The 24-year-old “Sorry” singer gives his first lengthy sit-down interview in more than two years to Vogue’s Rob Haskell in a joint cover story with his wife, Hailey Baldwin.
The couple opens up about their admittedly “very hard” first few months of marriage, and Bieber also speaks about some of the struggles he’s faced in the past, particularly surrounding depression and drugs.
"I got really depressed on tour,” he says of his Purpose tour in 2017, of which the last 14 shows were cancelled. "I haven’t talked about this, and I’m still processing so much stuff that I haven’t talked about. I was lonely. I needed some time."
The pop star notes that getting famous at such an early age had a big impact on him.
"I was real at first and then I was manufactured as, slowly, they just took more and more control,” he admits. "I really started feeling myself too much. People love me, I’m the s**t -- that’s honestly what I thought. I got very arrogant and cocky. I was wearing sunglasses inside."
This led to Bieber making decisions he’s not proud of, including abusing drugs.
"Drugs put a screen between me and what I was doing. It got pretty dark,” he confides. "I think therefore time when my security was coming in late at night to check my pulse and see if I was still breathing.”
In 2014, Bieber detoxed from drugs and though he still drinks socially, he has not had narcotics since then.
"I grieved very intensely over the whole situation. I just wanted him to be happy and be good and be safe and feel joy,” Baldwin says of her now-husband and longtime friend. "But I’m really proud of him. To do it without a program, and to stick with it without a sober coach or AA or classes — I think it’s extraordinary. He is, in ways, a walking miracle."
Bieber admits that his past drug use led to him making decisions he’s not proud of in the romance department.
"I found myself doing things that I was so ashamed of, being super-promiscuous and stuff, and I think I used Xanax because I was so ashamed,” he says. "My mom always said treat women with respect. For me that was always in my head while I was doing it, so I could never enjoy it.”
He admits he has "a legitimate problem with sex,” and notes that before marrying Baldwin, he was practicing celibacy.
"I think sex can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes people have sex because they don’t feel good enough. Because they lack self-worth,” he says. "Women do that, and guys do that. I wanted to rededicate myself to God in that way because I really felt it was better for the condition of my soul. And I believe that God blessed me with Hailey as a result. There are perks. You get rewarded for good behavior.”