“I know I let you down, but I never stopped loving you.”
Those are the heartbreaking words of Mark Evans, the estranged father of superstar singer and six-time Grammy nominee ADELE, who recently made pop music history by topping three of the “Billboard” charts simultaneously.
In an exclusive ENQUIRER interview, Mark, 48, admitted that he broke his daughter’s heart by refusing to see her during a three-year battle with booze.
“If I could do it all over again, believe me I would,” Mark told The ENQUIRER, fighting back tears. “But even during all that time, Adele was never far from my heart. I’m the proudest dad in the world.”
The 23-year-old songstress, whose album “21” sold 5 million copies in the U.S, and has spent more weeks on top of the “Billboard” 200 than any other album since the “Titanic” soundtrack in 1998 – recently told “Rolling Stone” magazine that she “never knew” her dad, a claim he vehemently denies.
Mark says he lost touch with the “Someone Like You” singer when she was a teen – and that he had wanted to marry Adele’s mom, Penny Adkins, but she refused his multiple proposals.
He met Penny when she was an art student, and within a year she became pregnant. “It wasn’t planned, but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, so I asked her to marry me that day,” recalled Mark. “She told me we were too young.”
Mark said he proposed again and again, but each time his girlfriend turned him down.
After Adele was born, “I’d lie on the sofa all night cradling her in my arms and listening to my favorite music – Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone,” he said. “I’m certain that is what shaped Adele’s music.”
Adele’s parents split up when she was just 3, but Mark says he remained a key figure in his daughter’s life and that he saw her regularly.
“Penny and Adele would come and spend weekends with us at my parents’ house. They’d come for weeks at a time in the summer holidays. They were great times for all of us.
“I remember the summer after her fourth birthday, when she came to stay, she was carrying this little acoustic guitar she’d picked up in a charity shop.
“She said she was teaching herself how to play it by listening to the old blues songs we used to listen to on my old record player, then trying to make the same noise. I have to say, she was pretty good.
“Within a couple of years, she’d started singing along and I remember thinking when she was 7, ‘My God, Adele’s really got it. She’s going to be a huge star one day.’”
But life took an unexpected turn when Mark lost his father and his best friend, then learned that his girlfriend was cheating – all within a short period of time.
“I began drinking heavily,” he admitted. “I lost touch with my daughter… and I’ll never forgive myself for that.”
Mark says all he wants now is forgiveness from Adele, who beat out the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga for “Billboard’s” Top Artist of the Year.
“I’ve cried a bucket load of tears for the years we lost,” he added. “Adele, I’m sorry.”