“I just feel like right now, it’s a really happy season,” a relaxed Justin Bieber says in the opening moments of his new documentary.
The superstar pop singer from Stratford, Ont., hasn’t always been in a such a good place, but that’s the point of “Next Chapter,” a YouTube original that dropped Friday. He hit his rock-bottom before age 25, and he did it in the public eye.
“I want people to get an inside look of, this guy really is just a human who’s just figuring it out like you and me,” Bieber, now 26, said.
The documentary is mostly focused on Bieber sharing his thoughts to the camera on life, love, healing and pain.
When he shot to stardom at 16, neither he nor his management were prepared for the onslaught of abuse he would face. Or the deep loneliness.
“I was so surrounded — millions of people in the audience. But I still felt lonely, I still felt misunderstood. I still felt hurt,” he said.
Watch the full “Next Chapter” documentary on YouTube. Story continues below.
In the doc, Bieber shares that strangers would unleash their vitriol on him for no reason. “There were so many people who were just so mean.”
It was an endless loop of “hurt people [who] hurt people” Bieber said. “I was just like, this young kid.”
He tried to shake it off as best he could, but he didn’t know how, and he didn’t talk about it. And so, it built up.
“Man, I think there was times where I was like, really, really suicidal. Like really, ‘Man, is this pain ever gonna go away?’”
“It was so consistent, the pain was just so consistent. I was just suffering, right? So, I’m just like, man, I would rather not feel this than feel this.”
Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, regrets not taking action. “If I could do it all over again, I would have had you in therapy from day one,” he told Bieber in the doc. “Having someone separate from all of us to talk to ... I was 25.”
Talking about it since has helped, Bieber said. “I just would encourage people, like, ‘Hey, if you’re feeling lonely, talk about it. Say it out loud.’ There’s a freedom in that. I could have avoided a lot of pain.”
“It’s so hard to show your weakness, but acknowledging your weakness allows you to grow,” he also said.
Earlier this year, Bieber spoke about his struggles with substance abuse in his youth. “My security were coming in at night to check my pulse. People don’t know how serious it got,” he said in another YouTube series, “Seasons.”
“I was waking up in the morning and the first thing I was doing is popping pills and smoking a blunt and starting my day. So it just got scary.”
Bieber finally made the decision to get sober because he thought his drug use would kill him. Since then, he’s been actively working on himself and his relationships.
He and his wife, Hailey, have been producing a lot of content to show their fans an inside look at their relatively new marriage of two years. Their Facebook Watch series, “The Biebers,” shows them having candid conversations about the rough spots they’ve encountered along the way and the work they’ve done together to become a solid couple.
“I think all my relationships are better than they’ve been in a very long time,” Bieber said in “Next Chapter.” He works hard to add value and uplift people, and lead with humility —it’s what “real secure people” do.
And being real and knowing your own worth is something he wants to impress on his fans.
“You don’t have to put on a front, you don’t have to act a certain way. Who you are is enough.”
If you or someone you know needs help in Canada, contact Crisis Services Canada at their website or by calling 1-833-456-4566. You can also find links and numbers to 24-hour suicide crisis lines in your province or territory here. This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you’re worried about.
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