Comment: Why I'll always be a Justin Bieber fan...despite his antics
Published 02/11/2016 | 09:58
Saying that you're a fan of Justin Bieber these days elicits the same reaction as if you said that you don't wash your hands after going to the bathroom - it's shameful, frowned upon and something people over the age of 15 don't admit.
However, at 21 years old, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a fan of Justin Bieber (and I always wash my hands after using the bathroom.)
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a Belieber - his posters don't adorn my walls and I wouldn't queue for 33 hours, like several people did outside the 3Arena on Tuesday in order to see him in concert; but you'll definitely see me tonight at his second Dublin concert...possibly with a fan t-shirt on.
In order to understand why he's such a universally hated figure now, we have to go back to the beginning.
Our love/hate affair with Bieber goes back to 2008 when he burst onto the scene when he was just 13 years old as a cute Canadian kid who made it big after being discovered on YouTube and had a haircut as iconic as The Rachel.
As his online fan base grew, music executives began to notice Justin and he was flown to Australia to meet with Usher, who wanted to sign him to his label Def Jam Recordings.
One year later, Bieber released his debut album My World, which included hits that we still play as guilty pleasures today, including One Time and One Less Lonely Girl.
To date, he has released four studio albums and is one of the most popular and well-known artists in the world, but his professional success has always been tainted by his off-stage behaviour.
In March 2013 Bieber had to be held back by his bodyguard as he lashed out at a photographer who reportedly insulted him as he tried to escape paparazzi and get into his car. In a video that went viral, he can be seen jumping out of the car and shouting at the photographer while his bodyguard held him back.
And thus began the Bieber breakdown - a public undoing of such proportions it was likened to Britney Spears in 2007.
In January 2014 he was arrested in Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence and drag racing in a residential area. The police report filed at the time states that Bieber confessed to having beer, marijuana and prescription drugs in his system.
Soon after, the DUI and racing charges were dropped and he faced just one charge of resisting arrest without violence.
Later in 2014, a video surfaced allegedly showing Bieber and Orlando Bloom breaking into a fight in a Spanish nightclub.
And his love life has been just as colourful.
His on/off relationship with former Disney star Selena Gomez has dominated the headlines for years and as recently as this summer.
The pair have been linked for the last six years and became the world's favourite tween couple when their relationship was confirmed at the Vanity Fair Oscars in 2011.
After moving in together at 18 years old, it seems that the pressures of fame and a quickly intensifying relationship became too much for the couple, whose relationship hasn't been confirmed since speculation of a breakup began in 2012.
The Hands to Myself singer entered into a public dispute with Bieber in August after he threatened to shut down his Instagram account following the negative comments he received after posting an image of him and rumoured love interest Sofia Richie.
"If you can't handle the hate then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend," she wrote in a comment that was swiftly deleted.
"Don't be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before anyone ever did."
Never one to stay silent, Bieber quickly responded to Gomez.
"It's funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love," he said.
"I'm not one for anyone receiving hate. Hope you all can be kind to my friends and each other. And yes I love my Beliebers."
Most recently, he's been linked to model Hailey Baldwin, but it appears he's on his own in Dublin.
Bieber's Purpose world tour was intended as something of a redemption tour in the eyes of the public - an attempt to win back our hearts after securing new legions of fans with hits like Sorry and What Do You Mean?
But it looks like you can't teach a dog new tricks.
While performing in Manchester last week, he stormed off stage after screaming at fans for yelling too much in between songs.
And while we're all lamenting the demise of an adorable teenager who stole our hearts with his YouTube videos, it's important to remember he's still only 22 years old.
His young age doesn't justify drink driving or throwing a strop in front of fans who literally laid the foundation that he stands on today, but with nearly 10 years in the spotlight after rocketing to unsuspected fame, he's still human.
Unlike other pop stars of his day, he hasn't been training for fame since childhood - he wasn't a Mouseketeer like Britney and Christina and he wasn't mentored by Simon Cowell on The X Factor.
With no vocal training or coaching, Bieber built his career from his Ontario home, where he lived with his mother Pattie, who raised him alone, and has gone on to sell over 15 million albums worldwide.
He now has an estimated $200 million net worth and is one of the most famous people on the planet. All that before the age most people finish college.
So, sure, he makes headlines for the wrong reasons, but he's still a young man who has a regular background, who pursued his dreams and got his big break - and that's why I'll always be a fan of Justin Bieber.