In an interview with GQ magazine, Justin Bieber has opened up about his transformation from wild child to more well-adjusted adult.
He spoke openly, revealing the extent of his drug problem and how his relationships with his wife Hailey Baldwin and Christianity fortified his life back together.
The 27-year-old singer reflected on his past saying, “Hurt people hurt people—you know? And there’s a quote; I’m trying to remember it. I don’t know if it’s biblical, if it’s in the Bible. But I do remember this quote: The comforted become the comforters. I don’t know if you’ve heard that before. But I really do feel comforted. I have a wife who I adore, who I feel comforted by. I feel safe. I feel like my relationship with God is wonderful. And I have this outpouring of love that I want to be able to share with people, you know?”
Bieber doesn’t want the shame of his past dictate what he is now able to do for people. “A lot of people let their past weigh them down, and they never do what they want to do because they think that they’re not good enough. But I’m just like: ‘I did a bunch of stupid s—. That’s okay. I’m still available. I’m still available to help. And I’m still worthy of helping.’ ”
Five years ago, things were pretty dark for Bieber. “I was surrounded by a lot of people, and we were all kind of just escaping our real life. I think we just weren’t living in reality. I think it would have probably resulted in just a lot of doing drugs and being posted up, to be honest.”
His friend Chance the Rapper remembers those days well. “We were both young,” Chance said, “with a lot of influence and a lot more money than somebody our age should probably have. And we were both living in L.A. and just kind of… I don’t even know how to describe it without making it sound bad.”
Bieber revealed that at night, his security guards began to slip into his room and check his pulse to make sure he was still alive. “There was a sense of still yearning for more. It was like I had all this success and it was still like: I’m still sad, and I’m still in pain. And I still have these unresolved issues. And I thought all the success was going to make everything good. And so for me, the drugs were a numbing agent to just continue to get through.”
Bieber described rock bottom with clarity saying, “I just lost control of my vision for my career. There’s all these opinions. And in this industry, you’ve got people that unfortunately prey on people’s insecurities and use that to their benefit. And so when that happens, obviously that makes you angry. And then you’re this young angry person who had these big dreams, and then the world just jades you and makes you into this person that you don’t want to be. And then you wake up one day and your relationships are fucked up and you’re unhappy and you have all this success in the world, but you’re just like: Well, what is this worth if I’m still feeling empty inside?”
Singing “was supposed to bring such joy,” he said. “This is what I feel called to do. And my purpose in my life. I know that when I open my mouth, people love to hear me sing. I literally started singing on the streets and crowds would form around me to where I’m like, ‘Okay, this could be something.’ There’s this reciprocation of: I’m using my gifts to serve people. That’s what I loved so much. And I just think more and more as you’re a kid and you don’t have an identity yet, and you’re trying to figure out who you are, and to have everyone saying how good you are, how incredible you are? You just start to believe that stuff. And ego sets in. And then that’s where insecurities come in. And then you start treating people a certain way and feeling superior and above people. And then there’s this whole dynamic shift. I just woke up one day and I’m just like, Who am I? I didn’t know. And that was scary to me.”
Bieber was raised “by two unreliable and overwhelmed parents who split up when he was young,” leaving him without the model or tools “to seek out a quieter or more peaceful life for himself.” He said: “To be honest, I am a lot healthier, and I did have a lot of things going on. I did have mono, and I do have Lyme disease. But I was also navigating a lot of emotional terrain, which had a lot to do with it. And we like to blame a lot of things on other things. Sometimes… It’s a lot of times just your own stuff.”
When it comes to marriage, Bieber said he is “compelled” to marry, adding, “I just felt like that was my calling. Just to get married and have babies and do that whole thing.” (On the “babies” part of that: “Not this second, but we will eventually.”) He opened up about the fact that his marriage has not always been easy. “The first year of marriage was really tough,” he says, “because there was a lot, going back to the trauma stuff. There was just lack of trust. There was all these things that you don’t want to admit to the person that you’re with, because it’s scary. You don’t want to scare them off by saying, ‘I’m scared.’ ”
Now, he says of his marriage to Hailey, “we’re just creating these moments for us as a couple, as a family, that we’re building these memories. And it’s beautiful that we have that to look forward to. Before, I didn’t have that to look forward to in my life. My home life was unstable. Like, my home life was not existing. I didn’t have a significant other. I didn’t have someone to love. I didn’t have someone to pour into. But now I have that.”
Bieber talks about God, saying, “He is grace. Every time we mess up, He’s picking us back up every single time. That’s how I view it. And so it’s like, ‘I made a mistake. I won’t dwell in it. I don’t sit in shame. But it actually makes me want to do better.’ My goal isn’t to try and persuade anybody to believe in what I believe or condemn anybody for not believing what I believe. If it can help someone, great. If someone’s like, ‘Hey, I don’t believe that. I don’t think that’s true,’ by all means, that’s their prerogative.”
He adds, “If God forgives me and He loves me and He set these things in motion, if He put these desires in my heart, then I’m going to trust Him. It’s just rewarding to be all that you were designed to be. And I believe that, at this point in my life, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I believe that God wants me to do. And there’s nothing more fulfilling.”