After being plucked from his ordinary life in Stratford, Ontario, Justin Bieber rose to success at a rapid pace. In a very short period of time, he went from being an unknown kid from Canada to being one of the world’s most famous pop sensations with an internationally recognized face. His life was thrown into the spotlight and all his successes… and challenges… became a public affair.
We’ve all watched Justin soar to the top, then fall considerably from grace, citing mental health struggles and addiction as being among his greatest challenges. Fame carries with it the heavy burden of living under the scrutiny of the public eye. Justin has had many encounters which were less than savory as he’s journeyed through stardom. Let’s take a look at 20 photos of Justin Bieber just trying to hold his life together.
20 Not Giving Up
Justin has engaged his audience in his struggle, seeming fearless about the judgment of his current situation. He has been known to release his emotions and personal thoughts freely on his own social media outlets. This seems to have given Justin some much-needed control over his life.
In his own way, taking to social media seems to have given him some power over what and when to post, and he has seemingly found some comfort in sharing this personal battle in a public way – flipping the script from the public making demands on him to create new music and perform. He’s doing things his way now, and is sharing his battles with the world in hopes of inspiring others to continue to fight and make it through their battles as well.
19 Comfort From Hailey
The love that Selena and Justin shared was a real one. In 2018, Selena was hospitalized for mental health issues and Justin seemed inconsolable after hearing the news. They were not in an intimate relationship at the time, but his feelings for her remained intact and the news of her mental health struggles really seemed to shake Justin to the core. Clearly distressed, Hailey is seen comforting him as best as she can, while he cries in sadness and frustration about Selena’s health. He must have drawn some parallels to his own life during this process.
18 Therapy Sessions
Justin is seen here, once again putting his private struggles forward on his social media outlets. Ironically, his ability to attain any personal, private time seems to have led him down this path, yet he seems eager to publicly display the steps he takes on the road to recovery. We hope the millions of fans he has pay close attention to his message. His time off for self-healing and preservation is being positioned as “cool”, and he may be single-handedly obliterating the negative stigma that surrounds mental health issues. Clearly he’s at a weak point in this image, but we credit him for using it to generate some positivity in the lives of his fans.
17 Skateboarding Therapy
Justin is definitely not looking his best here. He’s had enough of the camera, and he seems fed up with society’s judgment. He looks unkempt and almost unrecognizable – which we’re sure was the whole idea in the first place. This photo was taken in South Bay, LA, when Justin took to the streets for some stress-relief by skateboarding. We hope it worked out for him as the day progressed, because at the time this photo was taken, it sure didn’t look like he’d found his happy place.
16 Art Amid The Pain
For so many, tattoos are a form of self-expression, rooted in painful or difficult experiences. This image of Justin in his younger years really foreshadowed the times that would lie ahead for him. He was young, famous, and struggling to keep up with a very public and fast-paced life. The demands on him soon became too much to handle, and rumors of his addiction started to rise to the surface. His on-again, off-again relationship with Selena Gomez was becoming stressful and you can see Justin here, just struggling to keep it all together, seemingly lost and overwhelmed by the chaos that surrounds his daily life.
15 Litigation Issues
In January of 2014, Justin Bieber, disheveled, stressed, and clearly not in a good personal state, surrendered himself to Toronto Police. He was facing charges that stemmed from an assault on a limousine driver the month before. Although the charges were dropped, they had a clear impact on his overall well-being and his stress levels. This wasn’t Justin’s first, or last run-in with the law. He was progressing through some very tumultuous times and had become no stranger to litigation and police involvement, due to his uncontrollable behavior.
14 First Mug-Shot
He may be smiling, but we know he’s not happy. In an effort to downplay the dire situation he was facing, Justin posed with a smile for his first mug-shot back in 2014, at the young age of juts 19. He was arrested in Miami for driving under the influence, underage drinking, driving with an expired license, and resisting arrest. That’s a lot of mistakes for this young boy to make all at once. We won’t soon forget this photo, nor will he, as this was the start of many more arrests and encounters with law enforcement which sent Justin spiraling out of control.
13 Courtroom Fame
For a kid that had eventually become accustomed to living life in front of the cameras, we’re sure this sort of notoriety was not what he had envisioned for himself. News channels everywhere were tuned into his arrest and subsequent bail, as everyone watched to see what would happen to his fate, and his future. A skinny, defeated, drained looking Justin sat in embarrassment as the world cast judgment on the choices he was making in his personal life. This was just the beginning of his long and bumpy road with court battles and media scrutiny.
12 Feeble Wave
In a futile attempt to look “strong” and “unaffected,” Justin is seen here being released from prison. We don’t often seen Justin hiding behind sunglasses, but this day was clearly too much for him, and they seemed to be much needed. While we respect the effort to put forward some strong recognition to the crowd, it’s obvious that he is weak, and barely holding on. We’re sure he was happy to get into the vehicle and away from all the prying eyes of the press.
11 The Hits Keep Coming
We’re not entirely sure what was happening in this photograph, but we are definitely certain that Justin is not at his best- far from it. Perhaps he was dodging all the harsh realities of his life at the time this was taken. He was found guilty for assault and careless driving in 2015, accused of punching a fan in the face in 2016, and Justin faced charges for hitting a paparazzo in 2017… just to name a few. There seems to be at least an annual encounter with law enforcement that is of a serious nature. Justin didn’t fall apart suddenly – he appeared to be on a slippery slope for quite some time.
10 Falling Apart
Once again, we see Justin losing control of his emotions with Hailey strongly standing by his side. Whatever battles he was facing on this day, they seemed to be too much for him to handle on his own, and we’re happy to see Hailey is with him, providing him with some much-needed care. This is not the first time a photo was taken with Justin crying in a vehicle. There are many photos of him snapped when he assumed he was having a private moment.
This photo was taken by Vogue on March 3rd, 2018, at the time that Justin’s relationship with Selena had come to a final close. This is a far cry from the perfectly coiffed hair we’re used to seeing on Justin. The seamless hair he used to sport was part of his signature look and was copied by fans across the world. He’s clearly let himself go and is displaying to us on the outside how he feels on the inside. Clearly this break-up took a toll on his self-esteem and caused internal turmoil that tore him up and wore heavily on him.
8 Solitude Needed
Justin has not been shy about revealing his emotional side. He’s been captured on video crying many times before, and has used his own social media to relay messages of his struggles and his dedication to overcoming them. Seen here isolated in his dressing room, it’s obvious that the lights and cameras are just too much for young Justin. He looks defeated and in need of the quiet time he seems to have found in this space. The signs of defeat are visible, and clearly the cost of fame has been too much for him to handle.
7 Struggling To Be Normal
Despite his obvious efforts to blend in, Justin Bieber just can’t seem to be faceless among a crowd. He’s trying to look like an average person, but all he appears to be is a disheveled version of himself. There seems to be no opportunity for anonymity, which may be the precise reason that Justin has crumbled both in front of the cameras, and behind the scenes. He looks pale and tired in this photograph, and he seems to just want to get out of the visibility of the camera and into the waiting car. The smiley face on his hat is the only sign of positivity in this image.
6 Deep-Rooted Issues
Cosmopolitan reported on this post which Justin put up a week after he postponed his marriage due to mental health issues. He went on to describe his current state, and why he wasn't releasing new music at this time. Released in March of 2019, he described himself as having “deep rooted issues” and went on about the struggles he’s battling in his life.
We credit the youngster for recognizing his issues and taking some well-deserved time to address them. He admits to needing to focus on his marriage and his mental health, and promises to be back soon. It sounds like the break is precisely what he needs to hit the reset button and hopefully come back to the world of music once again.
5 Marriage Postponed
So often, we watch celebrities fall from grace, crumble under pressure, and hit rock bottom. We saw the devastating effects of mental health when we lost Robin Williams not so long ago, in the most tragic way. We have to give Justin some credit for the level of awareness he has and his willingness to better himself before he hits an even lower point.
Credit can also be thrown in Hailey Baldwin’s direction, as she is clearly a pillar of strength to Justin at this time. Seen here in recent months, it’s clear to see the postponement of their wedding has them both feeling a bit defeated. It was the best decision for Justin’s health, but no doubt, this was a difficult reality for them to embrace.
4 Bad Decisions
In September of 2019, Justin Bieber engaged in a candid conversation about his issues with addiction, while being interviewed by the Today Show. Seen here on his way to the interview, he looks fed up with life and the stresses that bombard him. During the interview he discussed the material items he had access to, and the admiration of millions of fans across the world, and how this spiraled him into a world of addiction as the pressure bore down. He was quoted as saying “ By 20, I made every bad decision you could have thought of… ” His mental health clearly was taking a hit for a long time before he was able to apply the brakes and seek the self-care he needed.
3 Dazed Looking
As we see this image of a young, lost, and very depressed Justin Bieber, the reality of fame suddenly becomes hard to deny. Justin has as many fans as he does haters, and he has admitted to being affected by the constant ridiculing he faced on social media and when out in the public sphere.
At the time this photo was taken, it was evident that he had turned to his addictions as a way of blocking out the “noise” that happened behind the scenes of his life. Being a kid from a quiet town is very different than being exposed to millions of demanding fans and critical heavyweights in the music industry.
This is a sad, distraught, and confused version of Justin Bieber, barely holding it together in the public sphere. This photo was taken on June 9th of 2019, the day PopCrush reported the news that Selena Gomez had deleted the last remaining photo of Justin from her Instagram account. At the time, Selena was the “most followed” person on Instagram, so this was a very public, bold statement made for the world to see. Surely the effects it had on Justin were deeper than the look on his face, and even that looks painful. Their on-again, off-again relationship has spanned over several years, and this seemed to be her final act of ensuring Justin was left in her past.
1 The Coldness Of Fame
This image really captures Justin’s inner struggle. Just look at the pain in his eyes. Contrasted against the spotlight of the stage, this really shows the paradox of success and fame. Clearly he’s in his element – the stage, the music, the performance that he does so well… yet in this image, it’s evident that none of this is making him happy. He has tears in his eyes and his facial expression shows the pain, and the pressure. It can’t be easy to live up to the expectations of so many fans, and clearly this pressure has taken away from his ability to feel the warmth of the spotlight that he’s under.
Sources: Popsugar, CBC, TorontoStar, TMZ, Vogue