She may only be 24, but Hailey Bieber has seen it all.
The supermodel recently opened up about her Christian faith, juggling the good and bad of being in the public eye with husband Justin Bieber and how dealing with her own father’s addiction helped her navigate Justin’s own recovery.
“There’s a lot of addiction that runs in my family, not even just my dad, but a lot of other people on that side of my family struggle with a lot of different things,” Hailey told Amanda de Cadenet on the podcast Victoria’s Secret Voices. “My dad was always really open about [his addiction] and I always appreciated that … He was always extremely open about why being sober worked for him and why we needed to be sober and what alcoholic behavior looks like, and why that comes out.”
“I was never somebody who struggled with any substances,” Hailey acknowledged. “That was because I was so aware of it because of my dad. He had a really big issue with cocaine and I was like, I’m never trying it because I was so scared that if I tried it one time it might lead into something else.”
That experience, she said, helped her navigate Justin’s journey toward sobriety. “When I was talking before about working on a lot of stuff when we first got married, I think that was a part of it too,” she explained. “Looking back on times of drug use and being in some dark spaces and having to kind of go back there was extremely difficult.”
Having “open dialogue” about it has been enormously beneficial, she pointed out.
“Being like, ‘Hey, where are you at with this?’ I’ve had times where I would get nervous, [asking Justin], ‘Are you OK to do this? Because you did have a time in your life where it was not OK for you and it was a dark time for you.’ But he has very good self awareness when it comes to that and is very open about it and that’s all I can really ask for.”
Since the couple married in 2018, later throwing a ceremony in 2019, their personal lives have been an easy target for the media. Bieber credits her “Christian faith” for helping her find “empathy” for social media trolls.
“I think about it a lot because something what tends to happen all the time when you’re in the public eye is that people kind of invent who they think you are,” she explains. “I think a lot of people don’t have a lot of empathy for people in the public eye. I do think when people are like, ‘Well she asked for this,’ that’s actually not true because I didn’t ask for grown men to follow me around with cameras and harass me and invade my space and ask me really invasive questions and make me feel unsafe. I didn’t ask for that. Nobody wants that.”
Having been raised in the church, Bieber also spoke about some of the hypocrisies she’s experienced as a woman of faith, including the “shame” some Christians have spewed on her because of her lifestyle.
“Because of what I do, because of my job, I show a lot of skin, I do a lot of things where according to church world would be provocative,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people say a lot about, well, it’s very misleading or it is bad representation. A conversation that I think needs to be opened wide up is the shaming that comes from the church environment towards women.”
“I think something that happens when you’re raised in the church and you’re not having enough open dialogue is that everything feels like you’re dong something bad. I think that’s how I felt for many years,” she explained. “I would go out and get drunk or something and I’d feel a lot of shame. There’s a lot of shame attached to the church.”
“I believe a relationship with God is the opposite of feeling shame,” she continued. “I don’t think that God wants you to feel shameful and that everything is a bad thing. Even like having sex before you’re married, that was a big thing for me as a teenager. I was like, ‘oh my God, straight up I’m going to hell.’ That kind of thing was so intense for me and I just had to undo a lot of that.”
Still, nowadays Bieber is taking these lessons and applying them for the future, especially when it comes to creating a work-life balance and understanding the important things in life.
“As I get older I’m a big believer that sometimes our no’s are more powerful than our yeses,” she said. “I always try to make sure that it’s like family first, and when I say family, right now family is me and my husband and the dog. I always try to put that at the top spot before work.”