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Seal Opens Up About Decision to Adopt Leni

12/14/2009 at 06:00 PM ET
Splash News Online

It’s official! In a new interview with the UK’s Mirror, Seal says that his adoption of daughter Leni, 5 ½, is complete — but the 46-year-old singer is quick to point out that not much has changed in the home he shares with wife Heidi Klum.

“It doesn’t make [Leni] any more or less my daughter,” he notes. “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.”

Leni’s biological father Flavio Briatore “was a gentleman about the whole thing,” according to Seal, who adds, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”

Praising the Italian businessman for the way he handled a “really difficult” situation, Seal admits he doubts he could have “been that adult about it” had the roles been reversed.

“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.”

Life with his family of six — together, Heidi and Seal are also parents to Henry, 4, Johan, 3, and Lou Sulola, 9 weeks — is “not all a bed of roses,” Seal says, but “in the grand scheme of things, it is the perfect life.” The couple consider themselves lucky to a point, but also feel they’ve earned all that they’ve achieved.

“The harder you work … and visualize something, the luckier you get,” he notes. “The luck comes in the fact that Heidi and I have healthy children and we are relatively healthy, too.”

When they learned they were expecting their fourth child, Seal admits he was nervous. “I found myself thinking before Lou was born, ‘We’ve got three kids, how on earth am I going to find any more love to give another kid?’” he says.

Whatever doubts he might have been feeling dissipated quickly, however.

“Lou turned up and the first time I held her she looked up at me with this frown, which she’s definitely got from me, and I fell in love at that point…It was really emotional this time because we knew this was the last time [but] four kids is enough.”

As for Heidi’s body-after-baby, Seal says that there is no closely guarded supermodel secret for the postpartum slim down. “A lot of it is genetics,” he notes. “The other thing is that my wife is one of the most balanced eaters I know.”

Heidi eats “loads of greens and vegetables,” and when she splurges on something like chocolate or fast food, she “just won’t eat as much of it as I will,” Seal says. “She’s very disciplined like that.” He adds,

“And it’s not that she’s worked out like a fiend to get back in shape either. I find it really unattractive, women who do that. Heidi isn’t a gym buff. She’s like her mum who’s 65 and is more active than I am. I have no problem putting my feet up and watching football but my mother-in-law is always doing stuff. Heidi’s the same.”

Source: Mirror

Thanks to CBB readers Lynn and Ariel.

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Showing 82 comments

Lynn on

Seal is an amazing man. I’m so happy he adopted Leni. I love the fact that she’s now Leni Samuel!

I don’t really like Flavio all that much, but I’m glad he let the adoption go through. That was nice of him.

I♥CBB on

I am soooo happy for the Samuel family!!! It’s wonderful that he was able to offically adopt Leni and give her his last name. However, I’m a little sad for her biological father. I mean while I commend him for being a better man and realizing that Leni is with her family, he has just given up rights to his first child. I’m intrested to see what other people on this board have to say. I’m glad that Seal is now willing to let Flavio see his daughter but the situation has to be a little bittersweet. I wish them all the best with everything! They are such a wonderful family. God-Bless them.

Mari on

That Seal is a class act.

skipsie on

i really love seal.
he is probably the worlds most amazing dad.

Jessicad on

He is a true gentleman, congrats to them on making it official!

Erin on

I hate the phrase “Be a man” (we never hear “Be a woman”!). But reading this I thought – Seal is a man, in every great sense of the word. It’s really about being a grown-up, and to me and Seal personifies that.

The Writer on

I adore Seal. Flavio clearly had no interest in being Leni’s father, so it’s wonderful that she now has one. I love that she now has the same last name as her siblings, too.

Melanie on

I <3 CBB,
I do feel for Flavio as well…but to an extent. Now of course this is all "rumor" and what the media has put out there but I believe it's been confirmed so that's why I'm repeating it…supposedly when Heidi found out she was pregnant, he left her (didn't want a child, etc.)…but even if they didn't break up because of the pregnancy, he still could have made an effort to see Leni and he never did.

Heidi always handled it in a respectful way…when she was asked about it, she would always respond by saying something like "Leni's biological father isn't in her life" or something like that and really nothing more…she never bashed him in the media, which I think was incredibly smart and respectful on her part….but it does seem that the rumors are true that Flavio just did not want to be a father to this little girl. So in that respect, I don't really commend him for "being gracious" about this…in fact, he probably should have seen it coming.

The way I see it, if he was really truly a part of his daughter's life, he never would have allowed this. As for Seal…he is one CLASS ACT. Such a commendable, respectable man! The way both him and Heidi have never bashed Leni's biological father is wonderful. Leni (and her siblings…and Heidi for that matter) is incredibly lucky and loved!

Natasha on

I’m so very happy for the Samuel family!

Jess from Ohio on

Seal is so awesome! It takes a lot of heart and soul to love anothers child exactly as your own. What a true man he is and a wonderful father. And I am so glad that he and Heidi are able to remain civil with Leni’s birth father. I am so very happy that this wonderful family officially is “one” (they have already been a family; the last name thing is just the cherry on top).

Elizabeth on

Sigh… Seal is such a stand-up guy and the way he refers to Leni as “my little girl” just warms my heart. Heidi is one lucky woman! and not to mention the gorgeous kids…

Kara on

This is my favorite Hollywood family! How awesome for Leni… even though she has always been Seal’s daughter, it’s nice for it to be legally official (plus she’s now Leni Samuel!). I respect Seal for not bashing Flavio… he very easily could have. It just shows the kind of person Seal is. Congratulations to the Samuel family!

nico on

I think it’s nice that Heidi has changed her name to Samuel only recently and thus, intended or not, waited until also Leni could have “the same last name” with the adoption process completed.

Obviously, I don’t know any of them, but calling Briatore “a gentleman about the whole thing” kinda seems to put it nicely… I mean, Seal is a gentleman about the whole thing. Briatore always seemed to keep out of her life not because he didn’t want to disrupt her life, but because he didn’t care.

Stephany on

This was so lovely to read. I adore this family and I think Seal is such a great guy. Heidi really found a winner in him!

Liliana on

Seal seems like an amazing father.

As for Flavio, I do commend him for having enough sense to allow Leni the right to a father that is dedicated to her. I also think it’s honorable of Seal to extend an invitation for him to be a part of Leni’s life.

Given that Flavio’s wife is currently pregnant, I hope he can be a parent to his second child. Even if he continues to not include himself in Leni’s life, I hope down the road, she will have some type of relationship with her sibling.

Milla on

Seal is awesome! :D

Erika on

Aww I so love this family! They seem so genuine and nice!!

itiswhatitis on

I absolutely get why seal has nothing but good things to say about Flavio.I am a woman and I respect Flavio.Flavio could have done what my ex-husband did.My ex-husband went through a mid-life crisis and confessed he felt like a 16 year old and did not want a family.I was pregnant with our second child at the time.He has never been a part of the two childrens lives(for the first 18 months after the split he turned up every couple of months)after that twice a year.He went two and a half years without contact,then showed up.They haven’t seen him since and it’s been a year.I keep my door open to him because I can see my children clinging to what little memories they have of him.My point is not to bash my ex.I just feel as if my kids would have been better if he had completely stayed away.This is why I admire Flavio,he did not want a child and however cruel/selfish you may find this.He did not put Leni through the grief so many kids like my own go through.That is why I think Leni is lucky to have a bilogical father like Flavio.Flavio saw the bigger picture and did not add conflict or drama to the set up Leni has had with Seal from day one.Did I mention how blessed Leni is to have had seal as her father from day one….lucky little girl that Leni Samuel is.

AE on

This is heartwarming. I echo Natasha: “I’m so very happy for the Samuel family!”

kris on

Such a nice article. Seal and Heidi have always been gracious where Leni’s bio father is concerned. These two have gotten to where they are in life partly due to the fact that they know bad mouthing someone (anyone) is not the way to be in life. It’s nice that Heidi and Leni both changed their last names at the same time.

Brooke on

…..Could this man be any more amazing???

Heidi – you have a one-of-a-kind model in Seal. Hold on to him….

Alice on

itiswhatitis, I completely agree. He didn’t want a child, he stepped away, better then “doing the right thing” (according to other people!) that you don’t want to do and messing it up completely. Seal was there, the perfect father for Leni. They are all happy.

I love Seal more every time I see something he said about his family.

lina on

I think, IMO, that by Seal’s word, is not as bleak and white as the press picture. It seems to show that Briatorri can even admit some sort of contact with his daughter in the future and if needed participate of her life, but right now in this moment, for her the better thing would be to become part of the family.

alice jane on

The way Seal talks about Leni just melts me. He just seems like such a good man, and I love how he has had so much devotion towards Leni since before she was even born.

JMO on

Seal is a stand up kind of guy!! I commend him. And it’s good to know they didn’t have to fight Leni’s father. I guess he realized that Seal was and his her daddy. Remember anyone can be a father but it takes a real man to be someone’s daddy!! Great family with a happy ending for all!

Jade on

OMG – I love him! What a lovely man, a true gentleman; so respectful of the biological father! Love this family more and more…

Lauren on

I agree completely with itiswhatitis. As immature, to say the least, as Flavio was for leaving Heidi when she got pregnant and having nothing to do with his own child, there are countless fathers who would go out of their way to make the situation more difficult, such as ducking in and out of her life and, even worse, purposefully blocking the adoption just because he could. As someone with a friend who has gone through hell and back with an ex over child custody, it would have been very easy for Flavio to deny Seal what should be his in terms of parental rights. Too late as it might be, he finally put the wants and needs of his ex and child before his own. Better late than never.

Benigna Marko on

the way seal explains it makes all the sense. the child should have nothing to feel different about living in the same loving home and loving parents. the biological father deserves a standing applaud, he is thinking the best for the child too and should be commended for deciding on such a difficult transsion. Good luck to the entire family and keep Leni informed always. I have a friend that after his son got married, he (the biological) father looked his son up. The son said, dad I never looked you up because my parents said you didn’t want me. When in fact, he did the same as in this situation. Thinking of the best for his son. Today they share holidays and Dad (grandpa) gets to see his son with kids…
Benigna Torviso-Marko

JM on

a lovely, heart warming family. i wish them all the happiness in the world.
instinctively i say, if you’re adult enough to make a baby then you should deal with the consequences and take on your responsibility. but i have a friend who’s dad should definitely have never been a dad, but still tried to be to her and really messed her up. i believe she would have been better of without him or with someone else as her dad.
it sounds as if flavio did in the end do the right thing. seal is and will be a wonderful father to all four of his children.

{JeLisa} on

Swoon!

This family is so beautiful, in so many ways! I am genuinely happy for them. So glad I stumbled upon this article.

mp on

What Mari said :-).

jessicawilliams on

He gets my Seal of approval…pardon the pun.

I♥CBB on

itiswhatitis-Your story brought tears to my eyes. Listening to the struggles that others go through makes me feel so blessed to have the things that I do. I wish you all the best as you raise your children as a single mother. You are a great example of what being a mother is all about. I hope for your children’s sake and yours that things work out with your ex-husband. Your children deserve so much more then what he is offering. God-Bless! :)

E.D on

I’m so happy for them… Seal is amazing, both personally (it appears) and professionally.

Sabrina on

i just love this family! :)

J-Lin on

What a wonderful man with a beautiful heart.

celia on

i love this family…and seal is such a stand up guy…

my son bio walked out and that oh ok with me,cause just like seal my bf loves my son just like his own…he always tell me that he is the daddy and that all my son going to know.

itiswhatitis-brought tears to my eyes too…well it better off for ur kids…i would rather have him out then in and out and confuse the kids!

L on

Seal is so sweet, makes me get tears in my eyes. What a perfect man.

Nym on

This is certainly a heart-warming family, isn’t it? What could have been a bad situation was salvaged by love. For Leni, her adoption being finalized is very bittersweet. At last, she is legally what she always has been in practice, Seal’s daughter. But there is a bitter pill in the mix– the man who is her biological father has legally disowned her. No matter how much love you have waiting for you, such rejection is bound to hurt, even if only a little, someday.

Whatever feelings she may have about it, she will have the unconditional love of her father and mother to depend on.

Kelli on

They are my favorite Hollywood family. Nor perfect or cookie cutter but healthy and happy.

Jessi on

Awesome!! I’m so happy for the family!

I was adopted at 9 by my adopted dad and couldn’t be anymore happier! And I hope that I can find a guy who will eventually adopt my baby when I have the baby in May (hopefully).

Stella Bella on

Agree with the sentiment that Seal is a real class act. Heidi found a keeper!!!!!

sarawara on

I have so much respect for Seal. What a gentleman. And major praises, kudos and lauding to Flavio for also being discreet. FINALLY. Celebrities with some class.

CTBmom on

It is obvious by Seal’s words and actions, why Heidi fell in love with him. He is truly a sweet, loving and family oriented man. I honestly don’t understand how Flavio could look at beautiful little Leni and not want to be apart of her life, but it his loss. Leni has a daddy that loves her, and I think it’s wonderful that it is now official. I love this family!

Mrs.B on

What a beautiful family! Leni is a one lucky girl to have a father like Seal!

Kimberlee Chrisman on

I just love Seal. I had never heard of him before Heidi hooked up with him. He is a man of character and class. The way he feels about his wife and children is just so refreshing. You can also tell how much Leni loves Seal. She must be soo happy she can have the same last name as her siblings and mom. I hope many blessings come their way for doing things right.

cara on

Gosh, I don’t know how you could have the ‘utmost respect’ for a man who all but disowned his litte daughter. Thankfully, he has gone some way to doing the right thing by supporting her adoption, but I am sure he did not suffer any sleepless nights over his decision, as he wanted nothing to do with her since before she was born. He does not deserve any respect nor praise for happily signing a piece of paper.

Heidi and Seal seem to have a lovely lovely family.

Berni Griffin on

I always liked Seal’s music very much but didn’t know much about him. Can see why Heidi and he make it work. I echo the comments posted before, they are lucky to find such a balanced man.

sil on

Flavio’s wife is pregnant with their first child (i think is a boy) so maybe now that he is going to become a daddy himself he has realize that being a father is important….I think now he will have some relationship with Leni, maybe that’s why Seal said “he’s more than welcome to see Leni any time he wants to”.
Seal is a great man, The Samuel-Klum family is wonderful.

Sarah K. on

This isn’t the entire interview. In the full version, Seal acknowledges that it must not have been easy for Flavio to sign over his rights. That indicates that Flavio agonized over his decision and did what he though was best for Leni. That’s not uncaring and heartless.

So, I would just like to throw in that we really don’t know their situation. It may not be as simple as Flavio being a dead beat dad – situations like this are never black and white.

That being said, it’s great that Seal and Leni are now officially dad and daughter!

Christina Greece on

Have you ever heard of a man who starts a deep,loving relationship for life with a woman who is at the time pregnant with another man’s child and has been abandoned for that?I haven’t and I love Seal for doing this ever since!

Itiswhattis I feel sad for the situation, but I want to share the child’s option. My parents got divorced when I was 6 years old and it really hurt.What hurt more though was that my mother tried to keep my father out of my life and badmouthing him to me. I miss him from my childhood, I would prefer if he were there, at least for those 2-3 times a year than not at all!It’s not the same for you, but the result is.Believe me, it’s just a lot better for the child to have at least a few memories!

Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I have a warm relationship with him, I see him every week, we go on trips together and he has explained everything that kept him away and surely wasn’t the absence of love, it was my mother’s behaviour!

Also, I grew up with a wonderful step father, but nobody can replace your bio father, in my opinion.

Anne on

WOW, just WOW!!!! Can I have my very own Seal. What a beautiful man, inside and outside. And he is Leni’s real father. I am sure Leni will have questions but Seal and Heidi will be there to answer them. Best Tinseltown marriage by far.

Shal on

This family is sooo beautiful..Seal is such an extraordinary man…Heide and Seal are such real family people..

Ashley on

I’m not sure how the law works in the states, I like Heidi have a daughter from a previous partner. When I married my second husband I changed both my name and hers,( had to get ex husbands permission to do this) however, she was not adopted by my husband. Do you have to adopt to change a surname in usa? or is this just their choice?

Shannon on

Wow. Just wow. What an amazingly wonderful man. Seal is without a doubt my favorite celbrity dad. I mean, just the things he has done for Leni, and the love and adoration you see every time he talks about or looks at his wife and children, it’s just beautiful. Heidi and those kids are so, so lucky to have a guy like him around.

Jessicad on

Ashley, you have to have the biological father’s permission for that as well.

I’m in a situation like Heidi’s, I hope I can a man as amazing as Seal!

Christina Greece I’m so afraid of that happening with my daughter! I don’t bad mouth her father or keep him away at all though, but he tells people I won’t let him see her and it’s my fault he doesn’t pay child support. I’m so afraid she’ll believe him when she’s older and hate me.

lmm on

Seal is a wonderful man & seems like a truly loving father. Just as Heidi is a devoted mother. But, I do not venture to give too much credit to Flavio. If it were his intent to do right by Leni…why did he wait so long to give up his parental rights legally. He seemed to have given up all parental contact before she was even born. Yes, Yes, I guess, a little credit should be given that he finally has allowed Leni to have a legitimate father. But, I agree with Cara, he didn’t seem to lose sleep prior to her birth or there after. I hope for the sake of his next child…he will do better.

daniela on

Oh Seal…you brought tears to my eyes! What a stand-up type of guy! My heart melts when he talks about Leni…the love he has for her touches my heart in a special way. What a lucky family to have him, as he is just as lucky to have them! Love, love, LOVE this family!

txgal on

Wow, what a truly wonderful man. He puts his family first always. She is such a lucky woman.

Kate on

My father did this with my mother. My mom was 5 months pregant when she met my Dad. He is my Dad before and after he adopted me. I have never had contact with my sperm donor. He knew my mom was pregant. I have seen pictures of him but otherwise he has chosen not be a father. It is okay because in the end my Dad is the man who raised me not the man that created me. I love Seal and I think he is a truly a man in every sense of the word. I hope I find a man like him, Heidi and their children are blessed.

Catca on

Seal was being very generous in his comments about Flavio. Flavio has never wanted to be part of Leni’s life, is married with his own children, and from reports, has never visited Leni, never wanted to visit, or even met her. If Flavio stood in the way, it would have been out of spite, and Seal may have had to have a custody battle and probably won if the reports about Flavio’s involvement are true. Seal has been a class act throughout the whole situation. He began dating Heidi while she was preggers with Leni, and Seal, not Flavio, was in the delivery room with Heidi when Leni was born. Leni has always been Seal’s daughter.

maggie on

i love that he uses the phrase ‘the harder we worked and visualised something the luckier we got’! this is a great phrase and one which i live by

kezie on

I have to say what an amazingly loving wonderful man seal is.
I have an almost 2 year old daughter.. her father abandoned us when i was four months pregnant with her.. he has never seen her or acknowledged her at all.
i really wish my daughter had such a loving man to be a postive male role model in her life and a father figure.
i dread the day she asks me ‘why don’t i have a daddy?’
i think seal is a one of a kind man
and heidi is a very, very lucky woman.

Lola Marie on

When I read that Flavio’s current young model wife was pregnant I was like, “What? He’ll be a father to this one and not Leni”??? I always thought he was such a jerk, because according to interviews that Heidi has done over the years her comments about him have been consistent, “He’s not in her life”. You would have thought that a man his age would have stepped up to the plate. I can by the “I’m not ready to be a father” line from a 20 year old but not a 60 year old.

Good for Heidi and Seal. Leni has always had a dad in her life that has loved her completely. They really seem to have a wonderful marriage and family life.

marie on

This story just give me the warm fuzzies. Seal sounds like a wonderful person and a gentleman as well. Congrats!

Ateya on

I just want to spread happiness and love to them…Seal is a great person indeed!

LPW on

I love Seal and Heidi. What a great ending/beginning for Leni.

Christina Greece on

Jessicad I didn’t mean to make you worry, I’m really sorry!If you never say nasty things about him, your daughter will appreciate you, believe me!When I realized a few years ago that they told me completely different stories I turned to the relatives to check them out. I didn’t just comfort myself by accepting his truth immediately…So,I think that if your daughter is close to your friends and family when she looks for answers she will find the right ones.Plus, my mother always changes the stories she tells according to what is convenient at the time!So, being consistent to what you’re saying will make you believable instead of your ex, whose behaviour by the way is unacceptable!

Kezie I hope all the best for you and your child!Sometimes life is hard and unfortunately some kids find about it very early in their life.But if you’re strong and happy they imitate you and learn from it!

Nancy on

Very wise words and I wish more adults (mainly parents) would think or at least act that way. It’s all for the children!!! Think about what is best for your child(ren)! I didn’t know adoption was in procedure but glad Seal gets to be legally Leni’s father! I am pretty sure it will mean a lot to her in the future! Such amazing parents!

Jessicad on

Christina Greece your situation just reminded me of my own! I hope my daughter is smart like you were and figures out the truth on her own:) I’m glad you’re able to have a good relationship with your dad now. I know it wouldn’t benefit her if I talked bad about him even though in my situation it’s the truth, so I just made the decision not to. That’s why I respect Seal, I’m sure he could say some awful things. He was raised right! That is a lucky family:)

Gerianne on

A class act in every respect.

Caroline on

I am in no way defending Leni’s bio father but has it ever been quoted by Heidi that this man disowned her? Because saying he is not around and saying he wants nothing to do with her are two different phrases. Even though he wasn’t in her everyday life, he could have had contact by phone, mail, etc. It doesn’t make it right but if the guy disowned the girl I have a hard time believing it was “a really difficult” decision for him. But maybe Seal is just being kind. Anyway Seal seems like a great guy!

Bailey on

Seal is a wonderful man and you can feel the love he has for his family. I love that he referred to Leni as ‘my little girl’ and the story of him falling in love with Lou was sweet. He is a wonderful person and I wish there were more people like him.

Claire on

What a great man he is – Seal seams so humble and down to earth, I really respect him for his comments about Leni’s biological father, too. Sometimes I shudder when I read yet another Gosselin family headline, yet I am genuinely interested in this family, they seem so lovely – sharing information about a normal lifestyle, yet not oversharing to details that shouldn’t go outside the family. Best of luck to them in the future, I hope they can remain this happy always!

Jenny on

I have so much respect for Seal too. What a gentleman and a good father and person. But this is pretty much the same, as loving an adopted child, who neither of the parents are biological. There is no difference.

brannon on

Very class act. — And to answer question about last name change … only need permission of bio parents who are on the birth certificate. If a father is not listed, you do not need the permission of the biological father.

cd on

Heidi never had to say bio did not want to be a father actions speak louder than words. I am so happy for this family because it takes a real man to be a daddy but it takes a sperm donor to be the father. Seal is a real man he has been there from day one for Leni and you can tell by the photos when they are together she loves Seal and the feelings are mutual. I love the photos we see of them all together. Merry Christmas to the Samuel Family.

neicy on

I am so happy Seal formally adopted Leni, he was at her birth and the only father she has known. I hope now that when the media refers to the family they can stop singling Leni out as having Flavio as a father and refer to the them as the complete family they are.

RaisingChild on

What great character on this guy!

Erin on

Every time Seal or Heidi talk about their family I love them even more. If I were to put money on one “Hollywood” couple to stay together forever, it’d be them. I’ve always thought of Seal as Leni’s father anyway and forget that he’s not until someone says something or like this. I’m so happy for her to have her mother, father, and brothers’ last name now!

Terri on

I don’t see any reason to critcize anyone involved in the situation. It seems like everything has worked out like it was supposed to for all involved. They have a beautiful family.

CelebBabyLover on

Erin- And don’t forget about little Lou! Leni now has the same last name as her sister as well. :)

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