It’s hard to find someone on earth who doesn’t know Justin Bieber, but there was a time when he was an unknown kid from Canada. However, a chance encounter online changed his life forever when music mogul, Scooter Braun, saw a video of Bieber performing on YouTube.
Bieber had a love of music from an early age, but no one would have guessed that he would become an international pop sensation. His raw talent took him to the big stage, and most of his life has played out in front of the public eye. Between all of his ups and downs, Bieber is finding his way.
Raised by a Single Mom
On March 1, 1994, at 12:56 AM on a Tuesday, Pattie Mallette and Jeremy Bieber welcomed their son Justin into the world. Mallette was just a teenager when she had Bieber, and Jeremy left her to take care of their son on her own. His mom had to work hard to provide for him.
Bieber grew up in the small town of Stratford, Ontario, where his grandparents lived nearby. While his mom worked several low-paying office jobs to make ends meet, her parents helped take care of Bieber. They didn’t have much, but Mallette tried to give her son the world.
He Had Natural Talent
When Bieber was just a toddler, he became interested in music. Mallette would bring him to hang out with her friends who were in a band, and Bieber would stand right next to the drummer watching his every move. He started banging on whatever he could use as a drum.
Everyone was amazed because Bieber had amazing timing without any lessons or practice. From the drums, Bieber started to learn chords on the guitar. He quickly learned how to play the instruments just by listening, and everyone saw he was naturally gifted. Bieber’s family encouraged him to explore his musical talents.
Playing for a Crowd
The band from Bieber’s church noticed his skills and invited him to play in a benefit at a local hotel. Bieber had to learn four jazz standards, which was difficult for an eight-year-old, but he was up for it. The benefit raised enough money to buy Bieber a Pearl drum set.
He was so young but playing in front of a crowd didn’t bother him. Bieber just loved to play music, so he didn’t focus on the people watching him. Soon, he taught himself how to play the piano and decided to play the trumpet in the school band.
He Started Busking
Bieber was about 12 when he asked his mom if he could play in front of the Avon Theater. He would sit on the steps with a rented guitar and belt out his favorite songs. People would leave money in his guitar case and take videos of the young singer.
His voice filled the area and attracted a big crowd. Bieber never had a voice lesson, but he decided to participate in Stratford Idol. Although he came in second place, it gave him the attention he needed. Bieber was a great performer and didn’t stress if he made a mistake.
Posting on YouTube
As he gained more attention, Bieber’s family wanted to see him perform. They were spread out across different provinces, so Bieber asked his mom if he could post a video on YouTube for his family to watch. It quickly gained thousands of views.
People started requesting songs, so Bieber started posting more videos. He quickly racked up more than 100,000 subscribers, and his friends were shocked. Strangers came to Bieber’s channel to watch him sing, and the videos also caught the attention of someone who would change his life.
Not What She Expected
Mallette was fairly religious, and she prayed that God would use Bieber to be the voice of his generation. She thought he could be a youth pastor or sing on a Christian label, but that wasn’t God’s plan. Instead, an Atlanta-based music manager contacted them.
Scooter Braun randomly found Bieber while looking for new artists on YouTube and started watching his videos. Bieber had about six videos at the time, and Braun was hooked when he watched Bieber’s cover of Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” He canceled all his meetings to find Bieber.
Searching for Bieber
Since Bieber’s YouTube page didn’t have any contact details, Braun contacted anyone he could find who possibly knew Bieber. Mallette got a call from her friend saying, “A man named Scooter Braun is trying to reach you.” Braun contacted everyone from Bieber’s great-aunt to the school board.
He also reached out to the Avon Theater, hoping they would have some information. Mallette was confused and used an unknown number to call Braun to tell him to stop calling. However, Braun and Mallette talked for a few hours and he invited them to Atlanta.
The Trip of a Lifetime
Mallette was reluctant to go, but the church elders convinced her to take Bieber to meet Braun. He told them there were no strings attached, and if they weren’t interested, it was a free vacation. At 13, Bieber and his mom went to Atlanta, Georgia, to see Braun.
Bieber was amazed from the moment he saw Braun’s purple Mercedes. As they pulled up to the studio, Usher was also walking into the building. Bieber ran to him, saying he was his biggest fan, and asked if he could sing one of Usher’s songs.
Usher thought Bieber was Braun’s young cousin and said, “Thank you. It’s cold outside, don’t worry about it.” That small rejection wouldn’t be Bieber’s last. Braun didn’t have much experience, but he believed in Bieber. He started flying him to and from Atlanta to record demos.
Unfortunately, no one wanted to work with Bieber. Many record executives said there wasn’t a platform for the young singer, and he needed Disney or Nickelodeon to get his career started. Braun realized Bieber needed some credibility, so he called his pal Usher.
It Was a No-Brainer
Braun got Bieber a meeting with Usher, and he performed “U Got It Bad.” Usher was immediately impressed with Bieber’s voice and wanted to take him to LA Reid of Island Def Jam Music. Reid had signed artists like Pink, Mariah Carey, and more, so it was a big honor.
When Reid met Bieber, he thought he was the “Macaulay Culkin of music.” He knew Bieber could be the next big thing and said Usher brought him a gift. In October 2008, Reid signed Bieber to Island Records as a joint venture with Usher’s recording label.
Moving to the US
Bieber was in the middle of eighth grade when he signed to the record label. Despite being in middle school, he wanted to pursue his music dreams, so Mallette and Bieber moved to Atlanta to be closer to Braun and Usher. Braun also became his official manager.
It was hard to leave his grandparents behind, but they wanted him to follow his dreams. However, when he got to Atlanta, the record label was slow to get him in the studio. Braun wanted to prepare him, so he brought Mama Jan to be Bieber’s voice coach.
Taking Over the World
After a slow start, Bieber finally got into the studio and started recording his debut album. His team brought in various songwriters and artists to help create Bieber’s album, and the first single was “One Time.” The song was released before the album was finished.
It took some convincing to get radio stations to play the song, but once they started, it blew up. “One Time” reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 during its first week and peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. Soon the song became an international success.
It Was Unheard Of
Bieber’s first album, My World, was released on November 17, 2009. The album made Bieber the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album on the Billboard Hot 100. Millions of people ordered Bieber’s album, and his success was something no one had seen before.
The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC took a few years to gain fame, but Bieber did it overnight. A massive group of fans lined up everywhere he went to see him. Bieber’s name was everywhere, and he performed on every talk show from Ellen to Chelsea Lately.
As Bieber became increasingly famous, his fanbase grew by the millions. Girls were obsessed with him and would do anything to see him. The media named the craze “Bieber Fever,” and it was like Beatle Mania. His fans caused chaos when they knew he would be somewhere.
Bieber Fever spread across the world, and he got mobbed whenever he was in public. He was no longer a normal teenager at 15. Girls would hyperventilate over him, and it created some dangerous situations. But there wasn’t a vaccine for this fever.
In January 2010, Bieber’s second album, My World 2.0, was released. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Bieber became the youngest solo male artist to top the chart since Stevie Wonder in 1963. It featured hits like “Baby” with Ludacris and “Never Let You Go.”
The album’s success led Bieber to start his first headline tour, the My World tour. The tour kicked off on June 23, 2010, and by July, he was the most-searched-for celebrity on the Internet. His music video for “Baby” also became the most viewed video on YouTube.
His Biggest Goal
One of the many stops of Bieber’s tour was Madison Square Garden. It represents the pinnacle of success for an artist and being able to sell it out was Bieber’s goal. Many professionals doubted that Bieber could sell out the Garden at 16, but he proved them wrong.
Many greats like Michael Jackson, U2, and Bon Jovi have sold out Madison Square Garden, but Bieber did it faster than any of them. Just 23 months after he was discovered, Bieber sold out the most coveted entertainment venue in 22 minutes!
Big Screen Debut
During his My World Tour, cameras followed Bieber during the ten days leading up to his first Madison Square Garden performance. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never showed his journey from childhood to superstardom and was released in 2011. It featured his loyal fans, family, and friends.
Everyone who was part of Bieber’s journey until that point shared the ups and downs of his success. Never Say Never grossed over $99 million against a $13 million budget. It was the highest-grossing music concert movie since 1984. Everything he did turned to gold.
Going Through Changes
When My World 2.0 came out, Bieber’s voice was deeper than on his debut album because of puberty. He might have been an international superstar, but that didn’t stop him from getting older. His voice started to crack, reminding everyone that he was just a teenager.
In regard to his vocals, Bieber said, “It cracks. Like every teenage boy, I’m dealing with it, and I have the best vocal coach in the world.” He couldn’t hit some of the same notes he used to, but he changed to a lower key to match his changing vocals.
Collaborating With the Biggest Artists
Following the success of Never Say Never, Bieber released Never Say Never – The Remixes. The album featured remixes of his top hits with guest appearances from Miley Cyrus, The Rascal Flatts, Chris Brown, Kanye West, and Jaden Smith. He was a force to be reckoned with.
In 2011, Bieber was on Time’s list of 100 most influential people. Everyone in the industry was watching him. When he performed at Madison Square Garden for the first time, everyone from Drake and Snoop Dogg to Will Smith came to see him perform.
Changing Up His Look
As Bieber became a teen pop sensation, his haircut became iconic. This long, swooshy style was part of his signature look for the first part of his career, but Bieber wanted to upgrade his style as he started to get older. When Bieber turned 17, he made big changes to his look.
In 2011, Bieber cut his hair, opting for a more mature style. He also pierced his ears and started wearing different clothes. Bieber gave Ellen DeGeneres a lock of hair, which she auctioned off for a whopping $40,668. Almost 100 people wanted a piece of his hair.
His First Love
With his changing look, Bieber also debuted a new lady. After claiming they had been friends for a while, Bieber and Selena Gomez made their public debut as a couple at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in 2011. They instantly became the most popular couple in Hollywood.
It was young love, and Bieber wasn’t afraid to show Gomez how much he loved her. He went as far as renting out the Staples Center so they could watch Titanic together. Jelena (Justin + Selena) packed on the PDA at high-profile events.
Baby Mama Drama
When you are as famous as Bieber, people will do anything to ruin your image. Although his romance with Gomez looked picture-perfect, Bieber was embroiled in a weeks-long scandal towards the end of 2011. A fan claimed Bieber fathered her child.
Mariah Yeater claimed that Bieber lost his virginity to her at one of his concerts and got her pregnant. She sued Bieber and asked him to take a paternity test and provide “adequate support” for her baby. Bieber agreed to take the test to share the truth.
Not the Father
Just as Bieber said, he was not the father of Yeater’s baby. The paternity test showed that Yeater was lying, and Bieber planned to sue her and her lawyers for creating a fake story. Yeater’s ex-boyfriend said Yeater made the story up to make money from the tabloids.
She picked Bieber because she knew he was famous and rich. She sold her story to get money. Yeater’s ex felt bad that Bieber got tangled in his personal drama. Few people truly believed Yeater’s story in the first place, but it still made headlines.
Things Got Complicated
Although they put the drama behind them, Bieber and Gomez had busy careers that took them all over the world. They were both young, and sometimes things just don’t work. Because they were apart often, it drove a wedge between them. In November 2012, Gomez broke up with Bieber.
They didn’t get to spend much time together, and Gomez had trust issues. In early 2013, Gomez told David Letterman that she was single and made Bieber cry. It seemed like things were done, but their romance was far from over. They rekindled their love in April 2013.
Nothing Lasts Forever
After secretly getting back together in 2013, the couple tried to make things work because they loved each other. Unfortunately, their reunion didn’t last long. In November 2014, Gomez confirmed her split from Bieber. It was hard on both of them, but they tried to move on.
A month after the breakup, Bieber was seen on vacation with Hailey Baldwin. It sparked rumors about a possible romance, but he shut it down. He wrote on Instagram, “People are crazy. I’m super single, and this is my good friend.”
He Went Down a Dark Path
Bieber gave up the opportunity to have a normal childhood when he signed a record deal. However, he wasn’t trained to deal with the overnight fame, which took a toll on him. He started acting out and causing trouble around 2013. He was charged with assault in December.
The charges were dropped, but that wasn’t his last run-in with the law. In July 2014, Bieber was sentenced to community service and probation after throwing eggs at a neighbor’s home in Calabasas. He was also forced to complete an anger management program.
Orange Is Not His Color
Following some minor incidences, Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach, Florida, on suspicion of a DUI. His license was over six months expired, and he resisted arrest. Bieber reportedly told police that he had been drinking, smoking weed, and had taken prescription pills.
Bieber’s mug shot went viral, but orange was not his color. He was released on a $2,500 bond, and the toxicology report showed THC and Xanax in his system at the time of his arrest. Braun started to get worried about Bieber’s well-being amid his legal issues.
His Image Changed
During these rocky times, Bieber’s teen heartthrob image drastically changed. Notable controversies made people see him differently, including abandoning his pet monkey in Germany, vomiting onstage, urinating in a bucket, and wearing a gas mask in public. Everyone on his team was worried.
His uncle claimed Bieber’s bad behavior was because of his breakup with Gomez. After his DUI arrest, people wanted Bieber deported to Canada, but the White House wouldn’t do it. He settled his DUI case and donated $50,000 to a local charity as part of his plea deal.
Coming Back to Haunt Him
There is no denying that Bieber has done some stupid things in his past, but his actions are criticized harshly because he is famous. In 2014, a video emerged of a 15-year-old Bieber telling a joke in which he used the N-word many times. It was not his best moment.
While there is no excuse for his actions, Bieber apologized. He said, “Facing my mistakes from years ago has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with.” Bieber had to learn from his mistakes and has grown since then.
Cleaning Up His Act
As Bieber neared 21, he decided to clean up his act. He stopped getting in so much trouble and focused on new music. In February 2015, he released “Where Are Ü Now,” a collaboration with Jack Ü. The song earned Bieber his first Grammy.
Bieber also set the Guinness World Record by becoming the youngest solo male artist to debut at the top of the Hot 100. As he prepared for the release of his fourth studio album, Purpose, Bieber got back to his roots and let his music speak for itself.
He Broke Down
While performing at the 2015 VMAs, Bieber broke down in tears on stage after finishing his song. He later told Jimmy Fallon that he was overwhelmed by the positive response from the audience. Bieber was worried because he had been booed after his previous performance in 2014.
Bieber was trying to change his ways, and he needed to regain the trust of his fans. He admitted that he was surrounded by people who didn’t have his best interests at heart, so he pulled himself away from that situation to turn his life around.
He Was Angry
Bieber tried to win back Gomez a few times following their 2014 breakup, but he finally decided to move on in 2016. He was spotted with Lionel Richie’s daughter, Sofia, and his fans criticized him for the relationship. They would leave hateful comments on his page.
Everyone wanted him to be with Gomez, but that ship had sailed. Bieber threatened to make his Instagram private if his fans didn’t stop the hate. Gomez then commented on Bieber’s post: “If you can’t handle the hate, stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol.”
Bieber was annoyed to see Gomez commenting on his post when she wanted nothing to do with him. He responded, “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way.” Their back-and-forth quickly ended after some harsh words.
Gomez later apologized for her initial comment, but she shouldn’t have cared because she had moved on with someone else. It seems his relationship with Gomez still had some potential if she cared enough to comment on Bieber’s post.
Rekindling an Old Flame
After Gomez broke up with The Weeknd, she and Bieber were spotted hanging out and attending church together. They were seen riding bikes, and Gomez cheered Bieber on at his hockey game. The two weren’t officially back together, but Bieber hoped to regain her trust.
The two enjoyed their time together and didn’t want to rush into a serious relationship again. They had learned from their past mistakes and spent time getting to know each other again. However, Gomez’s mom wasn’t happy about the relationship, and it was hard on Gomez.
Trying to Make It Work
Bieber and Gomez tried to work on their relationship by seeking guidance from their pastor. The two weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend again, but they wanted to work on things. Gomez also attended Bieber’s father’s wedding with him in February 2018.
They had celebrated Valentine’s Day before the wedding and seemed happy. Gomez even made a special post for Bieber’s birthday on Instagram, but once again, they couldn’t make it work. Shortly after his birthday, Bieber and Gomez weren’t getting along, so they took another break.
He Found Love Again
The relationship between Bieber and Gomez had been on and off for years, and Bieber realized it was never going to work. After calling it quits with Gomez in March 2018, he started dating Hailey Baldwin in June 2018. The two had been friends for years, and the relationship was easy.
Bieber and Baldwin always had feelings for each other, but the timing hadn’t been right in the past. They moved quickly and got married in September 2018, a few months after they started dating. A year after their courthouse wedding, Bieber and Baldwin had an official wedding.
He Received Backlash
Even after moving on with Baldwin, people were still talking about his relationship with Gomez. She released two songs about their relationship and breakup and said Bieber emotionally abused her. It caused Bieber to face backlash from her fans, who also attacked Baldwin for “stealing” Bieber.
As he has grown, the singer admitted that he was reckless in his relationship with Gomez. Bieber has worked hard on himself, so people can’t keep holding on to the past. Both Bieber and Gomez have moved on from the tumultuous relationship.
Banned by China
In 2017, the Chinese government banned Bieber from performing in China. Fans were saddened that they wouldn’t get to see Bieber, so one fan reached out to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture requesting the reason for the ban. Surprisingly, they gave her a quick answer.
The Bureau released a statement stating, “Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer.” They didn’t want him to ruin the “pure” Chinese performance environment. His bad behavior was unacceptable to the country.
He Took a Break
Between 2017 and 2019, Bieber spent most of his time working on collaborations instead of producing solo music. He appeared on “Despacito,” “I’m the One,” and “No Brainer.” While he collaborated with the top artists, his fans missed his music.
In 2019, Bieber made a surprise performance at Coachella, marking his first live performance in two years. He took a break from performing to work on himself and have some much-needed downtime. Bieber had been working non-stop since he was 14 and decided to step away from the stage.
A New Justin
After four long years, Bieber announced his fifth studio album, Changes. Fans were excited to hear his new music because it was very different from the songs he had released in the past. Bieber started to mature, and his music reflected those big life changes.
Bieber also announced his ten-part YouTube Originals docu-series, which focused on his time getting back into music, marriage, and battling health issues. It showed a different side of Bieber that people hadn’t seen for a while and reminded everyone why he is amazing.
Childhood Stardom Affected Him
While being famous at 14 might sound cool, Bieber shared that childhood stardom has caused him to struggle with mental health, using drugs, and mistreating women. In an Instagram post, he shared that his team did everything for him, so he didn’t have the skills to live in the real world.
Bieber couldn’t handle the ups and downs of being an entertainer. He made horrible decisions and distanced himself from everyone he loved. Bieber struggled with anxiety and depression, and it has taken him years to bounce back from his bad behavior.
He Thought Marriage Would Fix It
When Bieber married Baldwin, he thought marriage would fix all his problems. However, the first year of marriage was tough on the couple because there was a lack of trust. Baldwin almost left Bieber because he wanted her to do things he wasn’t doing himself.
Baldwin decided to stick by Bieber, but he has had to work hard on himself. It took a long time for him to fix the mistakes he made in his past and how he treated women. Bieber had an emotional breakdown after their 2018 courthouse wedding because the marriage didn’t change anything.
On top of adjusting to married life, the couple had to navigate Bieber’s Lyme disease and chronic mono diagnosis. Lyme and mono affected his neurological and overall health. It also changed his appearance, and people said he looked like he was on drugs.
In his ten-part YouTube docu-series, Bieber opened up about his health struggles. He said he was getting the right treatments, but it would be an ongoing battle. Lyme has affected Bieber’s skin, brain function, and energy. Luckily, he has been doing much better.
Telling the Truth
In Bieber’s docu-series, he came clean about his past struggles with addiction. When he started to rebel around 2013 and 2014, the singer admitted that he frequently consumed lean (codeine cough syrup and soda), MDMA, and mushrooms to escape his problems.
He said it was hard to live under a magnifying glass, and he was trying to figure out how to navigate exponential fame. Bieber realized he needed to change when he reached the point where he felt like he was dying. His security team performed nightly checks to make sure he was alive.
A Big Comeback
Bieber’s most recent albums, Changes and Justice, have ushered in a new era of his music. The songs are deeper, and Bieber has told his story through his music. When he released Justice in 2021, he became the youngest solo artist to have eight US number-one albums.
His new music has helped him break even more records than he did in the past. In 2022, Bieber also broke the all-time record for the most monthly listeners in Spotify history. Bieber’s album earned eight Grammy nominations, and he is better than ever.
Not everyone has liked Bieber’s style in the past, and he hasn’t always worn the best outfits, but Bieber is making millions in the fashion industry. In 2019, Bieber launched his clothing line, Drew, an athleisure line named after his middle name.
His clothing features a signature smiley face, and the designs are simple. Bieber’s brand collaborated with Crocs, and it has been fairly successful since its launch. It might not be high fashion, but Bieber rocks the athleisure look and feels the most comfortable in his clothing.
While living in Canada, Bieber attended a French-language immersion elementary school. He learned both French and English at Jeanne Sauve Catholic School. He isn’t fluent in French, but he can hold a conversation. It’s not surprising, considering there are many French speakers in Ontario.
When Bieber started touring the world, his French-speaking fans went wild whenever he spoke in their native language. It made him even more of a heartthrob. Bieber also shared that he learned basic Spanish and can count to ten in German.
Still Not a Citizen
Although Bieber moved to Atlanta when he was 13, he had no desire to become a US citizen for many years. He only started the process after marrying Baldwin. Bieber is a proud Canadian and says it is the best country in the world.
He splits his time between LA and Canada, where he has massive mansions. He recently purchased a $28.5 million home in Beverly Park after selling his Beverly Hills home in 2019. Bieber also has a waterfront property in Ontario that he purchased in 2018 for $4.95 million.
How Much Is Justin Bieber Worth?
As of 2022, Bieber is worth an estimated $285 million. Imagine being 28 years old and having enough money to stop working forever. Bieber is one of the highest-paid entertainers and earns between $60-80 million per year. However, he has used his money for good.
While many people think he is overspending his fortune, Bieber gives a lot of his money to charity. In 2020, Bieber saw one of his fans raising money for mental health awareness, so he donated $100,000 to the charity. Bieber also has more than enough money to spend on whatever he wants.
Not an Only Child
Although his mom raised him, Bieber has remained close with his father since he got older. After splitting from Mallette, Jeremy became romantically involved with Erin Wagner. The two never married, but they had two children together, Jazmyn and Jaxon Bieber.
Jeremy broke up with Wagner and later married Chelsey Rebelo in 2018. She had a daughter, Allie, from a previous relationship, making her Bieber’s stepsister. The singer might have a busy schedule, but he always makes time for his family. He even brought his little brother to the Grammys.
In June 2020, an anonymous woman accused Bieber of sexual assault on Twitter. The woman only claimed Bieber made non-consensual sexual advances toward her at a Four Seasons hotel in Texas in March 2014 while he was with his then-girlfriend, Selena Gomez.
The woman said she felt inspired to tell her story after another Twitter accused Ansel Elgort of sexual assault. Bieber denied the allegations, stating he did not take sexual abuse lightly. He provided proof that he was not present at the location when the alleged incident occurred.
As the small-town boy who grew to superstardom, Bieber is still proud of where he came from, and the feeling is mutual. In 2018, the Stratford Perth Museum created an exhibit about the singer’s life and rise to fame. It included childhood memorabilia and things from his shows.
Mallette said, “It’s really humbling and honoring to see my baby’s accomplishments.” Many of the items were on loan from his grandparents, who were just as proud of their grandson. They wanted to share Bieber’s life and let everybody see where he came from.
Bieber is currently on his Justice World Tour. It was previously postponed twice due to the pandemic, but the singer is back on the road. However, touring and performing several nights a week is tough for any performer, and Bieber never wants to disappoint his fans.
While Bieber wants to make all of his fans happy, he also has to care for his health. He made headlines on June 7, 2022, when he announced that he would have to cancel two shows due to illness. The doctor ordered him to rest.
His Illness Got Worse
It seemed like Bieber would only have to cancel one or two shows, but his prognosis is much worse than people thought. The singer posted a video on Instagram that he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which caused him facial paralysis.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near the ear. It has affected the right side of Bieber’s face, and he is having trouble blinking and smiling. He said he physically cannot do the shows and must recover first. He thanked his fans for the support.