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The hard-up mum of millionaire singer Seal is pleading with him to end their bitter 16-year feud.

Adebisi Samuel hasn't seen or spoken to her famous son since 1980 when he stormed out of her house after a row.

"I still love him and I want him back," says Adebisi, who is now in failing health and lives in a run-down apartment in a rough area of the Nigerian capital, Lagos.

Seal - who has won a clutch of Brit Awards and three Grammys - is estimated to be worth more than pounds 10 million and lives in a pounds 5 million mansion in the exclusive Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles.

In an interview with the African magazine, Ovation, Adebisi said: "I'm very sick. People buy me medicine and some give me money, but at times I even beg.

"My daughter Lola helps a great deal. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be in this house - I'd be living under a bridge."

Their feud dates back to Seal's confused and unsettled childhood.

He was born Olusegun Adeola Akarbi Samuel on February 19, 1963, in Paddington General Hospital, West London. He became an overnight pop sensation in 1990 with the No. 1 hit, Killer, but the preceding years were tough.

His mum split from dad Francis when Seal was three. Over the next 11 years he would be uprooted four times.

First, he moved in with his older sister, Lola, his dad and his dad's girlfriend, Joyce, a hospital matron.

But their West London flat was overcrowded as Joyce had four children of her own, so Seal was moved to foster parents in Romford, Essex.

One day, out of the blue, Adebisi turned up and took her son away to live with her and her boyfriend in Brixton, South London.

Then Adebisi fell ill and returned to her native Nigeria. Seal, now a confused 14-year-old, went back to his father.

But life was harsh. Francis Samuel ruled with a rod of iron and Seal was often beaten by teachers at Brondesbury and Kilburn Comprehensive.

They thought he was playing truant, but he was looking after his step- brothers. In 1980, Francis died of kidney failure. Seal flew to Nigeria to scatter his father's ashes and ended up staying with his mother and sister Lola.

But he didn't settle well in Lagos and lived mainly with relatives.

Having had more than his fair share of misery, he was driven by a desire to succeed. He decided to return to London, saying to Lola: "Look at me now. One day I'll be a star".

But what happened next would lead to Seal's lasting rejection of his mother - his British passport disappeared. Seal blamed his mum, claiming she was trying to trap him in Nigeria.

But Adebisi believes Seal still cares for her. She told Ovation: "He wrote a letter to me four years ago so he must still care.

"He once told me that I'm the best mother in the world. He promised to take good care of me when he grew up. That he would buy me a car and build me a house. Even if he doesn't want to do these things, I still want to see my beloved son.

"I'm so proud of him. Walking in the street, I get stopped by people congratulating me on the awards he has won."

Seal's sister Lola, 37, who owns a string of boutiques in Lagos, said: "He could not forgive our mother for neglecting him. He would say, 'You don't know what I've been through'. But I told him we had all been through a lot. We would love to meet him again. We love him and care for him.

"There is definitely a vacuum in our life. He's my only brother and it pains me that we're not together."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bendoris, Matt
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 1996
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