Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012
by Josh Grossberg | Mon., Jan. 7, 2013 3:28 PM
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012
With photos surfacing online of Justin Bieber purportedly smoking a blunt at a Jan. 2 party at a Newport Beach, Calif., hotel, die-hard Bieber fans might be forgiven for asking what in the blazes is going on with their squeaky-clean idol.
"I see all of u. I hear all of u. I never want to let any of you down. I love u. and… thank u," Bieber tweeted on Saturday from the road where he was set to perform in Salt Lake City (In a bit of possible image-rehabbing later that night, he visited a young girl fan with leukemia in a local hospital, a pic of which he posted on Instagram).
In the wake of the controversy, we've rounded up the top five image-changing incidents in the teen heartthrob's young career that have ushered him rapidly into adult celebritydom, not to mention net him some bad press.
1. His On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With Selena Gomez: While there's quite a few female fans who wouldn't mind being with the Biebs, the "Believe" singer didn't exactly help his good guy cred when he reportedly broke up with his Wizards of Waverly Place love in early November and was immediately spotted out with Victoria's Secret model Barbara Palvin. While the Hungarian-born beauty shot down relationship rumors, Jelena fans took to the web accusing him of cheating. Bieber and Gomez have since made up—as evidenced by them holding hands after a dinner date in early December in L.A. and some very public PDA in Salt Lake City just before Christmas.
AKM-GSI; Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
2. His Paparazzi Scandals: The tragic death of a photographer who was chasing after Bieber's Ferrari (driven this time by his pal Lil Twist) was the latest and saddest chapter in his increasingly antagonistic relationship with the paparazzi. The 18-year-old crooner's cat-and-mouse antics with the paps have resulted so far in a scuffle with one photog last May; a confrontation last June with another shutterbug out of a swarm of photographers who left Justin with a scraped jaw; a high-speed chase in July with another pap; and last month an incident in which Bieber threw a plastic water bottle at some paps. At this rate, he may give Sean Penn a run for his money in the bad-boy department.
3. His World in Ink: J.B. has gotten a slew of tattoos over the last year or so. Among his designs are an owl on his arm, some roses over praying hands on his leg, and this week's latest addition, the logo of the Canadian Stratford Cullitons junior ice hockey team, in honor of his grandfather. We guess Rihanna's rubbing off on him.
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images, Tony DiMaio/StarTraks
4. Lame PR Stunts: Bieber tried to make like Ashton Kutcher and punk his loyal audience by claiming his laptop and camera were stolen, prompting some "personal footage" to be "leaked" online. There were rumors that the whole thing was a well-orchestrated Twitter hoax to pimp his latest music video, "Beauty and a Beat," with Nicki Minaj. Shortly after receiving some backlash online however, Bieber's rep insisted that a computer belonging to Justin did indeed go missing and a report was filed with police in Tacoma, Wash.
5. Flipping People Off: We realize between the ever-intrusive paparazzi and his extremely demanding Beliebers, it's tough sometimes being the Biebs. But is that any excuse for the boy wonder to shoot photographers the bird like he did on his birthday a couple of years back? Stay classy, Justin.
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