Adele, the queen of broken hearts who has built a career on weepy ballads, is a happy gal these days. And the acerbic British singer-songwriter seems to credit some of her good fortune to her boyfriend, sports agent Rich Paul.
The “Easy on Me” balladeer has praised the Klutch Sports Group founder, 39, and has been surprisingly open with journalists about their relationship in a number of interviews leading up to her new album, “30,” which will be released Friday.
On Sunday, the powerhouse singer discussed Paul with Oprah Winfrey during her CBS special, “Adele One Night Only,” gushing over her new beau, his sense of humor and wits. Paul also posted a few behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram showcasing moments from the prerecorded sit-down interview.
“He’s just hilarious,” she told Winfrey. “Oh, he’s so funny, he’s hilarious, yeah. And very smart. You know, he’s very, very smart. It’s quite incredible watching him do what he does.”
The 33-year-old described the “easiness” of their relationship and noted that it’s the first time she’s “loved myself and been open to loving and being loved by someone else.”
“It’s just timing,” she added. “But it’d be interesting to see what my reaction is like in general to anything that hurts me now that I feel so secure in myself, and I’m talking outside of romance as well.”
She and Paul, who Forbes has deemed “one of the sports world’s most polarizing figures” and listed him among the world’s top 10 most powerful list in 2020, raised eyebrows when they stepped out together in July. That’s when they were photographed attending Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks. They showed up with one of Paul’s clients and longtime friend, Lakers star LeBron James, and have taken in a few more games ever since.
Adele and Paul’s joint appearance this summer came two months after the Cleveland native teased in a New Yorker profile that he had been “hanging out” with a major pop star, who wasn’t named in the piece. Though he insisted in the article that he wasn’t dating and was single.
However, the 15-time Grammy winner has been more forthcoming while promoting her “comeback” album — her first in six years — that emotionally dissects her life during and after her divorce from Simon Konecki and her self-proclaimed “Saturn return.” Adele has said she was devastated and embarrassed by her divorce, quit drinking and started working out to help her feel “centered.”
Speaking to Winfrey, Adele credited Konecki for being a positive influence while they were married too.
“I think Simon probably saved my life, to be honest. He came at such a moment, whereas the stability that him and [our son] Angelo have given me, no one else would ever have been able to give me, like, especially at the time in my life. I was so young, and I just think I got a bit lost in all of it.”
“He came in and was stable,” she said. “The most stable person I’ve ever had in my life up until that point, even now I trust him with my life.”
Adele previously said that showing off her relationship with Paul at the high-profile basketball game wasn’t intentional.
“I didn’t mean to go public with it. I just wanted to go to the game. I just love being around him. I just love it,” the British star told Vogue, which reported that the topic did come up on the way to the game. “He was like, ‘What are people going to say?’ And I was like, ‘That you signed me. As an athlete. You’re my agent.’ And he was like, ‘OK, cool.’”
The couple made waves on social media and were outed by celebrity gossip purveyor Deuxmoi. But the two remained mum — until September when they went Instagram official with a shared portrait that Adele captioned with a heart emoji. But she didn’t verbally confirm the relationship until her Vogue interview was published in early October.
Adele said that she and Paul were friends for a while but didn’t start a relationship until the beginning of 2021.
“He was always there, I just didn’t see him,” she said.
The two met on the dance floor of a mutual friend’s birthday party a couple years prior while she was a “bit drunk” and solicited him to “sign” her. (Klutch, which he launched in 2012, is part of United Talent Agency and represents James, Ben Simmons, John Wall and Anthony Davis, as well as other NBA players.)
“He’s just so f— funny. … He was dancing. All the other guys were just sitting around. He was just dancing away,” she told Vogue.
She elaborated in Rolling Stone recently, saying that she assumes that they danced to a song by her close friend Drake — mostly because the DJ was playing too much Drake that night.
Not long after that, news of their pairing broke before Adele was even able to tell the people in her life about Paul.
“I didn’t really tell many of my friends at the beginning because I wanted to keep it to myself,” she told Rolling Stone.
The Oscar winner said she reconnected with Paul in the spring, around the time her estranged father was dying, and has introduced him to her 9-year-old son, Angelo. Paul also has three kids but has never been married, according to the New Yorker.
The singer said she feels safe with Paul and doesn’t have to second-guess around him. In fact, she described the romance as the most “incredible, openhearted, and easiest” relationship she’s ever been in.
“I don’t feel anxious or nervous or frazzled. It’s quite the opposite. It’s wild,” she told Vogue. “I’m a 33-year-old divorced mother of a son, who’s actually in charge. The last thing I need is someone who doesn’t know where they’re at, or what they want. I know what I want. And I really know what I don’t want.”
And all we want is another album about it.