Justin Bieber Is a Completely Different Person From What You Remember

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

If you think Justin Bieber is the same wide-eyed kid that he was when he got his big break on YouTube in 2008, do think again. Over the past decade, he’s matured and changed in several surprising ways. In fact, Justin Bieber is a completely different person than the one you might remember.

Bieber’s fast track to fame

Bieber’s rise to the top of the pop heap happened in a hurry, thanks to his mom who pushed him to post his talents on YouTube. By 2008, he was in the recording studio with Usher. Within five years of record-breaking pop success, Bieber appeared to be on the verge of a total crash.

Throughout 2013, the excesses of Justin Bieber provided unending buzz on social media and news casts. He was apprehended egging a neighbor’s house and busted drag-racing a Lamborghini while intoxicated. He was photographed in a Brazilian brothel. When the popstar was caught trying to smuggle a monkey into Germany, it seemed as if Bieber’s personal and professional life was in an unstoppable nosedive.

In 2015, Bieber engaged in candid conversation with Joe LaPuma at Complex magazine. He admitted to being hyper competitive, explaining that as a kid growing up in Toronto, he built his sense of self worth and identity from being good at everything. 21 years old at the time of the interview, Bieber looked back three years, when he also appeared on the cover of Complex. When asked how he’d changed between the 2012 cover story and then, Bieber said that he’d learned to play golf and thoroughly enjoyed the perks of having attained the legal drinking age.

Flash forward to 2017, and Bieber is putting his music career on hiatus as he enacts some major changes to his personal life. One year later, a new Justin Bieber has emerged and he’s not the hot mess you remember.

For starters, he’s married

That’s right. The former teen idol is off the market for good. To many fans and followers, Bieber’s secret-but-not-for-long marriage to Hailey Baldwin appeared to be a crazy, spur of the moment caper. In fact, Bieber and Baldwin have been friends for a number of years and consider their legal union to be more organic than impromptu.

The couple leaked their legal relationship status after quietly tying the knot in Manhattan last September. They plan to have a bigger, more elaborate wedding with plenty of guests, but no date for the festivities has been set. Baldwin and Bieber also deny rumors that kids are in the immediate future.

Growing up in the spotlight

Bieber’s transition from teen idol to mature adult has not been an easy one. For a time, he turned to Xanax and indiscriminate sexual encounters in an effort to feel alright despite the pummeling he was getting in the press and on social media.

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. My mom always said to treat women with respect. For me that was always in my head while I was doing it, so I could never enjoy it. Drugs put a screen between me and what I was doing. It got pretty dark.”

Marriage is good medicine for Bieber

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin
Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin | Getty Images/Nicholas Hunt

Today, Bieber appears more focused on his spiritual development than his musical career. He credits his newfound stability to the logic and maturity of his spouse.

“I’m the emotionally unstable one. I struggle with finding peace. I just feel like I care so much and I want things to be so good and I want people to like me. Hailey’s very logical and structured, which I need.”

Last summer, the formerly nomadic Bieber bought a house and moved in

After so much time on the road and in hotel rooms, the Biebers are happily settling into a relatively normal home life at their new house near Toronto. Instead of catching planes and staying out all night, the couple like to stay home, watch movies, and dance in their kitchen.

Brand new Bieber

While munching grapes and potato chips, Bieber told Vogue magazine that he can now laugh at his younger self. As he revealed mixed feelings of self mercy and self recrimination, he admits that much of his behavior back in the day was indeed ‘douchey.’

He did, however, defend the monkey situation, explaining that anyone who could afford a monkey would probably have done the same.