Who’s the Bloke Who Broke Adele’s Heart?

Her long-awaited new album still has us guessing.

who broke adele's heart?

Adele’s 2011 album 21, which sold 31 million copies worldwide and earned her six Grammys, was an emotionally charged exploration of heartbreak, loss and denial. But just who was the man who broke our diva’s heart and inspired her breakthrough songwriting? Four years after the album’s release, we still have no idea.

Now, Adele (or Ms. Adkins, if you’re nasty), has finally presented us with her follow-up masterpiece. In its first month of sales, 25 is already breaking billboard records and tearing us apart with its soulful lyrics and soaring vocals. The 11 new tracks are still drenched in pain and regret, moodiness and melancholy, but they’re also filled with a desire to let go and make amends.

In the haunting lead single, Hello, which is so good that it’s already been parodied in a hilarious Thanksgiving skit by SNLAdele croons, “Time heals all wounds, but I ain’t done much healing,” which leave us wondering if she’s truly over what she has been trying to get over, and if so, she’ll stay over it. And the new album contains other traces of that long-lost (but not necessarily forgotten) epic romance, including the song “Water Under the Bridge,” in which she begs for a second chance in a tough-to-pin-down relationship.

Is Adele truly over what she has been trying to get over, and if so, will she stay over it?

If Adele still hasn’t shaken her relationship demons, she’s at least trying to move on. The album also boasts more uplifting messages that reflect her personal growth and happiness with a stable new beau and her first child. In the pop ballad “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” she bids adieu to an old flame, while in the pared-down “All I Ask,” written by Bruno Mars, she beseeches an erratic lover to make their last night together count (“It matters how this ends,” is our favorite line). The emotions run the gamut from “Million Years Ago,” a climb-into-bed-and-pull-the-covers-over-your-head song of lost innocence, to “Sweetest Devotion,” a country-and-western inspired love song that’s more upbeat than anything we’ve ever heard from our diva.

By now, it’s clear that no matter what Adele is singing about, desire and longing is her schtick. And it works for us. Nobody does yearning better than Adele, and the only thing that’s more remarkable than her set of pipes is her ability to keep her ex’s identity secret for so long. Yes, she’s thrown us crumbs from time to time; she once said she wrote 21 over a three-month period at the start of 2010 after the end of a “rubbish relationship,” and another time she revealed that the guy “was a few years older me. He made me feel alive, and made me really passionate about food, wine, film, sociology, history and traveling. He opened my eyes to a lot of things.” But in general, the girl is admirably discreet.

During the so-called “rubbish relationship” period, Adele has been photographed with only one possible suitor, a musician named Slinky Sunbeam, but the singer has blogged that he definitely isn’t The One. “Whoever this source is, they’re talking out of their ass,” she wrote. “[Slinky] ain’t my type.”

Some say Adele dated her mystery man before or around 2009, while she was busy crafting and releasing her debut album, 19. And a few cynics claim the singer actually made up the whole relationship, a la Jane Austen. Whatever the case, we are happy Adele found solace (not to mention fame and fortune) after heartbreak, whether real or imagined. And no matter what sort of emotional tempests she throws our way, we say, bring it, Ms. A.

who broke adele's heart?

Adele holding her six Grammys in 2012.

who broke adele's heart?

Adele’s third studio album drops Nov. 20.