Ryan Adams, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer, offered to help young women musicians whom he pursued sexually, then twisted their relationships to harassment or abuse, the New York Times reported.
The Times on Wednesday published accounts of seven women, including a one-time aspiring teenage bass player, rising star Phoebe Bridgers, and Mandy Moore — the singer and actor who was married to Adams for seven years. Though the women have little in common, they told the Times similar stories about Adams’ promises, insistence on control, and retaliation.
Adams, 44, responded on Twitter, apologizing to anyone he had hurt. He also said the Times story was inaccurate.
“I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly,” he wrote. “But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false.”
According to the Times, Adams began exchanging messages online with a fan and bass player identified as Ava when she was 14. They exchanged thousands of texts, reviewed by the newspaper, which by the time she was 15 and 16 included explicit sexual content.
Adams often asked about her age, and she sometimes said she was 18 in response. He asked her to prove it with an ID, but she never did, the Times reported. Adams asked her to keep their relationship secret, it reported.
“If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley [sic] lol,” he wrote, according to the Times.
Adams denied having sexual contact with anyone underage.
“I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period,” he said, adding that he was saddened people “believe” he had caused them pain.
“As someone who has always tried to spread joy through my music and my life, hearing that some people believe I caused them pain saddens me greatly. I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing.”
Bridgers told the Times that Adams invited her to his Pax-Am record label’s studio in 2014 when she was 20, then soon after discussed putting out a record of her music. As they discussed work, he began to flirt with her and they started a relationship — within weeks Adams was discussing marriage, then sending obsessive and emotionally abusive texts, the Times reported.
When she broke up with Adams, he delayed the release of her music and took back an offer for her to open for him on tour, she told the Times. Three years later, she hesitantly accepted a new offer to open for him on several dates.
“Then, the first day, he asked me to bring him something in his hotel room,” she told the Times. “I came upstairs and he was completely nude.”
Moore was 23 when she met Adams in 2007, and by 2009 when they were married, she had completed five pop albums. Adams, whose reputation in the music industry offered authenticity and credibility, offered to work with her, then effectively took over her career, the Times reported.
Moore did not release more music, and she told the Times she considered Adams to be psychologically abusive: They wrote songs together, but Adams didn’t record them. He’d book studio time with her, then replace her with other women, she said.
“He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument,’” she 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,” she added.
Their divorce was finalized in 2016, and Moore went on to remarry and is now staring in the hit TV show This Is Us.
She’s also ready to sing again, she said.
“I want to make music,” she told the Times. “I’m not going to let Ryan stop me.”