Justin Bieber is in a better place now than he has been in any of the earlier years of his career, admitting that for the first time in his life “I’m right where I’m supposed to be.” And while opening up about the hardships that he faced in the past, mainly as a result of an unprecedented upbringing in the spotlight characterized by super fans and instability, the 27-year-old touched on his use of drugs and how they were used to numb the pain.
“I was surrounded by a lot of people, and we were all kind of just escaping our real life,” Bieber told GQ for the May 2021 cover. “I think we just weren’t living in reality.”
While reflecting on how he would have spent time in quarantine had it been five years prior, Bieber candidly shared, “I think it would have probably resulted in just a lot of doing drugs and being posted up, to be honest.”
Bieber went on to explain that, at the time, he had “lost control of my vision for my career,” and ultimately fell victim to the noise of those surrounding him. “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?“
He continued, “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.”
Aside from the emptiness that Bieber felt within himself, he also recalled struggling to maintain relationships and even the ways that he started to mistreat people around him.
“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,” he said. “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 ultimately found stability after what would become his rock bottom through his relationships with God and his wife Hailey Bieber, both of which gave him the courage to get through the hard times, rather than escaping them. “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,” he said. “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.”
Admitting he “was sad inside” has allowed Bieber to acknowledge how far he’s come and how much he’s gained in his personal life. “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,” he said. “I have meetings now, which I was never very good at. …But now I’m like, ‘Okay, in order to be a healthy individual, this is what healthy adults do. They have schedules, they have calendars, they go by their calendar,’ and it’s beneficial, right? It’s not that it’s rocket science. But for me it’s like I lived this crazy lifestyle and this was just not the norm.”
Still, the “Holy” singer knows that his life and career continue to be outside of the norm, although it’s what he feels he was called to do. “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,” he said. “And there’s nothing more fulfilling.”
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