Seal might be a four-time Grammy Award-winning artist with over 20 million record sales under his belt, but fans tend to speak of something other than his success story as an artist. Instead, they focus on the British singer's facial scars, speculating how he wound up with so many.
After years of rumors and stories of accidents and tribal scarring, it's time to learn the truth about Seal's scars.
Seal Started In London And Made His Way To Asia
Growing up with a foster family in Westminster, London, Seal started his musical journey in the local club and bar scene in the 1980s. It didn't take long for him to be brought into a funk band, Push.
Getting out of London, Seal wound up traveling throughout Asia, starting in Japan with Push then moving on to Thailand, where he joined a blues band. After that stint, he found himself as a solo traveler in India.
His Big Break Came When He Met Producer Adamski
After traveling around, Seal eventually made his way back to London. And that, folks, is truly where the singer's story begins. While trying to figure out his next steps, Seal wound up meeting Adamski, a music producer.
Adamski had Seal sing the lyrics to his song "Killer." And that move right there changed Seal's life forever. The song wound up as the number one hit in the UK, leading to the artist's first record deal.
He Ran The Show At The 1992 BRIT Awards
After "Killer" reached number one, Seal was signed to ZTT Records. Obviously, Seal's scars weren't going to hold him back from going after his dreams because, in 1991, he released his first studio album, Seal.
The album was met with fantastic critical reviews, leading Seal to run away with not one, not two, but three BRIT Awards at the 1992 award show. Winning Best British Album, Best British Male, and Best British Video, Seal became the first artist to win three awards in a single year.
Seal II Was Released In 1994
While Seal was obviously talented, winning awards left and right for his debut album, people still talked more about his facial scars than his success story. Even so, he wasn't going to let the gossip mill stop him from going into the recording studio.
After the wildly huge success of Seal, the singer didn't waste any time, releasing his second self-titled album in 1994, Seal II. If he thought he was successful before the 1994 album, he hadn't seen anything yet!
In 1996, Seal Won Two Grammy Awards
The 1994 album Seal II had the hit single that launched Seal into international stardom, "Kiss From a Rose." First met with mediocre reviews, the song became wildly popular when it was remixed and thrown into the Batman Forever soundtrack.
Skyrocketing to success, Seal wound up winning two Grammy Awards in 1996. One was Record of the Year and the other for Song of the Year. And, yes, the song was "Kiss From a Rose."
His Third Album Wasn't As Popular
With his initial successes, it seemed as though Seal was just going to shoot straight to the top and stay there for the duration of his career. Well, that's not exactly what ended up happening.
After the success of Seal and Seal II, Seal hit a bump in the road when it came to his third studio album, Human Being. The album received a gold record certification, but it wasn't met with the same enthusiastic reviews as the two previous records.
Togetherland Was Never Released
Then came his fourth album, the 2001 record Togetherland. And to say things took a turn for the worst would be an understatement. The album was never released because Seal didn't think it met the standards of his other records.
So, instead of releasing the entire album, he opted to release a single, "This Could Be Heaven." It was a sad time for fans and the artist. Two years later, he was back in the spotlight.
2003 Saw The Release Of His Fourth Studio Album
After the bust of Togetherland, it took Seal a few years to get his music back on track and in the spotlight. It happened in 2003, with the release of his fourth studio album, Seal IV.
This fourth album didn't garner as much success as his original two, but it was still his highest-ranked record in the United States. He took that as an absolute win! But it was his last studio record for some time.
His Next Venture: Live Albums And Covers
After the release of his fourth album, Seal took a break from the studio. In the following years, he released a compilation of his greatest hits, a Live in Paris album, and a recording of one of his concerts titled One Night to Remember.
It wasn't until 2007 and 2008 that Seal released his fifth and sixth studio albums, a dance-oriented record titled System, and a soul music cover album aptly titled Soul.
Seal Went On To Release Five Albums In Seven Years
And the musician didn't stop there. In 2010 he released the compilation album Hits. That same year, Seal released both his seventh and eighth studio albums, Commitment and Soul 2.
Then in 2015 and 2017, Seal dropped his ninth and tenth studio albums, 7 and Standards. The latter was wildly recognized and even garnered a 2018 Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. He lost out to Willie Nelson's My Way.
A Break From Music To Coach On The Voice
While Seal was in the studio recording all of those albums, he somehow made time for other projects. Television talent competition fans might recognize Seal as one of the coaches on the Australian version of The Voice.
He wound up coaching two back-to-back winners on the show. Obviously, they cared more about his talent, coaching abilities, and getting a leg-up in the competition more than the scars covering his face.
Seal Was Cast In The TV Musical The Passion: New Orleans
His scarring didn't deter Seal from taking up some acting either. In 2016, Tyler Perry made a musical spectacle of The Passion: New Orleans, where Seal was cast as Pontius Pilate. It received mixed reviews, but Seal's performance was praised by more than one critic who regarded his role as a standout moment.
Perry wasn't the only one who didn't care about Seal's scarring, though. He also caught the eye of supermodel Heidi Klum.
In 2005, He Married Supermodel Heidi Klum
Backtracking to 2004, Seal was on the cover of more than one tabloid for a specific reason -- his supposed relationship with supermodel Heidi Klum. Of course, their relationship wasn't exactly in the rumor mill, considering the couple was very public about it.
In 2005, they said their "I dos" on a Mexican Beach, going back each year on their anniversary to renew their vows to one another. "It's a very special moment to us," Seal said during a 2010 interview.
Seal and Heidi Divorced in 2014
After marrying and starting a family together, Seal and Klum decided to go their separate ways in 2012. After nearly seven years of marriage, the two finalized their divorce in 2014.
In 2017, tabloids got word that Seal was in a relationship with Delta Goodrem, his co-star on The Voice. But it was all just hearsay, and the two were nothing more than good friends who respected each other as musicians and artists.
Stories About His Scars Have Been Circulating Since The '90s
Even with his successful career and incredibly public love life, there was something that was even more interesting about Seal. At least more interesting to his fans and the general public.
His facial scars have been a point of conversation since he hit the music scene in the 1990s. From there, more than one story began to circulate, all making up tall tales of how the Grammy Award-winning artist got his scars.
Some People Thought His Scars Were From An Accident
One of the most common stories people came up with was that Seal was in some sort of accident when he was younger, perhaps a car crash. And the result of the accident was facial scarring.
While that's a sound story and quite plausible, it's not how Seal wound up with his infamous scars. But that also wasn't the only story that began circulating. The second common story was they were tribal scarring!
Others Thought They Were Tribal Markings
The second common story was a bit more interesting than an accident of some sort. Some people thought he wound up with the scars after he participated in some kind of ancient ritual.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Seal set the record straight. "People always want them to be tribal scars. That's just the nature of the media and of people’s imaginations." The scars aren't from a ritual or from an accident.
The Scars Are A Result Of DLE
The truth of the matter is Seal wasn't in some horrible accident, and he didn't go through an ancient ritual, resulting in the infamous scars on his cheeks. Instead, they came from something that's completely and utterly out of his control.
Seal's facial scaring comes from something called discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), an autoimmune skin condition that leaves large scarring on the affected area. In Seal's specific case, his face.
DLE Is Most Common On The Face, Ears, And Scalp
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) and the American Osteopathic Association, "Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is a chronic skin condition of sores with inflammation and scarring favoring the face, ears, and scalp and at times on other body areas."
And while doctors aren't entirely sure what causes DLE, the AOCD has a fairly good idea. On their website, the AOCD says, "it [DLE] is thought to be autoimmune with the body's immune system incorrectly attacking normal skin."
Diagnosed With DLE At The Age Of 21
Seal has never been shy about his DLE. Since being diagnosed at the age of 21, the singer has done multiple interviews regarding the disease. In each, he's expressed how the scarring on his face isn't the only thing DLE has changed in his appearance.
The disease also attacked his scalp, resulting in Seal's hair falling out at a young age. Regardless, there's no denying Seal's good looks. He's even been named "Sexiest Singer Alive" twice by Glamour magazine, in 2020 and again in 2021.
The Scars Made Him Grow As An Artist
At the beginning of his career, Seal had an interview with The New York Times. In the interview, they questioned the new artist's facial scarring and how he was going to deal with people talking about it in the entertainment industry.
Seal opened up during the 1996 interview, saying that his scars were actually helping him grow as an artist, and he wasn't going to let them stand in his way of making music.
The Scars Aren't Something Seal Can Outlive
During his 1996 with The New York Times, Seal said, "I believe that in all forms of art there has to have been some initial adversity: that is what makes art, as far as I'm concerned. And it’s not something you outlive: once you experience it, it’s always with you.”
Of course, being human, Seal wasn't always fond of his facial scarring. In fact, the blatant scarring on his face used to get him very depressed and down.
Depression Was A Huge Part Of His Life
During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Seal discussed how his facial scarring affected him as a young adult. "I got really depressed about [the scars] at first, as you can understand."
Considering how hard it is to be a normal young adult, it's safe to say a lot of people would understand how facial scarring would get a young Seal down. Of course, there are only a few people who truly understand.
Seal Isn't The Only Star Dealing With Lupus
Even so, Seal eventually got out of his slump. He even confessed to growing with the scars, telling Rolling Stone magazine, "Now I really like them." Now that's some big personal growth!
And he isn't the only person in Hollywood who has gone through Lupus treatments. Stars such as Selena Gomez, Nick Cannon, Toni Braxton, and even Kristen Johnson have publicly talked about their personal battles with lupus and how it's changed their lives.
Other Hollywood Celebrities Have Spoken About Scars
For a lot of people, their scars are part of their story. And, if his interviews are any indication, it seems as though Seal feels the same way about his facial scars, once he came to terms that they weren't going anywhere, of course.
And he isn't the only one in Hollywood who has spoken up about scars and how they've changed him as a person. Celebrities such as Demi Lovato have come out and spoken about scars.
Scars Are Impressive Battle Wounds
During an interview for The Good Men Project: The Conversation No One Is Having, Demi Lovato spoke of scars, saying, "I think scars are like battle wounds – beautiful, in a way. They show what you've been through and how strong you are for coming out of it".
Seal even spoke during his interview for the project, speaking of his facial scars and saying, "If I could design something, I don't think I could do it better."
Seal's Scars Make Him Who He Is
While many people would shy away from the public eye and not search for a career in the spotlight, Seal didn't let his DLE stop him from pursuing something he loves -- music and performing.
During an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, the artist said, "Something that had kind of been initially traumatizing turned out to be something that has made me instantly recognizable." He's not wrong, considering the conversation about his scars is still being talked about years after his initial fame.
Other People Have It Worse
Through the years, Seal also came to the realization that while his face is severely scarred and the DLE resulted in his hair loss, he got off easy compared to a lot of other people in the world.
During an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, the singer got real about his initial self-consciousness surrounding his looks, saying, "I quickly realized this body is not who we are. I got off lightly."
For Seal, It's All About Mental Health And Exercise
Even so, it was a long road for Seal to come to terms with his disease. He told Yahoo Lifestyle that his acceptance came in partial thanks to therapy and, believe it or not, exercising on a regular basis.
During the interview, the singer said, "Mental health and exercise go hand-in-hand, although it's sometimes easier said than done, especially for people who are suffering from depression. It’s been huge for me.”
Seal Believes His Purpose In Life Is Communication
After years of dealing with DLE, Seal seems to be in a good place, enjoying his career and the fact that his music has touched so many lives. During an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, Seal expressed how the disease doesn't define him and that his purpose is something else altogether.
He said, "I'm not sitting here crying about my lupus or anxiety. It isn’t by chance that I just have a voice to sing that touches people. I believe that my purpose is communication. That is a blessing.”