Adele

time 100 2016 Adele Adkins
Erik Madigan Heck for TIME

International treasure

Adele and I met at the Oscars in 2013. I remember sneaking backstage while she performed “Skyfall,” trying to squeeze a ball gown past a pile of ropes and cables just to get a little closer. See her from another angle as if to peek behind the Great Oz’s curtain. I had been a fan of hers since “Chasing Pavements” (saying “fan” about Adele always sounds like an understatement, doesn’t it?). Then when 21 came out, mine and billions of other lives were—not to sound dramatic—changed. Suddenly there were words to that before-indescribable pain, frustration, sadness, then revolution that all comes from a breakup. I felt understood, I felt stronger, and above all, I hadn’t sung in front of a mirror with a hairbrush since Destiny’s Child.

Then she goes and does something like 25. Growing up. Changing in some ways and being stuck forever in others. Being so young with the most successful career in the world. She says, “I wish I could live a little more, look up to the sky, not just the floor.” The way she is able to capture herself, and then in turn us, has turned her into a star that’s not a star we look at, but a giant star with its own gravity that we are drawn to. All of this about her lyrics, and I haven’t even gotten started on the voice—how could I? It’s once-in-a-lifetime. All this about her voice and I won’t have time to talk about her intelligence. Her 500-year-old wisdom. Her patience and kindness all wrapped up in the tough skin of a damn gangster.

She’s an extremely private person, so I will do my best to honor her privacy. But we all see her success. Her undeniable talent and beauty. But what you don’t see is what a wonderful mother she is. What a wonderful partner and friend she is. That she makes her son’s Halloween costumes. Adele is a gift, an international treasure, but she’s also sweet, funny, intelligent and beautiful. Bitch.

Lawrence is an Academy Award–winning actor

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