The first year of marriage is hard for everyone, but it’s particularly hard when you’re a global pop sensation and everyone is watching. In 2018, off the heels of his final breakup with Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber tied the knot with Hailey Baldwin after a short two-month tour de PDA.
The pair was spotted making out in Brooklyn’s Domino Park, going to church in Miami, grabbing fro-yo in the Hamptons, and getting engaged in the Bahamas.
From the outside, Justin and Hailey looked blissfully in love; the kind of celebrity couple who, for lack of better words, found each other irresistibly yummy. Most people expected the childhood friends, who first met in 2009 when Baldwin was around 12 or 13 years old, to burn brightly, but burn out fast. The pair’s first year of marriage wasn’t what anyone expected — including themselves.
Here’s a look inside the couple’s trying first year of marriage, a marathon race where they worked out past and present personal issues, testing the meaning of for better and for worse.
When Justin Bieber settled down with Hailey Baldwin, he was at a crossroads, struggling to grow up after a childhood raised in the spotlight. While it might seem like the couple got married in a whirlwind, the dating speculation stems as far back as 2014.
According to Insider’s timeline, in November of that year, off the heels of his breakup with Selena Gomez, Bieber was spotted with Baldwin and Kendall Jenner at Hillsong Church, sparking the initial rumors. By 2016, the pair reportedly had a full-fledged, no-strings-attached romance (Baldwin told E! they weren’t “exclusive”). What could possibly go wrong?
Unsurprisingly, something did happen, and the pair split. Baldwin described it to Vogue as a “very dramatic excommunication,” though she didn’t speak on the exact reason other than labeling it “negative things.” It all seemed to come to a head when Bieber canceled the final 14 dates on his Purpose world tour, citing mental health and relationship concerns.
At the time, he worried that both his career and mental health weren’t “sustainable.” Bieber then reconnected with Gomez, only to split a few months later. Two months after that, he and Baldwin ended up at church toghether, and the rest is history.
According to People, the pair secretly tied the knot at a courthouse in NYC in September 2018 after a two-month engagement. “They went ahead and did it without listening to anyone,” a source claimed.
Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin admittedly rushed into marriage. In a February 2019 interview with Vogue, the singer revealed that their motivation was at least partially — but not fully — to do with his self-imposed celibacy, which had been going on for more than a year. He claims to have had a “legitimate problem with sex” (along with his risky substance use, which we’ll get to later) and used that time to focus on faith.
Not long after walking down the courthouse hallway, the pair settled down in Bieber’s home just outside of Toronto (an old-school move in a world where celebs move in well before tying the knot). Once there, the pair’s life seemed at least marginally similar to the leagues of non-famous newlyweds before them, aside from the fact that they were residing in a $6.8 million, 101-acre estate and Bieber was sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber.
Per Vogue, which described their newfound “cohabitation” as “a test,” they spent their time “squabbling over decorating decisions” and searching for balance among their differing personalities. “Fighting is good,” Bieber told the magazine. “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.”