Inside Justin Bieber's Close Relationship With Will Smith

Will Smith has been one of the biggest figures in the entertainment industry for decades; since forming a hip hop duo with DJ Jazzy Jeff in 1985 at the age of only 17, Smith's status as an American hip hop icon only continued to skyrocket. After going on to star as a fictionalized version of himself in the iconic NBC series, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," from 1990 to 1996, Smith became widely acclaimed as an actor and singer, winning four Grammy Awards, an Academy Award from three acting nominations, and a Golden Globe from six acting nominations. 

However, Smith has begun to face increasing scrutiny from the public for some of his recent actions, not least among them his notorious slap of 2022 Oscar presenter Chris Rock, as well as some of the difficult relationships he has with some of his family, most notably involving his eldest child. However, it turns out that there is at least one young star who has had a surprisingly close relationship with the controversial actor for upward of a decade: none other than the young pop star, Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber says he felt so loved by Will Smith

While crafting a profile for The Hollywood Reporter in 2013, Scooter Braun — Justin Bieber's storied manager — spoke of the pop star's close relationship to actor Will Smith, who he said he viewed as a mentor. 

Braun explained that the two celebrities' relationship began earlier that year, when Bieber, then 19, returned home amidst his 2013 "Believe Tour" feeling absolutely exhausted and unmotivated. However, it was none other than Smith himself who — after hearing of Bieber's state — decided to personally drive to Bieber's house and give him an hours-long pep talk. "Man, that makes me feel so loved," Bieber said in response, according to Braun. "I woke up, and there's Will Smith — one of, if not the – biggest movie stars on the planet. He took time out of his day for me."

Apparently, the relationship did not end there. Once Smith earned Bieber's trust, they began weekly calls to discuss anything Bieber may have had on his mind. "When somebody is 19 years old, they are going to do what they are going to do just like we did," Smith said of Bieber at the time, per Extra. "For me, the most important thing was for him to know anytime he can call and I'll come, whatever happens."

Justin Bieber goes way back with the Smiths

Longtime fans of Justin Bieber will remember that one of his earliest collaborations was actually with another notable Smith: Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith. In 2010, Jaden, then only 11, and Bieber, then 16, collaborated together on Bieber's single "Never Say Never," which featured some rap interludes from Jaden. Since then, the two young musicians have developed a close friendship — and professional partnership — which has extended until this day. Most recently, this partnership resulted in a collaboration on Jaden's 2020 song, "Falling for You."

Bieber, who famously grew up without a father, is also unafraid to voice his love for Jaden's father, surely in no small part due to the mentorship he showed the young Bieber during times of hardship. Will's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has also spoken out in support of Bieber and his many personal struggles, defending him and other young stars from public scrutiny in a March 2013 Facebook essay titled, "Are we bullying our young artists?"

When the relationship between Bieber and Will began to blossom, Bieber responded by giving him multiple shoutouts on Twitter. "Love to big man Will Smith for the great talk yesterday," he tweeted in March 2013. "We know the truth and we must stand tall. Love u man!" He followed up the next month by simply writing, "Will Smith is the man!" Of Jaden, he added, "u r cool too."