The Transformation Of Justin Bieber From 12 To 27 Years Old

As a culture, we've watched Justin Bieber grow from a bowl-cut, little cutie pie into a man and musician in his own right. The details of his story of origin are common news now to anyone remotely invested in pop culture: he grew up in Canada, was raised by a single mother, got found on YouTube, according to Billboard, and hit some rough patches along the way.

In fact, these rough patches defined much of Bieber's bildungsroman enough that his reputation was, for a time, sullied. It seems to be the trajectory of any major pop star. Look at Britney Spears, look at Taylor Swift. For different reasons, any child star who still wants cred as an adult seems to have to pass through a stage of media-frenzied rejection. Whether this is fair or even ethical is another matter.

But Bieber has persisted, rallied, and quite honestly changed. So let's take a look at this remarkable transformation.

Justin broke down crying while recording Lonely

Justin Bieber released a YouTube docuseries in 2020 called Seasons to give fans a more candid glimpse of his life. In a follow-up, called New Chapter, Bieber said that in moments throughout his life, he felt "really, really suicidal." The echoes of Bieber's statement sounds a lot like that of Meghan Markle in her famous interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It hasn't been easy for Bieber and, to be fair, he's also made some fumbles along the way. But, as GQ points out, Bieber never forgets these because he's not allowed to forget them. "Justin Bieber has an encyclopedic knowledge of his public f**kups. He could recite his list off the top of his head, because he is asked to revisit its contents every time he is interviewed."

In his song "Lonely," Bieber sings about this exact experience. "Everybody saw me sick / and it felt like no one gave a sh** / They criticized the things I did as an idiot kid."

The experience of recording "Lonely" was as challenging as it was honest. In an interview with Billboard in March 2021, co-writer Benny Blanco Finneas told the outlet that Bieber broke down crying while recording the song. He said, "This is the most honest Justin you're going to get."

Bieber doesn't own a cell phone

Considering his younger days, Justin Bieber is considerably tame as a 27-year-old. In an interview with Billboard published on March 13, 2021, Bieber goes over his schedule. He stops work for the day at 6 p.m. to have quality time with wife Hailey Bieber, where they usually spend the evening watching a movie. He wakes up around 8 a.m. and meets with his management.

The most amazing detail of his daily life is that he uses an iPad for online communication because he doesn't own a cell phone. Bieber has a specific reason for this lack of technology. "I definitely learned how to have boundaries, and I just don't feel like I owe anybody anything," Bieber told Billboard. "That has helped me to be able to just say no and just be firm in it and know that my heart [wants] to help people, but I can't do everything. I want to sometimes, but it's just not sustainable."

It's been a slow transition out of constant communication via a cell phone. In an interview with GQ from 2016, Bieber still had a phone at this time but never texted. "I don't want people to feel like they can just get in contact with me that easy," Bieber explained. So it was only a matter of time until he gave up his phone altogether.

Justin Bieber turned to faith after being 'burned' by people so many times

We'd be missing a major topic in Justin Bieber's transformation if we didn't talk about his spiritual journey. In fact, Bieber himself talks about his spiritual journey openly. But Bieber's also been disappointed along the way. The famous Hillsong Church, to which Bieber belonged, announced in November 2020 that its pastor Carl Lentz, was fired for "moral failures," according to People.

Lentz had been close to Bieber, even baptizing him and walking him through his relationship with Selena Gomez, so it was obviously a huge blow. But even before this disappointment, Bieber turned to religion because of being let down by people, so it was almost as if he saw it coming. In his 2016 interview with GQ, Bieber said, "I've had people that burned me so many times." He added, "If we invest everything we have in a human, we're gonna get broken."

Bieber said, "It just gives me some sort of hope and something to grasp onto, and a feeling of security, and a feeling of being wanted, and a feeling of being desired, and I feel like we can only get so much of that from a human."

Hailey Bieber is good for his career and him

Justin Bieber married Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) in New York at a private civil ceremony on Sept. 13, 2018, according to Vogue. They followed up on this intimate moment with a lavish wedding in Bluffton, South Carolina, per Billboard, almost exactly a year later in September 2019.

While the details of their romance and relationship are all over the internet, including both of their social media profiles, Hailey has proven to be an asset to Bieber even in terms of music output and, not to be crass, but business itself. Allison Kaye, who co-manages Bieber along with Scooter Braun, spoke of Hailey's calming effect to Billboard in March 2021, calling her a "godsend."

"There are very few people in my life where you're like, 'Everything's going to be better if their spouse is here,'" Kaye told the outlet. "Days that I know Hailey's coming to set, I'm like, 'This is going to be the greatest day ever.'"

Bieber himself understands how much Hailey brings to his life: "One thing that has been so helpful is my wife is so by the book," Bieber told Billboard. "She's so structured and routine and so responsible."

From boss to leader... just not a minister

Justin Bieber's transformation is evident all around him. From a career that launched in 2009 thanks to Scooter Braun spotting him on YouTube, Bieber has taken on the world.

Rumors broke that he had aspirations to become a minister but Bieber debunked those stories. On Dec. 31, 2020, Page Six published a piece claiming that the pop star was planning on taking a leadership position at Hillsong Church after the church fired Carl Lentz.

However, on Jan. 4, 2021, Beiber took a screenshot of the article and shared it on Instagram Stories, according to Today, and denied the story. "I'm not studying to be a minister or anything even close to that. Have no desire for that. This is fake news," Bieber wrote. "And BTW Hillsong is not my church. For clarity I am a part of Churchome."

While Bieber isn't taking on a traditional role of leadership in the religious sense, his growth is evident all around him. In regard to his apparent transformation, his co-manager Allison Kaye told Billboard: "He's not even becoming a boss — he's becoming a leader. It's such a beautiful thing to see out of someone whom you've known since he was, like, 12."