It goes without saying that Justin Bieber has had a lot to apologize for throughout his time in the spotlight. As a now 21-year-old who skyrocketed to fame as a floppy-haired, "Baby"-faced heartthrob at just 12, Bieber has grown up in the ever-watchful public eye, with his fair share of mistakes and missteps peppering (and many times, overshadowing) that of his career successes. As Bieber continues to take back control of his public image — by owning up to his unfavorable behavior and releasing the aptly titled Purpose, his first album in three years — he's been on an unofficial Apology Tour of sorts, acknowledging his mistakes in televised interviews, print interviews, and, of course, on social media.
In his appropriately titled single "Sorry" (hands down the most addictive pop track I have heard all year — and this is coming from someone who stans the hell out of 5SOS), Bieber asks on the chorus, "Is it too late now to say sorry?" And though Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic might not agree with me, I say, no, Justin Bieber. It is never too late to apologize. Apologize away, young one.
Check out my ranking of Justin Bieber's many public apologies, from least belieb-able to most sincere, below.
13. His Apology For Walking Off Stage, Canceling His Show & Yelling At Fans
Bieber recently stormed off stage after performing just one song, choosing to cancel a televised concert in Norway after he began yelling at fans in the front row who were trying to grab a towel he was using to wipe up a spill on stage.
"In no way did I mean to come across mean, but chose to end the show as the people in the front row would not listen," Bieber later wrote as part of his apology on Instagram. "Hopefully people will understand where I am coming from. I don't always handle things the right way but I'm human and I'm working on getting better at responding not reacting."
Though he blamed a "rough week" filled with "long days and no sleep" as the reason behind his attitude, this "apology" still shames — and blames — the fans, who, judging by the video, were doing nothing more than getting a little overexcited. And in the big scheme of Crazy Things That Fans Can Do, that's nothing.
12. His Deposition Apology
In the cringe-worthy deposition seen 'round the world, JB was snarky, uncooperative, and arrogant, to say the least. Though he technically didn't apologize for his behavior, he later admitted that he might have taken things too far.
"Sometimes it might look like I’m being a little arrogant; sometimes I’m playing around and having fun. I think the deposition was a little too much," Bieber told Complex. "I’m trying to encourage people, and I don’t think that that’s the right attitude to have. I was also frustrated. I was in a weird place. It was annoying. I just felt like I didn’t owe the guy anything. I was just going to mess with every question he had. I got him, too. He was so frustrated. An hour of him just being like, I don’t know what to do or say."
11. His N-Word Video Apologies
Arguably one of the worst moments of the singer's career was when a video surfaced of a young Bieber singing parodies of his song "One Less Lonely Girl" that made references to the N-word, the Ku Klux Klan, and killing black people. After the video was published online, Bieber apologized profusely in two separate instances — though the reason this one ranks so low on the list is because of the seriousness of the situation.
"As a kid, I didn't understand the power of certain words and how they can hurt. I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but didn't realize at the time that it wasn't funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance," he said in one statement. "I'm very sorry. I take my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable mistake. I was a kid then and I am a man now who knows my responsibility to the world and to not make that mistake again."
10. His Men's Health Apology
One of the first stops on JB's unofficial apology tour was his Men's Health cover. While the writer (ironically) skewered him in the interview, Bieber was hopeful in his behind-the-scenes video, admitting past mistakes.
9. His Seventeen Magazine Apology
JB continued with his apologies this summer, scoring the cover of Seventeen for the iconic magazine's June/July 2015 issue, where he once again owned up to his past actions and gave some serious advice about how to move forward in the face of past mistakes.
"I looked back and I was disappointed in myself," Bieber told the magazine. "You have to own up to the mistakes. You have to say, 'I'm sorry if I've let you down.'"
8. His Second Ellen Apology
After Bieber poured his heart out in one of his most heartfelt apologies — the confessional-style Facebook video, which you can check out below — the singer appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (his second of many times that week) to explain why he released the video.
"Well, it was the first time I was on television for a long time and I just was worried about what people were thinking about me," Bieber explained to DeGeneres. "Like I said last time, I did a lot of things over the past few years that I'm not proud of ... But yeah I was just nervous to be in front of people again and talk in front of them. I thought I just looked really extra nervous and I kinda just wanted to explain myself."
7. His "I'll Show You" Video
Not so much an apology as an explanation, Bieber's "I'll Show You" is undeniable proof that the singer is working on his image and his behavior and wants to prove it to the world. He also wanted to let fans in on what it's like to experience the weight of the world from his perspective, an important point.
"Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing / When the pressure's coming down like lightning," Bieber sings on the track. "It's like they want me to be perfect / When they don't even know that I'm hurting."
6. His Bare Butt Picture Apology
Bieber's been way more naked since — as sleazy paparazzi made sure you took notice of — but there was a time that the singer shared his own naked backside on Instagram. He later apologized and took down the photo because a close friend's young daughter saw the picture and felt embarrassed. Good call, Biebs.
5. His Ellen Apology
Bieber's awkward, baby-deer-walking-on-its-spindly-legs appearance on Ellen was the singer's first foray into owning up to his unfavorable actions. His apology was sincere and his shyness was endearing.
"I was just talking about it being a new chapter for me and saying that I’m sorry for the stuff that I’ve done. It’s not like, I’m not searching for people’s approval, but I just want people to know that that’s not me and I was doing stuff that wasn’t me," he explained.
4. His Comedy Central Roast Apology
After JB was skewered during a brutal Comedy Central Roast, the embattled singer addressed his critics head on with a moving and somewhat tearful speech about his past mistakes.
"There was really no preparing me for this life. I was thrown into this at 12 years old and didn't really know what I was getting myself into," Bieber said. "There's been moments I'm really proud of and a lot of moments I look back and I'm pretty disappointed in myself for, but the things that I've done really don't define who I am. I'm a kind-hearted person, who loves people, and through it all I lost some of my best qualities. For that, I'm sorry. But what I can say is I'm looking forward to being someone that you guys can all look at and be proud of." Keep it up, Biebs.
3. Crying After His 2015 MTV VMAs Performance
This one wasn't an apology per se, but it was certainly an intense release of emotions. Bieber crying after the performance — a genuinely emotional response — was something that occurred because he was so moved and overwhelmed by the experience, he later explained.
"It was just so overwhelming for me, everything, just the performance ... and just everyone, just the support. Honestly, I just wasn't expecting them to support me in the way they did … Last time I was at an award show I was booed," he told Jimmy Fallon. "I've worked so hard on this album, I've worked so hard at becoming the man I want to become. Stepping into situations, you just can't help but feel judged, so I was just feeling judged and just wanting to win so badly and wanting to do what I love so badly that I just put everything on the line. What was just so special about the emotional moment at the end; it was just authentic, it was real."
2. His Intimate & Heartfelt Apology Video
After the singer made his first stop on the Justin Bieber Apology Tour (that would be on Ellen), he later recorded a super intimate video for all of his fans, letting them in on his nerves and opening up like never before. This one isn't exactly an apology either, but he certainly owns up to his past mistakes. Without question, I believe that this is his most sincere "apology."
1. "Sorry" Music Video
When your apology is set to some really effing addictive music, that one wins 'em all.
Images: Giphy (2)