For Justin Bieber’s mother, the last few weeks can’t have been easy.
As a tide of negative headlines engulfs the son she helped propel to stardom, Pattie Mallette has finally spoken out about how it feels to watch a storm she can’t control.
Speaking to Access Hollywood this morning — ostensibly to promote her new film Crescendo, a story about the German composer Beethoven and his young mother’s decision to keep her baby despite having an abusive husband — the 37-year-old author and producer shared her thoughts about the recent battery allegation against her son.
Of the still murky facts behind the claim made by a male neighbor at her son’s Calabasas, California home alleging Bieber spat at and threatened him during a Tuesday argument, Mallette sounded remarkably laissez-faire about what has now become a police investigation.
“You know, it’s crazy, sometimes I learn things on the Internet just the same as everybody else. And that was the story, yeah.”
On the timeline of the alleged battery and whether her touring son was actually at home on Tuesday, she was equally frank.
“Actually I just got back from being on tour with him. He’s only been here 24 hours. He’s back on tour now. He was at his place, I was at mine.”
Previously speaking out about creative tabloid reports regarding Bieber’s well documented “rough week” in London, the one-time wild adolescent said:
“I think him being 19, you know, I just gotta let go a little and let him make some of his own decisions. I’m sure you can appreciate as a mom how I feel when I read some of these stories. I come at it from a different angle.”
Elaborating, Mallette said “he’s growing up. He’s 19. I mean, he’s not my baby. I want to be able to take away free will sometimes and be able to do everything for him, but …”
While some people might think this still relatively young mother should take a firmer approach to her son’s life choices, it’s likely just as many will resonate with her struggle to balance the gap between being an interfering or supportive parent.
Surprisingly — given Selena Gomez’s recent ‘Bieber burn’ on Late Night with David Letterman — Mallette revealed she has kept in touch with the Spring Breakers star since her split with her son.
“[Selena’s] a sweetheart. I’ll always love and respect her,” she said. “Whatever Justin chooses – obviously, it’s his life.”
The glamorous mom added: “I’ve talked to her [since the breakup].”
Clearly not taking sides, Mallette’s seemingly breezy attitude could be a result of an early life filled with plenty of heartache. As a child she displayed a talent for singing and acting winning a number of awards. But — for reasons that may have been financial — her parents were unable to let her join a Toronto-based talent agency that wanted to sign her up.
Sexually abused as a child, she experimented with hard drugs and alcohol from the age of 14, acting out with theft, fire vandalism, a school suspension, before beginning a relationship at 15 (to 19) with Jeremy Bieber — her son’s father — amid depression and a suicide attempt at 17 that led to a stay in a mental ward. She says Christianity turned her life around.
When she became pregnant at 18, despite advice from others she refused to have an abortion and raised her son largely on her own in low income housing. Returning to school in later life she earned a high school diploma, before going on to college to study web design.
Many years, a harrowing autobiography — Nowhere But Up — and numerous several television credits later, Mallette says her interest in the mother’s story in Crescendo is something she related to on a very personal level.
“We both have a musical son and just the fact that she tried to take her own life … I tried to take my life when I was 17,” she said.
Impressively, Crescendo’s proceeds will help finance crisis pregnancy centers around the world, a neat symmetry given that Mallette once lived in a single mothers’ residence during her pregnancy.
“I don’t know where we’d be today without that place,” she said. “The center that I lived in had to close its doors for lack of funds. I want to make sure that that doesn’t happen.”
Certainly to some observers the judgement cup on Bieber may be overflowing, but Mallette has a distinctly different take on the media circus surrounding her son and her decision to let him find his own path.
Having been to the edge herself, literally jumped and survived, before finding a belief system that works for her, Pattie’s perspective may just be the saving grace of Bieber as he navigates the storms of today and tomorrow.
For his part, her son told Us Weekly in an interview revealed today:
“I know who I am and I’m not gonna let negativity towards me bring me down. I’m a positive person and I plan on staying that way. This business can break you down, but I have a strong team around me, and my family and all the fans. The love overcomes the negativity. I’m not perfect but I’m growing and trying to be better everyday. That’s part of life.”
Justin Bieber singing “Up” with chorus lyric from Mallette’s autobiography.