Five years ago, Justin Bieber was in a bad spot. He'd spent the past several years as a rising teen superstar and had developed such a concerning drug problem that his bodyguards would check his pulse while he slept to make sure he was still alive, the Canadian singer tells GQ for May's cover story. "I had all this success and it was still like: I'm still sad, and I'm still in pain. And I still have these unresolved issues," says the 27-year-old. "I thought all the success was going to make everything good. And so for me, the drugs were a numbing agent to just continue to get through." While he sees his 2018 marriage to Hailey Baldwin as a saving grace, it wasn't always easy. In fact, "the first year of marriage was really tough because there was a lot, going back to the trauma stuff," Bieber says, per People. "There was just lack of trust."
That left Bieber to navigate "a lot of emotional terrain," per CNN. He recalls being stripped of any sense of "normalcy" while "working so much as this young kid." He says he started to believe people who told him how incredible he was. "Ego sets in. And then that's where insecurities come in. And then you start treating people a certain way and feeling superior and above people," he says. "I just woke up one day and I'm just like, Who am I? I didn't know." He wondered, "What is this worth if I'm still feeling empty inside?" He gained clarity through his relationship with God. "Every time we mess up, He's picking us back up every single time," he says, adding: "I don't want to let my shame of my past dictate what I'm able to do now for people." He notes, "I did a bunch of stupid s--t" but "that's OK. I'm still available to help. And I'm still worthy of helping." Read the full interview here. (Read more Justin Bieber stories.)