Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard; 3 November 1954) is an English singer and musician. He gained popularity as the lead singer of new wave group Adam and the Ants and later as a solo artist, scoring 10 UK top ten hits from 1980 to 1983, including three UK No. 1 singles. He has also worked as an actor, appearing in over two dozen films and television episodes from 1985 to 2003.
Since 2010, Ant has undertaken an intense reactivation of his musical career, performing live regularly in his hometown of London and beyond, recording and releasing a new album and completing six full-length UK national tours, four US national tours, and two Australian tours and with a fifth US tour scheduled and a further album completed and awaiting release.
Stuart Goddard was born an only child in Marylebone, London to Leslie Alfred Goddard and Betty Kathleen Smith. Home was two rooms in De Walden buildings, St John's Wood.:5 He recalls: "There was no luxury, but there was always food on the table." His father had served in the Royal Air Force and worked as a chauffeur, and his mother was an embroiderer for Norman Hartnell.:4 He is of partial Romani descent; his maternal grandfather, Walter Albany Smith, was Romanichal.:10 This heritage would become a basis for a theme in his later work: a concern for oppressed minorities.
His parents divorced when Goddard was seven years old:35 and his mother supported him by working as a domestic cleaner, briefly working for Paul McCartney. Goddard's first school was Robinsfield Infants School, where he created a considerable stir by throwing a brick through the head-teacher's office window on two consecutive days.:28 In the aftermath of this incident, Goddard was placed under the supervision of teacher Joanna Saloman, who encouraged him to develop his abilities in art and whom he would later credit as the first person to show him he could be creative artistically.
Goddard then attended Barrow Hill Junior School where he boxed, was a member of the cricket team:32 and passed the eleven plus exam to gain a place at St Marylebone Grammar School:56 which was an all boys school where he enjoyed history lessons, played rugby:57 and later became a school prefect. After taking and passing six O levels and three A levels in English, History and Art,:72 Goddard then attended Hornsey College of Art to study graphic design and for a time was a student of Peter Webb. He later dropped out of Hornsey, short of completing his BA, to focus on a career in music.:4
Since starting his course at Hornsey, Goddard had married fellow student Carol Mills, with whom he lived at her parents' residence in Muswell Hill. Shortly after, he developed anorexia. "I just didn't eat," he has said of this period, "I wasn't attempting to slim, I was attempting to kill myself." Eventually, Goddard took an overdose of all the pills he could find in his mother-in-law's kitchen cabinet. After having his stomach pumped, he was sent to Colney Hatch mental hospital in North London, eventually being discharged after 3 months on condition of supervision by Mills. "I was totally fucked up in the head. Things went wrong and something snapped. I just became a vegetable for three months. I couldn't talk to people. I was very ill and that was part of the reason I left college."