Adele has said the public reaction to her postponing her Las Vegas shows was “brutal” and that she was a “shell of a person” in the following months.
The multi-award-winning singer, 34, was due to perform a series of shows from January to April this year at Caesars Palace but they were scrapped at short notice.
She shared a tearful video message on social media, saying delivery delays and coronavirus had meant the show would not be ready on time.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Adele said she had “definitely felt everyone’s disappointment” following the announcement and had been “devastated”.
She told host Lauren Laverne: “I was frightened about letting them down and I thought I could pull it together and make it work, and I couldn’t.
“I stand by that decision. I don’t think any other artist would have done what I did, and I think that is why it was such a massive, massive story.
“It was like, ‘I don’t care’ and things like that. You can’t buy me. You can’t buy me for nothing. I’m not going to just do a show because I have to or because people are going to be let down or because we are going to lose loads of money. I’m like, ‘The show is not good enough’.
“Of course I could be someone on TikTok or Instagram Live every day being like, ‘I am working on it’. Of course I am working on it! I’m not going to update you if I haven’t got anything to update you with, because that just leads to more disappointment.
“Maybe that’s not been well balanced either … Maybe my silence has been deadly. I don’t know.
“But it was horrible and the reaction was brutal. I was a shell of a person for a couple of months.”
Asked how she dealt with the fall-out from the announcement, she said: “I just had to wait it out and just grieve it. Just grieve the shows and get over the guilt. But it was brutal.”
Adele features on Desert Island Discs the same weekend she plays two sold-out concerts as part of the British Summer Time festival in London’s Hyde Park.
She also addressed her relationship with her alcoholic father, Mark Evans, who she was estranged from but reconciled with shortly before his death from cancer in 2021.
She said: “When I found out that he was ill a few years ago, I got the call and I drove straight there. It was hard but it was definitely one of the biggest moments of my life in a good way, when I went to go and see him.
“I made the peace with him when I found out he was sick. And we really got on, which was amazing, but also sad because he was really bloody funny.
“He is really funny and I don’t remember that when I was little. But it was really nice. We laughed and we gossiped and we cried. It was great for both of us.”
Adele also said she understood why the press had been so interested in her recent dramatic weight loss, as she did not share her journey publicly “like everyone else does”.
She added: “I felt terrible for some people that felt like other people’s comments meant that they weren’t looking good or that they weren’t beautiful.
“Some of the ones I saw were young, they were like 15. And there were some other people who felt very betrayed by me, being like ‘Oh she’s given into the pressure of it’.
“Which didn’t really bother me because you aren’t holding my hand at night at 4am when I’m crying my heart out with anxiety and needing a distraction.”
Asked about what she wants from life, the singer, who already shares son Angelo with her ex-husband Simon Konecki, said she wants more children with her boyfriend, American sports agent Rich Paul.
She said: “I definitely would like a couple more kids. It would be wonderful if we can. If not, I have got Angelo. I just want to be happy.”
Adele’s musical choices included Dreams by Gabrielle, He Needs Me by Nina Simone and Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child.
She chose The Sun And Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur as her book, and a self-inflating bed for her luxury item.
Desert Island Discs will be on Radio 4 at 11.15am on Sunday and on BBC Sounds.
– Adele’s musical choices in full:
Roam by The B-52s
Dreams by Gabrielle
You Might Need Somebody by Shola Ama
He Needs Me by Nina Simone
Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child
I’d Rather Go Blind by Etta James
Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
For All We Know by Donny Hathaway