A surprise proposal and all the other jaw-dropping moments from Adele's ‘One Night Only’ special

If you're not crying at Adele talking about her son and her dad... we just don't know what to say.
November 15, 2021 9:28 a.m. EST
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If there's one thing Adele knows how to do to perfection, it's put on a whopper of a show. Filmed at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, overlooking the Hollywood Hills and Hollywood sign during a violet and rose dusk, her One Night Only concert was, in a word, epic.

The Sunday night broadcast was filmed in advance and had a star-studded if random guestlist, including Seth Rogen, Gayle King, Melissa McCarthy, Ellen Degeneres, Lizzo (wearing that Midsommar dress from her Sarah Paulson TikTok), Gordon Ramsay, James Corden, Gabrielle Union, Leonardo Dicaprio, Childish Gambino, Selena Gomez, Tyler Perry, Aaron Paul, Molly Shannon, and bestie Drake.

The 15-time Grammy-winning icon, wearing an hourglass black gown and saturn earrings to match her saturn tattoos, performed a rousing and moving set of her greatest hits and selections from her upcoming album. She opened with "Hello" (of course), followed by new single "Easy On Me" (which she admitted she hadn't performed for an audience yet and was "s****ing" herself).

The concert was interspersed with footage from her daytime interview with Oprah Winfrey filmed in Oprah's rose garden and tea room (which we got to know very well from her Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview back in March).

Wearing a white bejewelled pantsuit for the occasion, Adele opened up about her anxiety, her search for happiness and stability after her divorce, the death of her father, dealing with alcoholism, dating superagent Rich Paul, and crafting her latest album, 30.

"I was writing my album while I was going through everything," she admitted off the top of the interview, before cracking a joke with her signature laugh, "I don't think I'm that deep in real life, haha!"

"There were moments where I was like, 'That might be a bit too private or a bit about myself to put out," she continued, before speaking about her embarrassment over admitting she couldn't make her marriage work, and how that pain funnelled into her music. 

"I take marriage very seriously. It seems like I don't now, you know? By getting married and divorced so quickly. I'm just embarrassed that I didn't make my marriage work," she admitted.

"I've been obsessed with the nuclear family because I never came from one. … I promised myself that when I had kids, I would stay together and I tried for a really long time. I was just so disappointed for my son and myself. I thought I was gonna be the one who stopped doing all those bloody patterns all the time. I think I'm divorcing myself. I'm lonely, I spend a lot of time on my own. I keep busy or call a friend to distract myself."

When Oprah mentioned that food is a coping mechanism she would turn to if put in the same situation, Adele replied, "I started drinking, that's one great way of really starting to get to know yourself," she admitted before noting that alcoholism, "took my dad from me."

She says she stopped drinking when she went through her divorce and started working out to keep herself centered.

"I do remember one of my friends, we were asking questions from this very bougie magazine, 'What's something that no one would ever know?' 'I'm really not happy,' I just said. 'I'm not living, I'm just plodding along.' I want to live and not just survive. When I admitted it to my own friends, that I'm not happy, they gasped. From there, I was like, 'What am I doing? What am i doing it for?'"

After stirring renditions of Oscar-winning song "Skyfall" and new track "I Drink Wine," she turned to "Someone Like You," which she prefaced on stage by noting that, "This is the first time I've sung it in public since everything went down."

Reader, there wasn't a person in the audience or at home watching without glassy eyes after that performance.

Then she had to knock us dead by performing "When We Were Young" with pictures from her personal life projected onto the observatory behind her, spanning her childhood to now. She also gave a shout out to her son Angelo in the audience, saying, "This is the first time my son has ever seen me perform. I'm not gonna cry; it's the absolute honour of my life, baby."

Angelo, whom she shares with ex-husband Simon Konecki, was a major focus of Adele's conversation with Oprah, too. Adele highlighted that she still deals with the pain of breaking up their family and her hope that the new album will answer some of his questions when he gets older.

"The whole album isn't about me; it's about him," she revealed after saying leaving her unhappy marriage was more of an act of love than staying together for her kid would have been. 

"I'm still not fully over it—by me choosing to dismantle my child's life for my own. I don't feel guilt but I feel somewhat selfish. I'm nearing my goal of finding my happiness. I was really ignoring myself for a long time. I knew that Angelo as an adult would be livid at me for doing that."

She also has nothing but kind words for her ex-husband, whom she praised endlessly while also acknowledging that, as much as she loves him, she's not "in love" with him. 

"Simon probably saved my life. He came at such a moment, that the stability that he and Angelo gave me, no one would have been able to give me. I would have gotten lost if they didn't. I could have gone down some dodgy paths without them. He came in and was stable, the most stable person I've ever had in my life, even now. I trust him with my life. Him and Angelo were angels."

It's also been a priority for her that Angelo, "sees that I still love his dad. We live across the street from him, we go away together sometimes. We chat without Angelo and we're still friends. I respect him more than anyone."

But what about the fact that her album is pretty much about her pain from their marriage? "We don't sit around and talk about it," she laughs. "He knows what kind of artist I am. I have to dig deep and tell my stories." 

As for Angelo—who is a Taylor Swift fan, by the way—her big hope for him is "to be a good and happy person." She added that one day he may or may not have a younger brother or sister. "I would like more children," Adele revealed, tempering it with, "It wouldn't be the end of the world if I don't."

Considering the pain of her marriage, one of the most poignant moments of the concert was when Adele brought fans Quentin and Ashley up on stage (the latter of whom was wearing an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones) so Quentin could surprise his partner of seven years with a giant, Adele-soundtracked proposal.

As the newly affianced couple sat next to Lizzo and Melissa McCarthy, Adele serenaded them with, "To Make You Feel My Love."

Back in the rose garden, Oprah, who over the decades has been very open about her body and relationship to her weight, asked Adele about her own very public journey and how it sparked debate amongst the body positivity community. Adele first and foremost wanted to set the record straight that her exercise regime changed solely to benefit her mental health during the dissolution of her marriage, and not because she wanted something as regressive as a "revenge body."

"It was about my anxiety," she stated. "I had the most terrifying anxiety attacks after I left my marriage. I couldn't have any control over my own body, but I was still very much there while my body was on another planet. I always worked out because of my bad back. I  started to notice how much I trusted my trainer when I was feeling lost, and also I didn't have anxiety when I was at the gym. I didn't have anything else to do. I had no plans. It gives me some discipline and contributes to me getting my mind right. It gave me real purpose."

When Oprah said some people felt like Adele had abandoned the body positive movement, Adele shut that down.

"My body has been objectified my entire career. I'm either hot or I'm not. I'm either too big or too small. I never admired someone because of their body. I was body positive then and I'm body positive now. it's not my job to validate how other people feel about their bodies. That's not my job. I'm trying to sort my own life out. My weight might fluctuate. I don't care if I put on weight, if I lose it."

Can we just take a moment to appreciate that and give it its due? 

Also, considering that she then admitted she can deadlift between 160-170lbs and still gets Chinese and McDonald's takeout, she is literally the queen of a balanced lifestyle. 

"I got a left hook that could kill you!" she quipped, explaining she also boxes now.

Before performing her new song "Hold On," followed by classic radio banger, "Rolling In The Deep," Adele admitted that writing the former was directly tied to keeping herself together during her divorce. 

"My friends would always say 'hold on' when I was feeling like the lyrics in the verse. Iit was just exhausting to keep going with it, the process of a divorce, being a single parent, not seeing your child every day, turning up for yourself every single day, still running a home and a business. I juggled those things. I felt like not doing it anymore. And also trying to move forward with intention. My feet hurt walking through all that concrete."

When Oprah pointed out that a common way people try to heal childhood wounds is by choosing partners in adulthood that give the love they lacked, Adele opened up about her absentee and alcoholic father. 

"My dad's absolute lack of presence," she revealed, is what she's trying to heal in adulthood. "When someone that you love so much doesn't love you the same way, you try to heal that void." 

"During the last two or three years of my life, my dad got really sick. It was interesting that happened after I already left my marriage. Back in April, when my dad died, when we had our peace together, I felt that huge gaping hole close. I had snapped in the press at him which definitely hurt his feelings... When I heard he was ill, I went to see him in Wales. I played for him, "To Be Loved." He was the reason I haven't fully accessed what it is to be fully loved by someone."

"When he died, it literally was like the wound closed up, and I've been so open." 

Throughout the entire interview, Adele had been frank and forthcoming, but at acknowledging the pain and tenacity of her inner child still hurting from her father, tears welled in her eyes. Then Adele, being Adele, snapped at Oprah for making her cry.

Luckily, happier topics were on the horizon, like her current beau, superagent Rich Paul, whom she says she met the old-fashioned way—in person!

"He's hilarious. He's so funny. and very smart. The easiness of it. Very smooth. He's making it easy on me. I'm blushing as well."

"This is the first time I've loved myself and been open to being loved by someone else... I don't treat love like a game anymore."

Right before she performed her last song of the night, aptly titled "Love is a Game," Adele expressed two things that she hopes to remember for herself going forward.

To "be a solid house that doesn't blow over in a storm."

And our personal fave:

"If you're not feeling everything, you're missing everything."

We have to say it: Adele did not take it easy on us Sunday night.

BEFORE YOU GO: Zendaya rules at the CFDA Awards

[video_embed id='2319653']BEFORE YOU GO: Zendaya rules at the CFDA Awards [/video_embed]

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