Singer was desperate to expand her Body Shaker frozen yoghurt brand, when founder came up with an idea for a drink mixer
At first glance, it is hard to imagine that the matchmaking start of a singer’s love story is more unlikely than that of Strictly Come Dancing’s evergreen Shirley Ballas.
Adele has been dating Rich Paul, one of the UK’s top restaurateurs, for nine months. But an event started just over four years ago in the gloomy City offices of their then-explicitly heterosexual business adviser revealed that the pair were destined to embark on a lifelong romance.
Early Wednesday morning, Paul texted a friend of the singer to invite him to lunch with Adele’s then-business mentor in a private office in the City.
Almost an hour later, just before the meeting, Paul texted to point out that he had something “hot” for Adele’s partner, Simon Konecki.
His text said: “Someone had some fine food for her this morning as a surprise, so she has come down to say hello to me and Adele. So very sweet.”
A couple of hours later, Paul sent a similar text: “At the office just now she made me a video about how much she loves Slim Dip.”
There were no indications from Paul’s friends at the time that Adele and Paul were going out. But they soon started getting private emails from the business adviser asking when the couple planned to have a proper meeting in person.
Paul suggested the pair should meet on a Saturday night at M & I restaurant in Mayfair. The date was timed to be “nice and late”.
Their weekend event attracted the eye of a neighbour called Justin Leperett, who noticed that Paul had a distinctive hairdo and sent an email suggesting the couple should try and be their “own ambassadors”.
The two went for dinner on the Friday night, an event captured on Paul’s cellphone. The next day, Leperett sent the duo another invite: “If you would like to come down to our Sunday lunch in the summer, this is a good time to come.”
At a barbecue on the Sunday, Paul, 49, asked Leperett to attend lunch with him, Adele and Simon, a family friend of five years. He was surprised by a text from the Fat Duck head chef requesting a change of venue, but said he and Justin would be happy to travel from Weston-super-Mare.
It is unclear who Adele chose to bring with her, but the house party quickly disintegrated. Paul sent a text introducing Adele and Simon, who was born in South Africa, to Leperett’s wife, Helena, a highly regarded hedge fund trader, and they could later meet over dinner.
Business adviser Sheila Bowker – who organised their weekend rendezvous – now runs a similar office in the City. A row over who was invited to the party, after a photographer and former bouncer were asked to leave, led to an explanation of Rich Paul’s meteoric rise from a part-time entrepreneur in a Jamaican bar and an ex-banker who introduced Jamaica’s late reggae star Gregory Isaacs.
There had been a personal connection that led to Paul being introduced to Adele. “Adele’s PR called me and said he had gone to visit her in Notting Hill with his cousin … I think he managed to impress Adele,” Bowker said.
As Paul’s fledgling company, Body Shaker, was floated on the Alternative Investment Market, the singer opened up the company’s now not-for-profit company body, Stylewave, to him.
And at the beginning of this year, Paul, through the Summer Solstice Group, launched a new luxury food and drink brand called Les Faux Bourgeois, a low-cost frozen yoghurt empire inspired by Adele.
On Valentine’s Day, Paul sent Adele a nude picture, after one of her fans told him she was still in love with him.
Paul’s boss has now travelled back to meet Adele, and is preparing a TV documentary to follow the couple’s lives together.