Justin Bieber says fame opened door to using ‘heavy drugs’

Maya Salam, The New York Times

Posted at Sep 04 2019 07:41 AM

Justin Bieber was discovered at age 13. Within a couple of years, he was a pop superstar and had begun amassing millions of dollars and fans. That kind of fame at such a young age was perilous and led him to make “terrible decisions,” he said Monday in a lengthy and personal Instagram note posted to his 118 million followers.

“I started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all of my relationships,” Bieber, now 25, wrote. “I became resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry. I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind, a shell of the person that I had become. I felt like I could never turn it around.”

Bieber went on to say that he was raised in an unstable home and that being overwhelmed with praise so young not only gave him an inflated sense of self but also robbed him of the ability to learn basic life skills.

“Have u noticed the statistics of child stars and the outcome of their life?” he wrote. “There is an insane pressure and responsibility” put on these children, whose “brain, emotions, frontal lobes (decision making) aren’t developed yet.”

“Humility comes with age,” he added.


A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Bieber has credited his marriage last year to model Hailey Baldwin (now Hailey Bieber), 22, with helping him gain perspective, and he did so again Monday, calling their union “an amazing, crazy, new responsibility.” (Bieber dated actress and singer Selena Gomez on and off for years, starting around 2011 through early 2018.)

The post was probably in part a follow-up to a video Bieber posted on Instagram last week of an emotional performance he gave at his Los Angeles church. “God is pulling me through a hard season,” he wrote in that post. “Having trust in Jesus at your worst times is the absolute hardest.”

“Jesus loves you,” he wrote Monday.

Bieber has not performed much this year or put out much music since his fraught last tour for his fourth studio album, “Purpose” (2015). In the summer of 2017, he canceled its final 14 shows. “I got really depressed on tour,” he told Vogue this year. “I’m still processing so much stuff that I haven’t talked about. I was lonely.”

Bieber has dealt with legal and other issues over the years. In 2014, he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and with an expired driver’s license, and resisting arrest without violence. Police said that he had admitted to having beer, marijuana and prescription drugs in his system. He was able to avoid jail time. Around that time, videos emerged of him using racist language, which Bieber apologized for.

He isn’t the only child celebrity turned adult superstar to use social media recently to talk about dealing with the spotlight.

Last month, on Twitter, Miley Cyrus, 26, defended herself against rumors that she had cheated on Liam Hemsworth, the actor who filed for divorce from Cyrus in August. While doing so, she said that after years in the public eye, she had nothing left to hide. “It is no secret that I was into partying in my teens and early 20s,” she wrote. “My biggest song to date is about dancing on molly and snorting lines in the bathroom.

“At this point, I had to make a healthy decision for myself to leave a previous life behind,” she went on. “I am the healthiest and happiest I have been in a long time.”

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