Rob Haskell’s extraordinary Vogue interview with Justin Bieber and his newlywed Hailey Baldwin is quite the headline maker.
It turns out that Justin had year of celibacy after a period of abusing Xanax, much promiscuity, and depression. He admits to cancelling the last 14 dates on his most recent tour because he was lonely and depressed.
Even though he says he’s not “religious,” Bieber has spent a lot of time finding God and living with or depending on self-appointed pastors of huge pay as you go churches like Carl Lentz’s Hillsong and Churchome, Judah Smith’s Seattle-based ministry. Haskell’s story is of a kid who is a mess, basically. He was also suffering from anxiety attacks.
He tells Haskell: “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.”
Justin also got involved with another wacky, Scientology like group called The Hoffman Process, which is trying to spread its influence in Hollywood among more insecure, uneducated actors and singers. He was smart enough to reject it. “There were these séances,” he explains. “Or not really séances but these traditions. They light candles, and it kind of freaked me out. You sit on a mat, you put a pillow down, and you beat your past out of it. I beat the fact that my mom was depressed a lot of my life and my dad has anger issues. Stuff that they passed on that I’m kind of mad they gave me.”
Haskell’s story is not funny, it’s sad. It’s about a kid whose mother turned him over to celebrity after the father abandoned them. Bieber has no education, no foundation, is unsophisticated about the world, has a fortune, and no clear path forward.
But one funny thing, vis a vis Vogue, is his description about being so isolated that he’d taken to wearing sunglasses at night, and inside. Sound like someone we know? I wonder if Anna Wintour read that line, the one laugh out loud moment.
It’s a little unclear why Bieber (and presumably manager Scooter Braun) went for this Vogue cover now. Bieber hasn’t had an album in 4 years, there’s no sign of one on the horizon. He’s had scattered hit singles as a guest on other people’s records, but that’s it. For Haskell and Vogue, it’s a scoop interview, however. Congrats to them.