Once a momma’s boy, Justin Bieber just revealed in a recent cover story with Billboard that his relationship with his mother, Pattie Mallete, has been quite estranged over the last couple of years.
And the pop sensation blames himself.
His rapid rise to fame since the age of 13 has taken a toll on his personal life, and the singer isn’t proud of the image that he’s built up as America’s pop-star, bad boy.
He told Billboard, “I was distant because I was ashamed…“I never wanted my mom to be disappointed in me and I knew she was. We spent some time not talking, so it takes time to rebuild that trust.”
Pattie is now living in Hawaii, which makes mending their relationship even more challenging, but the two are working on building that trust back and Bieber says it’s “getting better.”
Justin’s mother raised him in a Christian home, and she did all that she could to take care of him after having him at the young age of 17 by bringing him up with solid values.
“When I was 7, she wouldn’t let me listen to anything but [Pastor Judah Smith]’s tapes falling asleep,” said Bieber.
Bieber gives his mom the credit for seeing his talent early on and showing him immeasurable love and support in following his passions. “She’s an amazing woman and I love her,” he said.
However, after Bieber went through his “dark” phase of bad decision-making, his mom had to make a very tough decision herself. The young celebrity has been arrested for drag-racing his Ferrari, charged with public urination, and caught up in confiscated monkey scandals—and that’s just the start.
Pattie told PEOPLE Magazine in a 2013 interview that she “had to let him go.”
“When your kids hit a certain age your parenting style changes and it is hard letting go,” she elaborated. “His life was my life and now I’ve had to let him go a little bit and let him be independent. It is hard to not be able to control everything that your adult child does.”
With a new foundation in Christ, Bieber is trying to turn his life around and restore his two most treasured relationships—with his mom and God.
In a bare-all interview with Complex Magazine, Bieber unveiled his passion for Jesus and his new goal to use his voice for a higher purpose than just his pop songs:
“My voice, I’m not gonna let it not be heard anymore. I’m gonna use my voice for a reason. I think that people, as soon as they start hearing me saying I’m a Christian, they’re like, “Whoa Justin, back up, take a step back.” Also, I do not want to shove this down anyone’s throat. I just wanna honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus—I could never—I don’t want that to come across weird. He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something, but I know it’s right, I remember, I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel. What Jesus did when he came to the cross was basically say, “You don’t have to feel any of that stuff.” We could take out all of our insecurities, we could take away all of the hurt, all the pain, all the fear, all the trauma. That doesn’t need to be there. So all this healing that you’re trying to do, it’s unnecessary. We have the greatest healer of all and his name is Jesus Christ. And he really heals. This is it. It’s time that we all share our voice. Whatever you believe. Share it. I’m at a point where I’m not going to hold this in.”
But Justin admits that it’s still been a battle:
“It might seem awesome from the outside, but I’m struggling,” he says. “Certain things broke my trust with people. Situations happen that taint your mind. I started going through the motions. I felt like people were judging me all the time. I came out alive. I came out swinging. But I was close to letting [fame] completely destroy me.”
Someone that has really helped him along in his Christian journey has actually been Pastor Judah Smith, the man he listened to growing up:
“We text almost daily, and it’s not just me sending him Bible verses anymore,” the pastor told Billboard. “He’ll send them to me, along with encouraging thoughts or an encouraging emoticon. I’m committed to helping him and protecting him, but it’s fair to say we’re there for each other.”
Through Smith’s guidance and a new bond with Hillsong, Bieber says he’s grown in a better understanding of what faith really is.
With his Mom as his support, Christ as his rock, and the massive public platform he’s been given, the possibilities are endless.
It’s quite easy to criticize when Bieber or anyone else catches the limelight for yet another poor decision, but it’s rare that they receive much support when they try to turn themselves around.
As Christians, let us find ourselves in a place of prayer rather than judgment both for him and all of his Hollywood comrades.
Though Bieber’s road to redemption has been rocky—as are all of ours—it’s beautiful to see the once “lost” boy working to restore the most important relationships in his life.
And regardless of the pitfalls or that path he may have taken, that’s a pursuit worthy of rejoicing.