All this summer, Justin Bieber has made a point to show us the Justin Bieber we think we know is not who he is now. New Biebs is humble, real—the thoughtful guy ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez says she “always saw in him.” And in Complex’s latest issue, the singer confirmed this version of himself is for real: “What I really want people to see in this next chapter is not Justin Bieber the artist. I want people to start seeing me and feel like they can connect with me. I’ve made myself so unrelatable the past year with all the stuff that I was doing. Not even bad stuff sometimes, just outrageous stuff. Like, you got a monkey, what are you doing?”
He opened up in the interview about many things, but most poignantly about his relationship with Selena. He explained why it failed in great detail:
I moved in with my girlfriend when I was 18. Started my own life with her. It was a marriage kind of thing. Living with a girl, it was just too much at that age. But we were so in love. Nothing else mattered. We were all about each other. But when it’s like that and you get your value from that, people will always disappoint you. Your girl or your dude, they’re always going to disappoint you. Your full identity can’t be in that person. My identity was in her. Her identity was in me. When stuff would happen, I would lose my freakin’ mind, and she would lose her mind, and we would fight so hard because we were so invested in each other. Love is a choice. Love is not a feeling. People have made it seem in movies that it’s this fairy tale. That’s not what love is. You’re not gonna want to love your girl sometimes but you’re gonna choose to love her. That’s something in life that I had to figure out. I can’t lean on people. I got to lean on God. I gotta trust in him through all my situations. Then, hopefully, my other relationships will flourish around me. But if I’m gonna be so invested in you, if you die, or something happens to you, I’m gonna be so destroyed, I won’t be able to go on. If I can love you and know that I’m not who I am because you’re being nice to me, but that I love you and I think you’re an incredible person but you’re just as broken as I am on the inside. We’re all just trying to figure it out.
Dating is an adjustment now because he does compare other girls to Selena, he admitted. “You get scarred from certain things. Even like—I’m kind of seeing this girl, right? I’m shy about doing or saying certain things, and then I say it and it’s not even a problem. And I’ll remember when I couldn’t….You’re just scarred and you don’t do something because in your last relationship they’d freak out, but [the new person is] just like, ‘What are you talking about?'”
But the Biebs knows he’s still growing—in love and as a person. He’s just no longer hiding it: “I’m tired of putting on a mask and a show for these people. I’m just gonna be myself and if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. I move on. I can just trust that God got this under control. That’s where I’m at. I’m the type of dude who always wants to figure it out.”
Read the full Complex interview here. Justin talks about his wilder days (including that night in jail), how religion changed him, and who the real Olivia Pope in his life is (yep, he’s got one).