It’s no secret that Justin Bieber and former girlfriend Selena Gomez’s last reunion didn’t end well.
Last September, both Gomez and Bieber appeared to emerge bruised and battered from a messy Paris Fashion Week jaunt, then cryptic tweets from the starlet after she returned to the U.S., and subsequent mutual Instagram unfollows.
Fast forward past Gomez’s heartbreak anthem “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” Justin’s ongoing 2015 comeback amid a slew of apologies, rumor mill frenzy, and the Canadian is now opening up about his previously stated single status.
In a new interview with USA Today, Bieber revealed he isn’t looking for a significant other right now, reasoning that he wants to feel stable within himself after the turbulence of the last two years before settling into a long term relationship again.
“Well, at this point in my life I’m so focused on myself that I’m not looking for a girlfriend,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure I’m 100 percent so I can add to the person I want to be with.”
The 21-year-old didn’t mention Gomez, or divulge why their on-off, four-year relationship broke down — seemingly finally. But he did talk about the key quality he says he wants to find in a future girlfriend.
“I want a girl I can trust, who I can lean on,” the heartthrob explains. “This business is hard and I want someone I can confide in.”
To hear Bieber tell it, his trust issues don’t just extend to a potential soulmate. He says he has made changes in his circle of friends and parted ways with former crew members he felt weren’t positive influences.
“I left a lot of people behind who weren’t on the same journey I was on, and I’ve got a lot of new people in my life who are pouring into me, and not taking away from me,” he said.
And it seems the friends still in Bieber’s life can see the results of his house-cleaning and self-work.
“Well, my eyes,” he said when asked what his friends would say was the biggest change in him. “You know how you can tell a person by their eyes, their intentions, and where they’re at? Well, my eyes changed — they got softer and brighter. They’re open. I have more of a grasp of who I am at this point.”
During the interview, Bieber also revealed these inner and external changes meant he had to go back to the drawing board with his in-progress, new album, since it no longer reflects the “dark place” he was in when he “lost hope for a while.”
“It’s changed everything. My whole direction has changed,” he says.”What you are thinking about all the time is what you write, and now that I’m thinking about more positive things, it completely changes my music.”
Bieber continued, “I had to re-do my whole [new] album. It was done but it didn’t match up to where I am now and where my head’s at. I want to tell my story, but I also want to give people hope,” adding, “it’s about getting out of that rut,” and “knowing that there’s sunshine on the other side.”
Amid reveals that he is well on his way to wrapping his new album with Kanye West and legendary super-producer Rick Rubin on co-production chores, Bieber was probed about the concept of his new album.
“[It’s] about growing, being in touch with yourself,” the singer explains. “What can I say, it’s life experiences, and knowing that you can and get back up and keep going.”
Elaborating, Bieber went on, “Hope and faith, that’s what’s gotten me through this too, my faith. What I believe in. You’re around some people sometimes and it might taint what you believe.” He added, “I think that’s what happened with me, I lowered my beliefs.”
“It’s a grown-up version of Justin and I think people will be shocked,” Bieber summed.
One Comedy Central Roast and several heartfelt apologies later (one of which he made at the end of his roast) Bieber is ready to “make it about the music,” according to his Tuesday tweet about his banging new Jack Ü collaboration, “Where Are Ü Now.”
Having publicly owned up to inappropriate behavior and decisions — which can, arguably, be put down to late teen missteps — Bieber also told USA Today one of the downsides of fame was the lack of privacy and judgment of strangers. But, to his credit, Bieber affirmed he is taking responsibility for his actions going forward.
“Growing up in front of the cameras since I was 13, 14. You need to have those mess-ups without anyone judging you, and that’s not something I was able to do,” he insists. “I think that people realize, they see it now, the transition.”
Bieber continued, “We can talk and do interviews and I can say I’m in a better place, but until they see the walk, and see the transition come to life — that’s what’s really going to matter.”
[Images via Getty Images]