Who knew that Justin Bieber and model wife Hailey Baldwin were so...well...likeable?
The editors at US Vogue clearly knew it, and believe they hold selling power, which is why they made the February cover stars. It was an odd choice for the magazine, not only because it marks their second month in a row featuring a couple on its cover, but more notably that the Biebers are very young.
It was Justin's first interview in two years, and prior to his Vogue spread, there has been nothing to support the idea that he, although clearly very famous, maintained any everlasting appeal the publicly desperately desired. Baldwin, on the other hand, is a well known model who has walked for Tommy Hilfiger and Guess, but by and large owes her early recognisability thanks to her Bieber connection back in 2015.
Both spoke at length about the accurate timeline of their romance, confirming - and denying - much of the speculation about their relationship over the years, which has been relentless in recent months.
They first met in 2009 through their parents when Justin appeared on the Today show and Hailey secured tickets through her uncle, actor Alec, when she was 12 and he 14, respectively. The couple first began dating for a brief spell nearly four years ago when she began attending services at Hillsong, the church to which Justin is extremely devoted, and their connection was forged.
“I was never a superfan, of him or of anyone,” she told the magazine. “It was never that crazed, screaming thing. I didn’t think about it in any kind of way except for the fact that he was cute. Everybody had a crush on him. But for the first few years we had a weird age gap.”
"One day Justin walked into Hillsong and was like, ‘Hey, you got older.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ Over time he became my best guy friend. I was running around with him as his homie, but we weren’t hanging out [romantically].”
So far, so...completely random for what's being billed as a modern Hollywood love story. After a few weeks together, they split and so ensued his on/off relationship with Selena Gomez. And here is where things take a questionable turn.
"Fizzled would not be the right word. It was more like a very dramatic excommunication. There was a period where if I walked into a room, he would walk out," she said. Her words sting and show either the depths to which their relationship spiralled or simply signal the immaturity that comes with being in a teenage relationship.
Fast forward to 2018 when they reunited once again at an event hosted by pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr and within one month, they were engaged. He was 21 and she 23. Two months after that, they wed - a ceremony which was at least rushed in part because they wanted to end their self-imposed celibacy.
“I’m the emotionally unstable one. struggle with finding peace. I just feel like I care so much and I want things to be so good and I want people to like me. Hailey’s very logical and structured, which I need. I’ve always wanted security...with my dad being gone sometimes when I was a kid, with being on the road. With the lifestyle I live, everything is so uncertain. I need one thing that’s certain," he said of his wife before recalling dark days pre-Hailey.
He was abusing Xanax and sleeping around to the point where sex lost all meaning and it conflicted with the way he was raised to respect women.He says he hasn't touched drugs since 2014. Immediately after their wedding, in September of last year, they bought a house in Toronto and admitted to struggling with the realities of living together full time. Hailey apparently is the grounded, pragmatic one who doesn't like to voice opinions without considering them at length, while he is ruled by his emotions.
The positives of this interview are that their unwavering honesty is refreshing, even if it does provide fuel for cynics who question how long their marriage may last. Despite the fact that they are both incredibly young and have only been together for eight months, they are determined to make it to the end. Their obvious issues with incompatibility have already led to tension as they seem to have skipped straight past the honeymoon phase into the, 'We're determined to make it work' stage of a marriage, but their naiveté about this is oddly charming.
“I want people to know that. We’re coming from a really genuine place. But we’re two young people who are learning as we go. I’m not going to sit here and lie and say it’s all a magical fantasy. It’s always going to be hard," she said.
"It’s a choice. You don’t feel it every single day. You don’t wake up every day saying, 'I’m absolutely so in love and you are perfect'. That’s not what being married is. But there’s something beautiful about it anyway, about wanting to fight for something, commit to building with someone."