Adele’s gush of confession in the garden of Oprah: After THAT Sussex soft soap, JAN MOIR watches the TV queen talk therapy, stardom and a deathbed reconciliation
And lo, once more we come to the Garden of Oprah, just as the disciples Harry and Meghan cameth before us and verily spoke their truth before the tree of knowledge and the fount of Winfrey.
Remember that bonfire of the royal vanities, when the Sussexes laid out their juicy beefs and perhaps even a few flame-grilled whoppers in a bid to show the world their authentic selves?
Now it was Adele’s turn on the hot coals of the public confessional and, true to form, her gush of proclamations was biblical.
Adele sat down with world-renowned entertainer Oprah Winfrey to put the world to rights
Adele talked about her career, weight loss, alcohol abuse, daddy issues and recent divorce from Simon Konecki, the father of her nine-year-old son Angelo
Adele talked about her career, weight loss, alcohol abuse, daddy issues and recent divorce from Simon Konecki, the father of her nine-year-old son Angelo.
‘I want to live, not to survive,’ she told Oprah, a cloying echo of Meghan’s thrive-not-just-survive declaration during her 2019 interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby.
Do you know, it gladdens my old heart, it really does, to know that the thrive thresholds of these powerful and successful divas are being met at last. Phew.
In America, an audience with Oprah is practically a coronation in itself but on the television special, Adele One Night Only (CBS), it was hard to know which of these two magnificent queens was the most regal.
Upholstered in their matchy matchy cream trouser suits and with soaring hairdos approaching Marge Simpson-esque proportions, Oprah and Adele looked as if they had just married each other on a Malibu beach, or were perhaps job-sharing a senior receptionist position in a Las Vegas wellness spa.
Upholstered in their matchy matchy cream trouser suits and with soaring hairdos approaching Marge Simpson-esque proportions, Oprah and Adele looked as if they had just married each other on a Malibu beach
‘I want to live, not to survive,’ Adele told Oprah, a cloying echo of Meghan’s thrive-not-just-survive declaration during her 2019 interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby
The show had its joys but it was a clunky format, mixing clips from the Oprah rose garden interview with footage from the celeb-rich, invite-only mini-concert at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Adele’s ex-husband, son and new boyfriend Rich Paul were all in the audience, along with Leonardo DiCaprio in a hoodie and actress Melissa McCarthy, who bawled her eyes out.
Present too were Tyler Perry, Gayle King and James Corden, whose television company Fulwell 73 helped to produce the show.
Indeed, in this enmeshed celeb world, so many power players from the Sussexes’ personal Hollywood address book were present, it is hard to believe Harry and Meghan themselves weren’t there, too. Perhaps hiding under a toadstool, asking each other ‘are we thriving yet?’.
Adele and Oprah’s cream-coloured clothing matched the flowers in the American megastar’s garden
The superstar singer Adele recently divorced from her husband Simon Konecki, whom she had a child with
This was certainly a night to remember. The sumptuous ten-song concert was Adele’s first public performance for many years and she did not disappoint.
Stitched into a Schiaparelli gown embroidered with black crystals, she had Saturn pendant earrings, peerless maquillage and a glamorous updo.
From the first thunderous note, her heartbreak of a voice pealed through the darkening sky as the sun set over the Pacific. With the Hollywood sign behind her and the lights of Los Angeles twinkling at her feet, Adele laid claim to her position as arguably the greatest popular singer in the world today.
There was an air of homecoming about the concert, but I could have done without the twee marriage proposal between two audience members, personally arranged by Adele.
Despite this hokum, the show was beautifully produced, with marvellous visuals including images of thundering waves beamed on to the observatory walls as she sang Rolling In The Deep, then photographs of her own childhood during When We Were Young.
In the bruise-coloured dusk, she shared the secrets of her voyage of life in songs new and old. Feel My Love still has the power to make grown men cry, while her next single, I Drink Wine, shows that Adele is undiminished and unbowed after her recent difficulties.
Back in the rose garden, she talked to Oprah of her alcoholic father, her marriage breakdown, the dawning realisation that in life you have to be able to depend on yourself alone.
She was brutally honest about her relationship with her estranged father Mark Evans, revealing that he had never listened to any of her music until she played him songs from her new album, 30, shortly before he died in April this year. Then he went back and listened to all her previous albums — 19, 21, 25. ‘And his favourites were all my favourites,’ said Adele.
Stitched into a Schiaparelli gown embroidered with black crystals, Adele had Saturn pendant earrings, peerless maquillage and a glamorous updo
She told Oprah how his ‘withholding of love’ had fractured all her relationships with men since she began dating. And that with his death, the ‘wound’ that she had been trying to heal her whole life — ‘my dad’s absolute lack of presence’ — finally closed.
During the interview she was on her best behaviour and didn’t swear once, which was a miracle.
But to be honest with ya, as Adele would say, there was very little that seemed truly spontaneous in their manicured exchanges.
‘Didn’t your therapist say at one point that you had to sit down with the seven-year-old Adele?’ asked Oprah, something the singer alluded to in a recent interview with Vogue, in which she also revealed that meditation, sound baths and ‘a lot of therapy’ got her through a year of anxiety.
‘Which deep wounds from your past did you have to confront?’ asked Oprah briskly.
It was all very, very therapy-speak and sometimes very sickly-speak, too. Oprah would read out some Adele lyrics and then say to her: ‘Girl, you can write.’
This was the second time Oprah sat down in a garden to talk with a celebrity following her jaw-dropping chat with Meghan and Harry in which a string of claims were made
‘Thank you,’ said Adele politely, instead of saying of course I blimmin’ can, I’ve sold 90 million records, don’t patronise me gurl, I’m from Tottenham.
Then before you could say cheers dears, it was on to the booze. Adele said she had ‘stopped drinking because when you are sober you process your feelings much better. I used to keep the entire alcohol industry alive on my own, but it didn’t do me any good’.
This sobriety must be fairly recent, as she also told the November issue of Vogue that ‘lockdown turned me into a seven-nights-a- week drinker’ and that she would go on ‘emergency runs’ to the local shops for bottles of rosé wine and tomato ketchup.
But whatever Adele is doing or not doing, it seems to be working. She is in a good place, as everyone seemed to agree, especially her therapist. Her career arc is incredible, from BRIT School graduate to one of the biggest-selling recording artists on the planet, with each unflinching song laying bare her emotional life and what Oprah would call her ‘lived experience’ along the way.
The concert and the interview were to promote 30, which is already being called her ‘divorce album’ and is set to sell many, many millions more.
‘Go easy on me baby, I was still a child,’ she sings in her first big hit from 30. But is that true?
Some might argue, no Adele, you were a 30-year-old mother of one at the time, not a child at all. For those who still hope our Adele isn’t going to turn into another self-obsessed, whiny Californian, it may already be too late.
During their chat, she also spoke to Oprah of her ‘journey’ and of ‘loving myself’. Yet it cannot be overstated how much America absolutely loves Adele.
As the two-hour special unfolded on coast-to-coast TV, played out between adverts for credit cards and electric toothbrushes, her tale of triumph over tragedy and sobriety over intemperance could only endear her more.
Adele sings like an angel but never forgets her earthy roots. On stage and in conversation, she is folksy and forthright and so determinedly ordinary, it’s almost as if she is scared of her own natural majesty; she has to puncture her balloon of magnificence before anyone else does — and sometimes I wish she wouldn’t.
If there is one criticism to be made of Adele, it is that she can overdo the downhome dudeness. Even in all her grand silk gown glory in Griffith Park, she was drinking a mug of tea and coming over all lawks-a-daisy Eliza Doolittle between songs.
Yet what songs they were. That is why in the garden of good and evil, we must forgive her trespasses. For Adele’s songs encompass love, heartbreak, redemption and life lessons, all sourced from somewhere unfathomable within the rolling deep, delivered with a drenching, three-octave emotional punch. Hello from the other side? Whatever journey Adele is on, it is far from over.
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