Since Justin Bieber arrived on the scene in 2009 with his first single, "One Time," he's gone through a lot of stages. At first he was the adorable 15-year-old with the powerful voice that everyone loved, and as he got older, his talent kept growing. Then there was his downfall, followed by an apology tour that included a weeklong stint on The Ellen Show. Now he seems to be in a totally different phase of his life — one that has included canceling the remainder of his Purpose World Tour. But on Wednesday night, the singer explained his canceled tour dates in an emotional Instagram post for his fans, and this is hardly the first time Bieber's gotten raw and real about his struggles recent years.
Since Bieber has tried to make good after his 2014 arrest (and the erratic, rebellious behavior that also occurred during that time), he's gotten real with his fans and the world about the mistakes he's made and the struggles he's faced. It's easy to see why he'd want to rebel — it can't be easy to be thrust into the spotlight in such a huge way at such a young age. But lately, he's often been ready to offer up an apology or an explanation, even when he shouldn't feel obligated to.
Here are the times in recent history where Bieber has come clean about what's going on in his life, on social media and off.
1. His Explanation For Canceling His Tour
According to Bieber's lengthy Instagram post, he needs to take time off to ensure that his career is "sustainable," so he can avoid burning himself out in the future. Judging by his words, it seems like this is definitely the appropriate time for Bieber to take a step back.
2. When He Threatened To Make His Instagram Private
After fans tore apart what they thought was a relationship between Bieber and Sofia Richie (it was never clear if they were just friends or something more), Bieber took to Instagram to tell them how seriously he takes their hate. In his caption, he wrote:
I'm gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don't stop the hate this is getting out of hand, if you guys are really fans you wouldn't be so mean to people that I like.
He eventually did delete his Instagram, but reactivated it not very long after.
3. When He Shared The Reason Behind His "Better At 70" Tattoo
It seems that Bieber has been very introspective this year, and in this post, he showed off his newest tattoo, along with the reason why he got it — as a reminder for him to be better every day, despite his past mistakes.
His caption said:
I look back at a lot of things in my life, mistakes, insecurities, and although I have felt I've wasted a lot of time it also makes me want to be better faster! For me personally I want to work everyday to be BETTER AT 70.
4. When He Talked About What He Learned While Growing Up
In an interview with Atlanta radio morning show The Bert Show in 2016, Bieber owned up to his mistakes, admitting that he's had to make some serious changes in his life in order to become a better person — and to figure out who he could trust. He said:
"People take advantage of vulnerability. After a while I started putting up walls and boundaries and for a while I shut everybody out. I just had to figure out what kind of man I wanted to be. I have awesome people in my corner. I'm human, I'm still going to make mistakes. I think that's what's cool about this growth is people can see it. I've made a transition and been consistent."
5. When He Compared Himself To Amy Winehouse
Bieber opened up about struggling with depression, comparing himself to Amy Winehouse, in a 2015 cover story for NME. After watching the documentary Amy, he could see a lot of similarities between the way paparazzi treated Winehouse and the way they treat him, which struck a chord. He said:
"You’re in your hotel room and there are fans all around, paparazzi following you everywhere, and it gets intense. When you can’t go anywhere or do anything alone you get depressed ... This life can rip you apart. I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary on the plane and I had tears in my eyes because I could see what the media was doing to her, how they were treating her. She was on drugs and they were just making fun of that. People thought it was funny to poke her when she was at rock bottom, to keep pushing her down until she had no more of herself. And that’s what they were trying to do to me. No one knew what I was feeling. I was rebelling against something deeper, and it took me a minute to realize I’m not gonna let them win.”
6. When He Explained Why He Left A Concert Mid-Show
Back in October 2016, Bieber stormed off-stage during a concert in Manchester, England when fans wouldn't stop screaming. Later, he reportedly took to Twitter to explain why he'd done that, but deleted the message not long after. According to Us Weekly, his tweet said:
People tend to want to shut you down. What I mean by that is … people try to twist things, some people don't want to listen. But I simply feel like, if I didn't use this platform to say how I truly feel, and if I didn't use this platform to be the man that I know I am, and speak from what's in my heart, then I'm doing myself injustice, and I'm not doing anybody in this audience any justice.
There's going to be times where I say the wrong thing, because I'm human. But I don't pretend to be perfect and I hope to God that, you know, I don't say the right thing all the time because if that was the case then I'd be a robot, and I'm just, I'm not a robot. There's times when I get upset … times when I get angry, there's times when I'm going to be frustrated. But I'm always going to be myself on this stage.
When people try to twist things and say, "Justin's angry at his fans. He doesn't want his fans to scream" that's not at all what I was doing. All I was simply doing was wanting people to listen; to kind of hear me out a little bit. Certain people … certain cities aren't going to want to hear me out, and you know, sometimes it's my job to just say, "hey, I'm not going to try to force anything." I just appreciate you guys tonight, listening to me and understanding, and rocking with me. You guys are truly amazing.
After his somewhat sordid past, it's clear that Bieber's is trying to turn over a new leaf and remains open to sharing personal things with his fans and followers. After the break he's taking now, there's a chance he'll come back rested and better than ever. He's made it clear that's the goal.