Shawn Mendes hasn’t always had the smoothest relationship with Justin Bieber — he was once low-key shaded by JB — but there are no hard feelings on Mendes’s part. That much is clear once you see what the Illuminate singer said about his fellow Canadian in Billboard magazine.
While speaking about the way young stars are unfairly scrutinized, Mendes came to Bieber’s defense, saying we should give him leeway for making mistakes in the public eye.
“People thought of [Bieber] as a type of person. But maybe he was the same person the whole time and you guys just didn’t give him a chance to show you who he was,” the 18-year-old said. “Stop looking at him in a negative view and accept him as who he is. We don’t get mad at punk rock bands for doing shit like [he does], because that’s their personality. I just find it very confusing.”
While Mendes doesn’t quite have the “bad boy” reputation Bieber does, the two have a lot in common as young pop stars with wildly enthusiastic fanbases. Like Bieber — who recently instated a no-photo policy and nixed his concert meet and greets — Mendes says he sometimes has to keep his distance from fans.
“You’re one person,” Mendes explained. “You can’t let them take everything from you. Because they will — not in a malicious way. They just love you. You have to be careful … People know me but they have no idea. I can’t be best friends with the entire world, I can’t fall in love with every girl, I can’t be a father figure or older brother figure to every person.”
Those comments prompted Billboard to advertise Mendes’s profile with the headline “His Fans Don’t Truly Know Him.” The singer later responded on Twitter, saying the headline was misleading and apologizing to fans who were hurt by it.
“I have no idea why they would say that. I did not say that!!!” Shawn tweeted after one fan pointed out the headline. He added, “I explained how I’m growing up and so are you guys and how it takes time for you all to fully understand me and me to understand you. It’s really unfortunate when what you say gets turned into the bad version of it. I’m sorry guys and the part that I spoke about how much my fans mean to me and what I owe them is not even touched on.”
Don’t worry, Mendes fans: He’ll always treat you better (than Billboard says he can).