Justin Bieber’s Complex magazine October/November cover story arrives with the superstar channelling a young Houdini in Dior Homme, shot by David Black, and dishing to interviewer Joe Le Puma.
It’s a fascinating in-depth look into the young icon’s thoughts on everything from former girlfriend Selena Gomez, his faith, wanting to live like Jesus, seeing missteps as learning steps, 24-hours in a cold jail after his Lambo misadventure in Miami, having three or four albums worth of material, an existential analogy involving Taco Bell that’s all kinds of smart, and more.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) September 28, 2015
Among his candid reveals, the Biebs admits his on-off romance with the actress-singer was too intense for both of them at such young age.
Asked what he thought was the biggest lesson from their relationship the Canadian initially joked, saying, “Don’t fall in love,” then said, “No, I’m just kidding. I learned a lot.”
“I moved in with my girlfriend when I was 18,” he recalls, adding, “Started my own life with her. It was a marriage kind of thing. Living with a girl, it was just too much at that age. But we were so in love. Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other.”
With the Justin Bieber-Selena Gomez roller coaster possibly now finally over, the heartthrob offered sage reflections, “But when it’s like that and you get your value from that, people will always disappoint you. Your girl or your dude, they’re always going to disappoint you.”
The 21-year-old continued, “Your full identity can’t be in that person. My identity was in her. Her identity was in me. When stuff would happen, I would lose my freakin’ mind, and she would lose her mind, and we would fight so hard because we were so invested in each other.”
That led to Justin talking about love in general. “Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling,” he noted. “People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her. That’s something in life that I had to figure out. I can’t lean on people. I got to lean on God. I gotta trust in him through all my situations. Then, hopefully, my other relationships will flourish around me.”
Preach. And the wisdom kept right on coming. Looking back on his drama-filled 2013-2014, which — let’s face it — contained just as many entertaining as concerning moments, Justin told Complex, ”I forgot what I was about, what my mom raised me to be. I veered off, and I got tainted.”
“I came into the music industry at 13. I was trying to trust people and they’d break my heart at 15. You have your perceptions of people. There are awesome people who are the lovely, amazing, joyful kind. But I only saw people who are s****y and were taking advantage of me.”
Of the disillusionment that followed he says, “When you have that perspective, the way you act changes. I was basically like, ‘F*** everybody.’ Then I started doing my own thing.”
Addressing one of his post-adolescent exploits: the infamous bucket item, Justin makes the case for a calmer perspective. “Honestly, I think the p*****g in the bucket wasn’t as big as people made it seem,” he argues. “Just because, dude, think about it. Imagine, you hear that f*****g Ozzy Osbourne p****s backstage. Immediately, ‘Oh, he’s a freaking rock star!'”
The superstar continued, “As soon as I do it, ‘He’s being a brat.’ Dude, what is bratty about p*****g in a bucket? I had to go p**s — we all have to pee. The bathroom was like on the other side, and the dude in the club was like, ‘Just pee here.’ He told me I could and it wasn’t like I was being disrespectful. I feel like that was pretty ostracizing — bigger than it should’ve been.”
— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) September 28, 2015
Moving on. Justin had a lot to say about his faith, Christianity, main man Jesus, and his decision to speak up.
“My voice, I’m not gonna let it not be heard anymore. I’m gonna use my voice for a reason,” he declares.
He added, “I think that people, as soon as they start hearing me saying I’m a Christian, they’re like, ‘Whoa Justin, back up, take a step back.’ Also, I do not want to shove this down anyone’s throat.”
The singer confessed, “I just wanna honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus — I could never — I don’t want that to come across weird. He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins.”
He went on to say, “Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something, but I know it’s right, I remember, I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel.”
— Complex (@ComplexMag) September 29, 2015
Lest anyone think the Biebs is banging the drum for any church, he says he advocates cultivating a personal relationship with God.
“Like I said before, Christians leave such a bad taste in people’s mouths, even myself,” he explained. “I was like, I’m not gonna go to church. I had these church friends and I was like, you guys are cool, I like you guys, but I’m not going to church.”
— Complex Style (@ComplexStyle) September 28, 2015
Adding that he thinks of church as “fellowship” and “relationship,” Justin says he looks to God as a way to dealing with life. “If we can understand that we’re all imperfect, let’s come to God and come for his help. You’re not weak by doing that. I think that’s a common misperception of Christians, that you’re being weak because you can’t handle it. None of us can handle this world, dude! It’s eating us alive!
He went on to drop a quote many media heads are calling his best ever. Here it is: “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 28, 2015
Complex’s interview wrapped with the star affirming that his belief in God helped him cope with feeling judged, and feeling better about himself and life. “Nothing is bigger than God. If God’s for me, who can be against me?” Justin asks.
He added, “That’s helped me in a lot of situations where I feel judged. It gives you confidence and you can carry yourself in a cool way, but it’s not cocky. It’s a confidence that’s a godly confidence.”
Signing off, the Biebs said. “I feel that’s what I always want. I wanna be loved for being a good dude and for being confident in myself because I know who I am and what I carry and what I sacrifice.”
Click the highlight for the full Bieber interview over at Complex.
[Images via David Black for Complex, Handout, Getty Images]