Since his 2015 album Purpose, Justin Bieber hasn’t been super active musically. His most recent single as a lead artist is his 2017 BloodPop collaboration “Friends,” and last year, he appeared on Poo Bear’s “Hard 2 Face Reality” with Jay Electronica, and on DJ Khaled’s “No Brainer” alongside Chance The Rapper and Quavo. He’s kept a relatively low profile lately, but now, his new Vogue cover story with wife Hailey Baldwin Bieber (his first lengthy interview in over two years) offers a glimpse at how he’s feeling right now, and what he’s been through over the past few years.
For starters, it looks like he might not be putting new music out any time soon, because even the thought of it is stressful:
“Just thinking about music stresses me out. I’ve been successful since I was thirteen, so I didn’t really have a chance to find who I was apart from what I did. I just needed some time to evaluate myself: who I am, what I want out of my life, my relationships, who I want to be — stuff that when you’re so immersed in the music business you kind of lose sight of.”
Bieber also talked about the stretch a few years ago where he was doing controversial things and was the subject of media scrutiny, and said the shame he felt led him to a “pretty dark” period of drug use:
“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. I think there were times when my security was coming in late at night to check my pulse and see if I was still breathing.”
He also said he hasn’t used a drug since 2014.
Bieber also admitted he used to have “a legitimate problem with sex,” and when he reconnected with Baldwin last June, he was “more than a year into a self-imposed tenure of celibacy.” He said not having sex was a way for him to feel closer to God:
“He doesn’t ask us not to have sex for him because he wants rules and stuff. He’s like, I’m trying to protect you from hurt and pain. 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. 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.”
Bieber disclosed that he wasn’t entirely being himself early on in his career as well, saying, “I was real at first, and then I was manufactured as, slowly, they just took more and more control. […] I started really feeling myself too much. People love me, I’m the sh*t — that’s honestly what I thought. I got very arrogant and cocky. I was wearing sunglasses inside.”
The story includes more about Bieber’s life and relationship with Baldwin, so read the full piece here.