Justin Bieber Has Moved on From His Hillsong Days

Justin Bieber
Photo by Mike Rosenthal via Getty Images

Justin Bieber rode out the first few months of the pandemic at home in Canada, marking the longest the singer has stayed in one place since he was a kid. That would not have been the case just five years ago. “I think it would have probably resulted in just a lot of doing drugs and being posted up, to be honest,” the 27-year-old said in GQ’s May cover story. “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.” Up until around 2017, when he abruptly canceled the last of his world tour, “the drugs were a numbing agent to just continue to get through.”

These days, Bieber is surrounded by one person: his wife, Hailey. And according to him, she’s the reason he’s moved on from misdeeds like traumatizing monkeys and getting DUIs. It took a year of celibacy, and another as a husband, to get to that place. “There was a lot, going back to the trauma stuff,” Bieber said. “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, the Biebers are “just creating these moments for us as a couple.” It’s “beautiful,” and a first for him. “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.”

If Bieber has been remotely on your radar in the past few years, you’ll know his other savior: god. That’s become a bit more complicated since Hillsong Church fired his “second father,” Carl Lentz, for “moral failures” last year. And while Bieber didn’t name Lentz explicitly, he did seem to make an overall critique of the so-called “hipster pastors” who used to surround him. “I think so many pastors put themselves on this pedestal,” Bieber said. “And it’s basically, church can be surrounded around the man, the pastor, the guy, and it’s like, ‘This guy has this ultimate relationship with god that we all want but we can’t get because we’re not this guy.’ That’s not the reality, though. The reality is, every human being has the same access to God.”

At the end of the day, though, Bieber has moved on. “I don’t want to let my shame of my past dictate what I’m able to do now for people,” he said, citing the Bible verse “the comforted become the comforted.” “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.’” And on top of that, he’s found his “calling”: “just to get married and have babies and do that whole thing.”