In the span of just 27 years, Justin Bieber has lived lifetimes. He’s been the childhood star, the teen heartthrob, the rebel without a cause, and most recently, the devout husband. In an all-encompassing cover profile by GQ that published Tuesday (April 13), Bieber opened up about it all: the importance of forgiveness, growing from his infamous past, and the difficulties he experienced in his first year of marriage.
The singer, who dropped the surprise gospel EP Freedom last week, admitted that, as a young adult growing up in the spotlight, he let his “ego” and “insecurities” shape how he saw himself, his career, and the world around him. But that outlook took its toll. He felt "numb" while on the tail end of his 2017 Purpose tour – which he canceled with fifteen stops remaining – and shortly after hit his breaking point. He finally understood he needed to make his mental health a priority.
“I just lost control of my vision for my career,” he told GQ. “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?’”
Throughout his healing process, as he dealt with "navigating a lot of emotional terrain," he had two rocks that kept him grounded: religion and his wife, Hailey Bieber, whom he married in 2018. Bieber called their relationship "really tough" in its first year, despite all of the support he received during that time. “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,” he said.
Now, in between releasing chart-topping albums of his own, Bieber is focused on using his past for the betterment of others by supporting emerging artists and ensuring they don't make the same mistakes he did. The singer said that settling down and having kids has always felt like his "calling" in life and that him and his wife plan to have children "not this second" but eventually. It makes sense then that Bieber would find joy in uplifting others too.
“I don’t want to let my shame of my past dictate what I’m able to do now for people,” he said. “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 shit. That’s okay. I’m still available. I’m still available to help. And I’m still worthy of helping.’"
Read GQ's cover story on Justin Bieber here.
This article was written by Emlyn Travis, and originally appeared on MTV.com.