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A year and a half after The New York Times published a harrowing report detailing allegations that singer/songwriter Ryan Adams manipulated and harassed the aspiring female artists he championed, Adams has issued an apology.
In an essay published Friday in U.K.’s The Daily Mail and verified to USA TODAY by Adams’ attorney Andrew Brettler, Adams wrote that there were “no words to express how bad I feel about the ways I’ve mistreated people throughout my life and career.”
Seven women – including Adams’ ex-wife Mandy Moore and singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers – accused Adams of championing rising female artists and then exploiting them and stifling their ambitions, often for his own sexual gain.
Moore said she empathized with the women who have accused her former husband of exploiting and stifling their ambitions because she experienced it herself during their six-year marriage.
“Music was a point of control for him,” Moore, now 36, told the Times. “His controlling behavior essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time – my entire mid-to-late 20s.” They divorced in 2016.
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“All I can say is that I’m sorry. It’s that simple,” Adams, 45, wrote in the essay. “This period of isolation and reflection made me realize that I needed to make significant changes in my life. I’ve gotten past the point where I would be apologizing just for the sake of being let off the hook and I know full well that any apology from me probably won’t be accepted by those I’ve hurt.”
The musician broke his silence over the allegations last July, when he wrote in an Instagram post that the “truth matters” and he had “a lot to say.” Without confirming or denying the allegations, Adams wrote that he wanted to be “part of that healing.”
Nearly a year later, Adams said he has now “truly realized the harm that I’ve caused,” claimed full accountability for his actions and promised himself he would finally get “to the root of these issues and finally start to fix myself so I could be a better friend, a better partner, and a better man overall.”
He added: “Having truly realized the harm that I’ve caused, it wrecked me, and I’m still reeling from the ripples of devastating effects that my actions triggered. … There is no way to convince people that this time is truly different, but this is the albatross that I deserve to carry with me as a result of my actions.”
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Karen Elson, a singer/-songwriter who accused Adams of subjecting her to a “traumatizing experience” in since-deleted social media posts a day after the expose published, tweeted Friday that she believes in redemption “even for him,” but has not heard from Adams since 2018 “to apologize for his terrible behavior.”
She added: “In fact back then he called (me) a liar which added more pain and made me disillusioned with the entire music industry. I would like to hope he would contact women he has hurt via his representatives to apologize privately and give us the opportunity to speak our truth on all the ways his actions caused suffering and for him to listen and try to make amends. That said I hope he’s listening now.”
Moving forward, Adams wrote, his priorities are his sobriety and mental health.
“These, as I’m learning, go hand in hand,” he wrote. “But I will not bore anyone with stories of my demons or use them to excuse what I’ve done. I really want to express that I’ve internalized the importance of self-care and self-work. I’m really trying.”
He concluded: “I hope that the people I’ve hurt will heal. And I hope that they will find a way to forgive me.”
Contributing: Maria Puente
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