5 Things We Learned From Justin Bieber's 'i-D' Cover Story

Justin Bieber's maturing in the public eye has not been the easiest transition, but he's made it. As the 21-year-old pop star steps out as an adult with his album Purpose's release on Friday, it begins a new stage his career, in many ways transcending the mistakes of his youth and even some of those hits that first made him a star. 

The Billboard Cover Story: Justin Bieber -- 'I Was Close to Letting Fame Destroy Me'

Bieber's coming of age is the focus of i-D magazine's new cover story, interviewing the "What Do You Mean?" singer on some of his more turbulent trials over the past few years, as well was those experiences that have led to what seems to be a reasonably adjusted 20-something global superstar. 

From more on Selena Gomez to that whole monkey incident, here are five things we learned from the feature:


1. With his Calvin Klein underwear campaign earlier this year, Bieber lived out a lie his dad used to tell to pick up women. 

Bieber revealed a running joke he and his dad share about the ad campaign that showed the pop star played drums in his underwear. "My dad actually, when he was younger, used to go to bars and tell people he was a Calvin Klein model," he said, explaining he'd even take his shirt off to prove it. a"So now that I am one, he's like, 'Justin, you're fucking crazy.' ... My dad had a chiseled body back then. He had a crazy body."


2. More about his relationship and break up with Selena Gomez:

Like many first loves that come to an end, Bieber concedes his romance with Selena Gomez felt like too much too young. "I think with that relationship… I put so much of myself on the line with her, because I was so distant with everyone else," he said. "So it's like, you have the world who's loving you but it's not like they know my heart -- they don't know me. So when I found that love I was just like, 'Woah, I want to hold on to this.' And I just put everything into it and in reality there's just no holding back. You're just like, 'This love feels so good.'"

"It's like, magical," he continued. "There's nothing like it. So I felt that and I just didn't want to let it go. When it was hard, I was just like, 'I want to stick this out. So it was on again, off again, on again, off again.... We were working out how to be in a relationship, how to be ourselves, who we were, in the middle of having people judge our relationship through the media. I think that really messed my head up too.... Because then, it's like trust and all this other stuff that starts messing with your mind. You're on the road. And there are beautiful women on the road. And you're just getting yourself into trouble."

Watch Seth Rogen End His Justin Bieber Beef on 'Ellen': 'It's All My Fault'


3. Bieber's position on smoking pot:

Bieber says that during a rough patch in his life he felt like was fighting against the people who were telling what he needed to be doing, or otherwise. He was unhappy and "numbing my pain with other stuff." But on the plus side, he said he learned a lot about himself while high. "You just figure out what you want to be and who you don't want to be," he said. "You have all these questions and you start answering these questions." 

But for how the public viewed his experimenting with drugs, he said he figured out that shouldn't be part of his public persona. 

"I mean, honestly, it's just about perception," he said. "At the end of the day, there are people who don't think that's good. And if they don't feel that's good then I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable. So I'm not going to put it in their face. You'll never see me smoking. Because that is not who I am. If it's something I do then it's something I do, but it's not who I am and what I want to put on blast for the world to see. Like, who's Snoop Dogg? That's the dude who smokes a lot of weed. That's become his identity almost. And I don't want my identity to be anything but who I am and what my music is portraying me to be."


4. He picked up a few things from hanging around Rick Rubin:

Though most the material Bieber worked on at Rick Rubin's Malibu studio wound up getting scrapped for Purpose, he learned a lot from the week and a half he spent with the musical icon. 

"We did a lot of meditating. We prayed together. We got pretty close pretty quick," he said. "He makes people feel valued when they're in his presence, which is really a special quality. I'm working on that right now. When I'm in any situation, I want to make the person feel valued. Really engage with them. It's been hard because there are so many people that always want something. But I'm getting better at it." 


5. Justin doesn't regret the monkey episode. 

Bieber explained the whole monkey incident where he wound up without the right papers for his pet monkey while traveling to Germany and had to leave the animal in that country. It was a present from a friend, which to most normal people sounds odd but he contested, "It wasn't a weird thing for me. Obviously people looked at it like, 'Why does he have a monkey?' But if you could get a monkey, wouldn't you want a monkey? ... Come on! Let's not look at that as a weird thing, that's a pretty cool thing to have. It's a monkey!"

And then from there, he said, he just wanted to bring the monkey everywhere with him: "I was like, I'm not going anywhere without the monkey. I went to Germany and they were like, you don't have the right papers. I had brought all the papers that I thought I needed but apparently I didn't have the right ones so they took my monkey. Really, I can see why Michael would like monkeys. I don't see anything wrong with having a monkey. I might get another one." 

Where is the monkey now? He said, "The monkey is in a zoo in Germany, so it's being cared for. And it's with other monkeys, so it's happy."


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