At age 24, Justin Bieber decided to get serious.
Sober for maybe the first time in his adult life, he made good on that goal "to be married by 25" as he had once put it to WWD, sealing his forever with somewhat spontaneous courthouse vows. He also truly dedicated himself to treating his ongoing anxiety and depression, starting a regimen of anti-depressants, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and appointments with a brain disorder specialist.
But it wasn't until he flipped the calendar last March, new bride Hailey Bieber at his side and promising progress happening in his therapy sessions, that he decided he was ready to talk about all of it.
"He has gone through so much in the last three, four years since his last album came out," Hailey has said of 2015's Purpose, "and he came out on the other side of some really dark times. He still is who he is and that's why people are drawn to him because he has a story to tell."
His current medium is his YouTube Originals docu-series, Justin Bieber: Seasons, a 10-episode event that has seen the Grammy winner lay bare his struggle with drugs, mental health and his reckless actions as a twentysomething with endless cash and little oversight.
But one could argue he's been gearing up for this type of reveal all year long, letting his fans in little by little starting with the Vogue cover interview he did with his new wife just ahead of his birthday last March.
There, the newlyweds admitted they were experiencing more than just a honeymoon stage in their nascent marriage. "We're coming from a really genuine place. But we're two young people who are learning as we go," the 23-year-old model and television host shared. "I'm not going to sit here and lie and say it's all a magical fantasy. It's always going to be hard. It's a choice. You don't feel it every single day. You don't wake up every day saying, 'I'm absolutely so in love and you are perfect.' That's not what being married is. But there's something beautiful about it anyway—about wanting to fight for something, commit to building with someone.'"
Part of that fight, her husband shared, has been working out their differing personalities and communication styles. "Fighting is good," he said. "Doesn't the Bible talk about righteous anger? We don't want to lose each other. We don't want to say the wrong thing, and so we've been struggling with not expressing our emotions, which has been driving me absolutely crazy because I just need to express myself, and it's been really difficult to get her to say what she feels."
It was a careful balancing act that they were beginning to master. "I'm the emotionally unstable one," he explained. "I struggle with finding peace. I just feel like I care so much and I want things to be so good and I want people to like me. Hailey's very logical and structured, which I need."
Clearly the confessions provided a release of sorts, with Bieber continuing to peel back the curtain.
In a September Instagram he shared how he "started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all of my relationships," becoming "resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry," setting the stage for what he would share in Seasons.
Little more than a half decade later, "I am navigating the best season of my life 'MARRIAGE'!! Which is [an] amazing crazy new responsibility. You learn patience, trust, commitment, kindness, humility and all of the things it looks like to be a good man."
So as the 26-year-old starts a fresh, #blessed, year of life with a new sound courtesy of his recently released Changes, reflect back on his previous one, a time in which he learned it really is never too late to say sorry for what you've done.