Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams has written a lengthy apology for his past behaviour, a year after he faced allegations of sexual misconduct.
“There are no words to express how bad I feel about the ways I’ve mistreated people through my life and career,” the musician said in open letter.
“All I can say is that I’m sorry.”
Last year, seven women told the New York Times that Adams had offered to help them with their careers before things became sexual.
One of them, identified only as “Ava”, showed reporters more than 3,000 explicit texts she said she exchanged with the star when she was 15 and 16.
The story also contained accusations of psychological abuse from the musician’s former wife, Mandy Moore, who told the paper: “Music was a point of control for him.”
Adams’ initial response was to threaten legal action, in a tweet that said the newspaper was “going down”.
He quickly deleted that message and apologised to anyone he had hurt, “however unintentionally”; while his lawyer said Adams “unequivocally” denied exchanging inappropriate messages with someone he knew to be underage.
Adams said his new apology was prompted by an extended “period of isolation and reflection” during lockdown.
“I’ve gotten past the point where I would be apologising 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,” he wrote, in a letter published by the Daily Mail.
“I get that and I also understand that there’s no going back.”
He acknowledged that many people would view his statement as “the same empty apology” he’d used in the past but added, “this time it’s different”.
“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.
“No amount of growth will ever take away the suffering I had caused,” he continued. “I will never be off the hook and I am fully accountable for my harmful behaviour, and will be for my actions moving forward.”
Adams also said he was trying to give up alcohol.
“In my effort to be a better man, I have fought to get sober, but this time I’m doing it with professional help,” he wrote.
“Sobriety is a priority in my life, and so is my mental health. These, as I’m learning, go hand in hand.”
“I hope that the people I’ve hurt will heal,” he concluded. “And I hope that they will find a way to forgive me.”
However, Mandy Moore said she was surprised by Adams’ public apology, because she had never received one in person.
“It’s challenging because I feel like in many ways I’ve said all I want to say about him and that situation, but I find it curious that someone would make a public apology but not do it privately,” she told NBC’s Today programme.
“I am speaking for myself, but I have not heard from him, and I’m not looking for an apology necessarily, but I do find it curious that someone would do an interview about it without actually making amends privately.”
Her comments were echoed by Courtney Jaye, who appeared in the New York Times story last year, and model / actress Karen Elson, who subsequently described a “traumatising experience” with Adams.
In a series of tweets, Elson said that while she “believe[s] in redemption and amends even for him,” Adams “has not reached out to me since 2018 to apologise for his terrible behaviour.”
“In fact back then he called me a liar which added more pain and made me disillusioned with the entire music industry,” she added.
“I would like to hope he would contact women he has hurt via his representatives to apologise 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.”
A prolific and mercurial musician, Adams received multiple Grammy nominations for his second album Gold, and reached the UK Top 10 with the records Ashes & Fire, Prisoner and the self-titled Ryan Adams.
He has worked with rock legends including Willie Nelson and Elton John, who dubbed him the “fabulous one”, and famously covered Taylor Swift’s album 1989 in full, putting a country-Americana twist on her big pop statement.
After the allegations against him surfaced last year, Blue Note cancelled the release of Adams’ 18th album Big Colors. He has not released any new music since.