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The tables are turning for pop superstar Adele, who—despite keeping a low profile following her divorce from Simon Konecki, which was finalized in March 2021—appears to have found love stateside. The British singer was recently spotted laughing and cheering alongside sports agent Rich Paul at Game 5 of the NBA Finals, in which the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns.
Paul was apparently there alongside his client LeBron James to support friend Chris Paul, a player for the Suns. On a late-night podcast following the game’s conclusion, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst seemingly confirmed the relationship between Paul and the “Rolling in the Deep” singer.
“Rich Paul brings his girlfriend to the game to sit next to LeBron. His girlfriend is Adele,” Windhorst said. “This is the first time that they’ve come out in public together.”
Not much is known about the relationship nor its impetus, but it’s possible the two have been an item since as early as May 2021. In a profile of Paul for The New Yorker, interviewer Isaac Chotiner detailed the following exchange between the sports agent and Adam Mendelsohn, a friend and adviser to both Paul and James.
“She was over yesterday,” Paul said.
Mendelsohn clarified whom he meant, dropping the name of a major pop star. “Doing what?” he asked.
“Hanging out,” Paul replied.
“Why are you hanging out?” Mendelsohn asked.
“Why not?” Paul replied.
I wasn’t entirely sure whether this exchange was for my benefit.
Paul said, “I’m not dating, I’m single. Put that in the story.” He laughed for the first time all day.
The “major pop star” in question is almost undoubtedly Adele, and it appears the two have made their relationship official in the months since the article’s release. And while Adele has, of course, received the majority of the press since the couple was spotted at Game 5, Paul has a storied career of his own. Here’s what we know about the agent’s background.
He’s one of the biggest agents in sports.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, in the neighborhood of Glenville, 40-year-old Paul became a sports agent after meeting a teenaged James at the Akron-Canton Airport in 2002. Paul was wearing a Houston Oilers jersey that caught James’s eye, and the two of them stayed in touch, eventually becoming such close confidantes that Paul went to work at Creative Artists Agency, under James’s then-agent Leon Rose. Developing a strong business savvy, he was eventually able to strike out on his own.
Today, Paul has his own agency—Klutch Sports Group, which he started in 2012—and is one of the most well-known agents in sports. His clients include James, Philadelphia 76ers player Ben Simmons, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, and Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green, among a slew of others.
Windhorst—the podcaster and ESPN reporter who revealed Adele was Paul’s “girlfriend”—has written several books about James and has developed a close relationship with Paul as well. He told the New Yorker‘s Chotiner, “The burden that Rich faces is that people question his legitimacy. They want to delegitimize him because of his race, because of his lack of education, because he used to sell jerseys out of the trunk of his car. If that’s the best they can do, they have to do a lot better.”
He’s writing a memoir.
In March 2021, around the time Paul supposedly started “hanging out” with Adele, The Hollywood Reporter announced that the sports agent would release a memoir titled Lucky Me. The book is a coming-of-age story to be published by Roc Lit 101, the publishing division of Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation.
The memoir will apparently follow Paul’s upbringing in Cleveland, his relationship with his family, as well as his rise to the top of his field in sports.
“Lucky Me is more than my story,” Paul revealed in a press statement. “Lucky Me is the story of every young Black man who grew up like me. I want to use my story to uplift and inspire those who lived this and educate those who didn’t. I cannot tell you what it means to partner with my friend and mentor Jay-Z on this project. Lucky Me was the name of the book before I even spoke with Jay because his music was my life’s soundtrack.”
Paul has only been spotted in public with Adele once.
Adele has not posted any photos with the agent, who has three children but has never been married, to any of her social accounts, nor has Paul to his. The only images of the couple together were taken during the NBA Finals, though they certainly looked at ease court-side.
An eyewitness at the game told Entertainment Tonight, “They had their eyes on each other almost as much as they did on the game!”
Page Six confirmed Adele and Paul’s relationship shortly after Windhorst sparked the rumor.
It took just days for media outlets to confirm the news that Windhorst broke: Adele and Paul truly are a couple. Page Six was told by a source that “they are [definitely] dating,” on July 20. Details about what their relationship is like or how they met remain private at this point.
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