The devoted father-of-four – he and Heidi are also parents to sons Henry, 4, and Johan, 3, and daughter Lou, 2 months, tells The Mirror, “It’s only happened fairly recently. But it doesn’t make her any more or less my daughter. She always has been. All it means is that both Heidi and I wanted her to have the same last name as the rest of us. It was about Leni. I don’t want her to feel different because I know what that’s like, being a kind of stepson. And I don’t want that dynamic for my little girl.”
Seal also weighs in on Leni’s biological father Flavio Briatore, who has not been a part of the little girl’s life.
“Heidi handled everything,” he says of the adoption. “And from what I understand Flavio was a gentleman about the whole thing. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I’m not talking about in a professional level but just in the way that he has handled the situation, which, let’s face it, must have been really difficult. I don’t know if I would have been that adult about it. I certainly have nothing but good things to say about the way he’s been with us and he’s more than welcome to see Leni any time he wants to.”
Saying that he feels “incredibly lucky” to have the family and life that he does today, Seal, who grew up with “an abusive father and a dysfunctional family,” is quick to point out that he knows all too well how hard life can be.
“I have a job that gives me incredible happiness and satisfaction, and a lifestyle I aspired to as a kid. We can afford luxuries like sending our kids to good schools, which is something I didn’t have…. Also I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to put food on the table. But I don’t feel guilty about any of that – I’ve been on the other side of the tracks, I know what it’s like.
I was homeless at 17 and was sleeping in the Underground and in homeless shelters…. I was given up for adoption and lived with foster parents so I know what it’s like to have rejection.”
The Grammy-winner says that with four kids in the house, their family is now complete: “Four kids is enough, though. It was really emotional this time because we knew this was the last time.”