Justin Bieber reveals torment of teen fame: 'I was really, really suicidal'

Justin Bieber, pictured with wife Hailey Baldwin, debuted his YouTube special Justin Bieber: Next Chapter on Oct. 30, 2020. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

With a two-year marriage and an unwavering religious faith, Justin Bieber is in “the best place” of his life, albeit with some growing pains.

On Friday, the 26-year-old star mused on maturing from a 13-year-old YouTuber to a global hitmaker in the YouTube special Justin Bieber: Next Chapter, which followed his 10-part February series Justin Bieber: Seasons, a look into his battle with Lyme disease and his marriage to Hailey Baldwin, 23.

Filming the Oct. 16 music video for Lonely — a flashback to early fame — brought Bieber back. “When I was 15… I was so surrounded. Millions of people in the audience, but I still felt lonely. I still felt misunderstood. I still felt hurt,” he said in Next Chapter. “I just had no idea what was to come. I had no idea that this life would take me by storm. I had no idea that I would get sucked up by all of this stuff.”

After manager Scooter Braun discovered Bieber on YouTube and singer Usher introduced him to industry execs, Bieber released his 2009 album My World containing the hit “One Less Lonely Girl”; in 2010, he debuted the single Baby.

But not all admired the teen heartthrob. “There were so many people who were just so mean,” he said in the documentary. “Random people saying like, ‘You suck! You look like a girl!’ I would shake it off and act like it didn’t bother me, but that stuff bothered me. And then it affected how I acted and how I treated other people, and it’s just this ongoing cycle of, like, hurt people, hurt people. I was just this young kid.”

He added, “Man, I think that there was times where I was really, really suicidal — like, is this pain ever going to go away? It was so consistent. The pain was so consistent. I was just suffering, right? So I’m just like, ‘Man, I would rather not feel this than feel this.’”

The singer’s legal and personal troubles also drew eyeballs: In 2014, he pled guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest after drag racing in Miami, Fla. and paid an $80,000 restitution fee for egging a former neighbor’s home in Los Angeles, Calif. Beiber’s long-winded romance with singer Selena Gomez ended in 2018 (she later referred to the relationship as emotional “abuse”), he got backlash for making a verbal gaffe about Holocaust victim Anne Frank and developed a marijuana dependency.

In 2018, Bieber wed Baldwin in a New York City courthouse and the couple threw a South Carolina ceremony for their loved ones. “We continue to just show one another that, you know, you’re my priority,” he told Baldwin in the footage. “You continue to remind me I’m your priority... and we’re building a life and we have something to look forward to and it’s growth and it’s hope.”

“It’s incredible and I love you,” he said.

The singer values religion, once saying his relationship with God was “the coolest thing.”

"I was thinking the other day, I was really like, ‘I’m in the best place in my whole life, right now,’” Bieber said in the doc to Chance the Rapper, who is featured on his September track “Holy.”

"I’m the most fulfilled, I feel the most stable, I feel the most secure, I feel the most confident. I feel so just at peace for the first time in my life,” said Beiber. “I don’t feel like I’m striving. I feel like I know who God’s called on me to be, where I am, where I’m supposed to be. I’m walking in the plans of God. The assurance of that is amazing.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

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