Ryan Adams, 44, has been active in the music industry for nearly three decades. On Wednesday, the New York Times published the accounts of seven women, including one who was underage at the time, alleging sexual misconduct and manipulative behavior by the singer-songwriter.
About an hour after the story’s publication, Adams took to Twitter to respond. “I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes,” he tweeted. “To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly.”
He continued: “But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period.”
Adams has found the most success in a solo career that began in 2000. He has released 16 albums and earned several Grammy nominations, contributing to a position of stature that allowed him to champion other artists. The women interviewed by the Times — including his ex-wife, singer and actress Mandy Moore, and singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers — said this “rock-star patronage” drew attention away from his manipulative behavior.
The allegations involve Adams using his industry clout to pressure the women into uncomfortable situations. A woman referred to in the article as Ava, who corresponded with Adams on social media, said he used to send her explicit messages when she was underage. “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol,” he allegedly wrote to her in November 2014, when she was 16. Adams’s lawyer told the Times that his client couldn’t recall speaking to any fans or aspiring musicians online about anything other than music and that “if, in fact, this woman was underage, Mr. Adams was unaware.”
Bridgers was 20 when she visited Adams’s studio in fall 2014, where she said he gave her an expensive guitar and began to send her flirty texts. Their short-lived relationship became emotionally abusive when he frequently demanded to know where she was and threatened suicide if she didn’t respond to his texts quickly, she said. Bridgers broke off the relationship and seems to refer to it in her song “Motion Sickness.”
“And why do you sing with an English accent? I guess it’s too late to change it now,” she sings, later adding: “You said when you met me you were bored. And you, you were in a band when I was born.”
Moore, who now stars on the hit NBC series “This Is Us,” met Adams in 2007, when she was most known for her teen-pop music and roles in movies such as “The Princess Diaries” and “Chasing Liberty.” They married in 2009, and she split with her music manager the next year to pursue a professional relationship with Adams as well. She told the Times that he discouraged her from working with others and, in addition to other emotionally abusive behavior, would say that she wasn’t a real musician because “you don’t know how to play an instrument.”
“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,” said Moore, who divorced Adams in 2016. Adams’s lawyer also disputed Moore’s account, calling it “completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship.”