit in his face. He will never hear from me again.’
But commenting on the interview in 2013, Mark said that as the world went into overdrive to find out who had inspired hit records like Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You, he was besieged by requests for interviews about his 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.’
Adele reconciled with her alcoholic father before he died of cancer in May and was with him in his final days
Adele confessed to Oprah that she got some closure after meeting with her estranged father in Wales before he passed away in May from bowel cancer
The singer confessed to Oprah that she got some closure after meeting with her estranged father in Wales before he passed away in May from bowel cancer.
‘My dad’s absolute lack of presence and effort…But I finally understood that it was the alcohol…It took my dad from me,’ she said tearing up.
Adele told Oprah her father’s absence when she was a child had shaped the way she navigated relationships as an adult, and made her hurt her partners as a defence mechanism to avoid being hurt herself.
‘I hurt the first, not in a malicious way, but protect herself,’ she said.
After Oprah touched on Adele’s ‘interesting relationship’ with alcohol, the singer said her father’s death had made an impact in her lifestyle.
‘It [ Alcohol] took my dad from me,’ Adele said. ‘Once I realised I had to do a lot to work on myself, I stopped drinking and started working out a lot.’
Talking to Vogue about how she dealt with her father’s death she said: ‘It was a lot of sound baths. It was a lot of meditation. It was a lot of therapy. And a lot of time spent on my own.
‘I know he loved me, and we actually got our peace before he died,’ she added, revealing she played her album for him. Her father had spent years avoiding her music as he found it too upsetting to listen to.
Speaking to the latest edition of Rolling Stone, Adele – who releases fourth studio LP 30 on November 19 – also admitted she underestimated how much love she had for her father, after years of acrimony.
‘I don’t think I understood the deepness of how I felt about him until we spoke,’ she told the publication, crediting close friend India for encouraging her to reconnect with Mark.
So comfortable was their reunion that Adele was able to introduce him to his nine-year old grandson Angelo, her only child with ex-husband Simon Konecki.
When her father eventually died, the singer says she experienced a cathartic ‘physical reaction’ reminiscent of that famous scene in Tom Hanks movie The Green Mile, where a terminal illness is sucked out of someone and spat out.
She recalled: ‘It was like I let out one wail and something left. I’ve felt so calm ever since then. It really did set little me free.’
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