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Adele is already being praised for normalizing the emotional turmoil that comes with a divorce after releasing her single "Easy on Me." But ahead of her latest album's release, the singer is opening up about the reality of what she went through after separating from her ex-husband and sharing the news with the world.
"It made me really sad," she told Rolling Stone of the separation. "Then having so many people that I don’t know know that I didn’t make that work ... it f***ing devastated me. I was embarrassed. No one made me feel embarrassed, but you feel like you didn’t do a good job."
Although Adele's years long relationship with Simon Konecki and their son Angelo had been kept relatively private, fans assumed they could expect some new music from her as a result of the separation. The excitement for that was a difficult reaction for her to grasp.
"During something like that, that kind of significant thing to happen in life, your mind sort of goes to those places: 'Why don’t they like me? Why would they write that if they’ve followed me for 10 years?'" she explained. "But in reality, that’s not their responsibility. In reality, their responsibility as a fan is to want a good record and to hope I deliver. So I took it with a pinch of salt, and it was fine."
The pressure from the public didn't make the process any less difficult as Adele was already struggling with a host of realizations that came from the breakup. "I didn’t really know myself," she said. "I thought I did. I don’t know if it was because of my Saturn return or if it was because I was well and truly sort of heading into my thirties, but I just didn’t like who I was."
While she remained out of the spotlight, she was engulfed in the process of healing, which she said was "really f***ing up-and-down" recalling times when she felt hopeful as she was celebrating her 31st birthday. "It was the first time I felt I’d had a really nice evening and I was OK being in the house and going to bed on my own. I was not excited, but I was looking forward to the next day," she said. The next day, however, she stayed in bed.
Eventually, she turned to new methods and a new way of life to gain control over her mental health. Exercise became one of those avenues.
"Anything that could soothe my anxiety, I threw myself in headfirst," she said. "If I can transform my strength and my body like this, surely I can do it to my emotions and to my brain and to my inner well-being. That was what drove me. It just coincided with all of the emotional work that I was doing with myself as a visual for it, basically."
She also turned to her son for a sense of reassurance during a difficult time, sharing her feelings with him during bedtime conversations that she began to record. "It was unbearable," she said of her anxiety at the time, "and so if I started getting anxious about something I might or might not have said, I could just listen back to this and be like, 'OK, I’m fine.'"
Some of those recordings have even been included in the album in a song title "My Little Love," which is dedicated to the 9-year-old. "He needs to know everyone goes through it," she explained of her willingness to share her emotions with Angelo.
When it came to opening up to other people in her life, and even entertaining the idea of putting herself back out there to date, that felt impossible. "I’d been so sad and reclusive," she shared, noting that her fame added to her apprehension of showing up to events for friends. "I took it to an incredibly isolating level."
Luckily, as she releases the album 30 into the world, Adele is in a new relationship with sports agent Rich Paul. She's even worked to better the relationship that she has with her self after addressing issues from her past. "I think I’ve never been fully in any of my relationships," she said. "I always had this fear from a really young age that you’re going to leave me anyway, so I’m going to leave or I’m not going to invest myself in anything."
Dealing with the passing of her father also played a pivotal part in that healing and the process of moving forward.
"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," she explained. "I’m not frightened of loneliness anymore."