09/29/2015 11:14 EDT | Updated 09/29/2015 11:59 EDT

Justin Bieber Chained Underwater For The Cover Of Complex Magazine

Both literally AND figuratively.

Following Khloe Kardashian's ultra hot magazine cover, Complex magazine has tapped Justin Bieber as their October/November cover star.

The David Black-photographed cover shows the 21-year-old pop star struggling to remove shackles underwater. He wears a white dress shirt (unbuttoned) and black trousers, and his locks flow away from his face.

The image depicts the "What Do You Mean?" singer's life for the past few years -- struggling to keep his head above water during his transition from teen pop star to independent adult. But though he appears to be drowning in the negative media onslaught, really, he's about to pull a Houdini and make his improbable escape.

In the accompanying interview, the Biebs talks about everything from Jesus to Taco Bell and, of course, Selena Gomez.

"We were so in love," the singer tells the magazine about his on-again, off-again relationship with Gomez. "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 asked what he learned from his relationship with the 23-year-old, he says, "Don't fall in love. No, I'm just kidding. I learned a lot. 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."

He adds, "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."

Head to Complex to see the full interview and spread.

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