Justin Bieber returned to his native Canada this weekend. Many would say less the conquering hero, and more a teen superstar apparently going through some interesting growing pains.
But, while recent months have seen the 19-year-old face mounting media criticism over incidents such as — late shows, allegations of paparazzo assaults, an alleged reckless driving investigation, footage of him urinating into a kitchen mop bucket in a New York City nightclub, and a new spitting allegation — not surprisingly his family are backing their boy.
Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, whose 2012 best selling autobiography Nowhere But Up detailed her teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, adolescent experimentation with drugs and alcohol, depression and her suicide attempt, is currently on a national tour with the new teen edition.
Speaking to various media outlets while signing copies of her book in Ottawa on Tuesday ahead of Bieber’s show, Mallette said she talks to her son about the same things she says help the girls who read her book and contact her on Twitter.
“The way I look at it is, regardless of whatever is in the headlines,” the 38-year-old mom told Ottawa Citizen, “there are always people who need that hope and inspiration.”
“Regardless of what my son is up to today or tomorrow, it doesn’t change the fact that I am out here to share my story with other people because my story is what is going to give them hope.”
Having previously said she thinks Justin is getting a “bad rap” from the press, Mallette insists she is not riding her son’s coattails. While being Bieber’s mom is what initially draws interest, she adds:
“[But] When they hear my story, that is what hits a chord. They say ‘Hey, I am a big fan of Justin’s, but I am here because of you’.”
Bieber’s grandparents, who featured in the 2011 movie-biopic Never Say Never, had strong words about the backlash — [and in some cases demonstrably false or negatively skewed news stories] — and the general public disapproval that now trails their grandson.
“It’s totally crazy,” Diane Dale, Bieber’s grandmother told CTV News Ottawa. “I feel sorry for Justin all the time because paparazzi pick on him all the time. Anybody else’s kids have done the same thing but nobody says anything.”
Bieber’s grandfather also weighed in with a pointedly, direct comment.
“He’s just a 19 year old boy,” said Bruce Dale, “and before you criticize him, say, what is my 19-year-old boy doing?”
After visiting his Stratford, Ontario hometown on Monday, the pop star played Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Center on Tuesday. The teen singer is set to perform at Toronto’s Air Canada Center on July 25 and 26.
While the Bieber debate continues; for his family, clearly it’s personal.
Slideshow Of Bieber Visiting Stratford, Ontario on July 22, 2013.