Is Adele Based on Bart Millard’s Real Mom? Did He Find Her?

As a biographical drama delving deep into the life of Christian Rock musician and MercyMe frontman Bart Dillard, ‘I Can Only Imagine’ (2018) can only be described as poignant and inspiring. That is because it carefully explores not just the complexities of human nature but also the way even the littlest of things can have the biggest impact on one’s spiritual soul. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the woman to have seemingly affected him the most by leaving him with his abusive father — his mother, Adele Millard, per the show — we’ve got the details for you.

Adele Millard Is Partly Inspired by the Real Adele

Since the aforementioned Erwin Brothers-directed movie is a piece of brilliant entertainment, the truth is it has taken a lot of creative liberties to chronicle the real musician’s tale. This includes the way his mother Adele has been depicted (played by Tanya Clarke), especially because she didn’t actually abandon the family after dropping her son off at a youth church camp. She did leave them owing to her then-husband Arthur’s short temper as well as abusive ways — mental and emotional, never physical with her — but it was while her young son was merely 3, and she did so legally by filing for divorce.

In fact, in actuality, Adele had custody of her boys — she first had Stephen and then Bart after four years — until the latter was in the third grade. It was then that she chose to move away to start anew with her third husband, leading to the decision that her boys would move back in with their father. That’s when the abuse on them began, but Bart never really lost touch with his mother — they did grow distant as time passed, yet everyone always knew where she was, and she made sure to keep in contact too, even if it was minimal.

Things did change when Bart was in middle school. His father had abused him so much for forging his signature on a slip notifying the parent his son had made it into the honor role that his entire back had turned black. Bart actually couldn’t lie anywhere, but on his back, and when his father realized what he’d done, he began fearing he could do worse and sent him to live with his mother in San Antonio, Texas. But alas, the middle schooler realized he just didn’t fit in and hated living with his mother, so he decided to return to Greenville to his father at the end of sixth grade.

According to reports, that’s when the distance between Adele and Bart expanded, yet her precedence at the time of Arthur’s illness and demise, as well as her efforts later, ensured she got a relationship with her son again. Now, with years having gone by, the latter concedes he’s closer to his mother than ever before, and she’s actually his biggest supporter ever – whether it be as a musician or an author, she backs and is proud of everything he does. It’s unclear precisely where she resides today, but records do suggest her kids are now back to being her top priority.

In fact, we should mention that when this movie was in pre-production, Bart had spoken to her about the whole ordeal to ensure she didn’t get hurt, and all she could say in response was, “I wish it would have been different but it wasn’t” before giving him her blessing to continue on and share his story with the world in any way he pleases.

Read More: Does Bart Millard Have Siblings? Where Are They Now?