Justin Bieber is a flawed man. We’ve said it before, and even he’s owned up to it time and time again on his recent “apology tour” of sorts. But in what’s perhaps his most honest and heartbreaking interview to date, the 21-year-old reiterates a message that we could all stand to hear: he’s trying his best, and he just wishes everyone would be a little more compassionate.
Bieber covers the new issue of NME magazine, posing with a knife in his head and a shirt with the phrase “Actually kinda cool” scrawled across it. His expression is nonchalant — amused, even — but it’s actually a pretty haunting image when paired with the story he tells inside the mag.
"I just want people to know I’m human,” he told NME. “I’m struggling just to get through the days. I think a lot of people are. You get lonely, you know, when you’re on the road. People see the glam and the amazing stuff, but they don’t know the other side. This life can rip you apart.”
The “Sorry” singer goes on to admit he deals with depression “all the time” and said he feels “isolated” by fame.
“You're in your hotel room and there are fans all around, paparazzi following you everywhere, and it gets intense,” he said. “When you can't go anywhere or do anything alone you get depressed. I would not wish this upon anyone.”
Bieber’s honest admission is a somber reminder that anyone can be affected by depression, no matter how rich or famous they are. And having throngs of adoring fans may sometimes be a self esteem booster, but it’s not the same as having a support system.
The wild behavior, legal issues and bad boy antics that once made Bieber a tabloid target were laughable in many people’s eyes, but to hear him tell it, he felt so ripped apart that he admits he relates to late singer Amy Winehouse.
“I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary [‘Amy’] 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,” he said. “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.”
The fact that Bieber relates to a star who battled addiction and died of accidental alcohol poisoning at age 27 is absolutely heartbreaking. Luckily, though, he seems to be doing a bang-up job of repairing his public image and drawing our attention to what matters most: his talent as an artist. Bieber’s new album, Purpose, arrives Friday (Nov. 13), and will hopefully hammer in the point that he’s a man on the mend.