If you’re like me, you stopped caring about Justin Bieber back in 2012, had a very brief reassessment of your feelings when “Despacito” dropped, but then returned to regular programming (i.e. not giving a sh*t) when other, better songs came out shortly thereafter. Well, the former swoopy-banged child who sounded whiter than snow when attempting a Spanish accent just landed a Vogue cover with his wife, Hailey Baldwin. I know, it still feels weird to write that out. I guess Hailey is officially one less lonely girl, and apparently that’s the kind of ~international shockathon~ that deserves a Vogue cover and complementary feature? But unlike most wedding-centric blabfests in major publications and Instagram captions in which the newlyweds are especially mushy and insufferably in love, Hailey and Justin Bieber are candid—they’re weirdly skeptical about marriage and aren’t afraid to share their mistrust of each other with the Vogue writer they literally just met. Don’t get me wrong, their candor made for a great read. What it did not do is convince me that their marriage is going to last any longer than the half and half sitting in my fridge right now.
As a creative writing major, I will start my critique with one positive comment, as you do: Hailey looks stunning on the cover in a white Prada dress and Tiffany & Co jewelry. That’s the only nice thing I have to say because everything else about the cover is pretty horrific, not limited to Justin’s creepy drug dealer smirk.
But I’m not here to provide an art critique. I got the sense that the article wants me to conclude that Justin and Hailey are perfect for each other, despite what tradition and/or common sense may lead many to believe. Maybe I’m just cynical, but my reading experience was a little different. As the girl sitting at the desk next to mine can attest, I made my way through the interview, periodically exclaiming “oh no” to myself with increasing volume.
For instance, we’re not even midway into the third paragraph before Hailey admits, “Marriage is very hard” after being married for about 12 weeks. I’ve never been married, but I can’t imagine the struggles are that real after being husband and wife for less time than it takes for my car to require an oil change. Isn’t there a phrase for the newlywed bliss many couples feel in the beginning stages of their marriage? Oh right, the honeymoon phase. Well, maybe that will come when they actually have a honeymoon, who knows. It’s pretty telling when the writer notes, “It is impossible not to feel, in Justin’s presence, that he is still recovering from something.” If those kinds of emotions are so obvious to a complete stranger, I wonder how his one true love feels. Can she also tell that Justin is a delicate mess capable of imploding any a moment’s notice?
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“I’ve always wanted security…With the lifestyle I live, everything is so uncertain. I need one thing that’s certain. And that is my baby boo,” @justinbieber says of his wife @haileybieber in our March cover story. Tap the link in our bio to read more about their passionate, not-always-easy, but absolutely all-in romance. Photographed by #AnnieLeibovitz, styled by @tonnegood, @michael_philouze, and @karlawelchstylist written by @robertjhaskell, Vogue, March 2019
That’s not the only sign Justin and Hailey’s relationship is on shaky foundation. If you are alive, well, and have Instagram, you know that the couple dated for a hot second a few years ago, but the relationship exploded when “a betrayal occurred”, as Vogue calls it. Or as I call it: when he cheated on her. She essentially took the high road and ghosted him, and we had mad respect for her. At least I did, since my response to getting cheated on is sending north of 500 drunk texts telling him how much I hate him and the details of his impending murder. To make a long story short, we know how this story ended: with Justin and Hailey
rushing walking down the figurative aisle (they have yet to finalize a formal wedding). Call me crazy, but I assumed they’d had a deep, long conversation about the “betrayal” before mutually agreeing to spend forever together. But apparently, this conversation (that I may or may not have fully scripted out in my head) did not ever take place. Hailey says, “Negative things happened that we still need to talk about and work through.” In other words, Hailey took the same approach to Justin’s cheating as I do to seeing a spider in my room: say and do nothing, and hope it will go away. No honey, you should have talked and worked through this sh*t before you signed a document legally binding you to this child man who once peed in a trash can in a five-star restaurant’s kitchen.
I am not a Belieber, but I do have so much sympathy for child stars who are basically forced into a life of enormous empty houses and even bigger trust issues, and Justin is not an exception. He says, “I’ve struggled with the feeling that people are using me or aren’t really there for me.” As the forever designated driver, I can relate and empathize with him on this. But he also admits he doesn’t even fully trust Hailey, which is a concerning and insulting thing to say about your wife, especially while she is literally sitting right next to you. But, unlike me, Hailey doesn’t appear fazed by this admission. She instead diverts the narrative to a simpler time, back when they first locked eyes from across the room. She says, “One day Justin walked into Hillsong [Church] and was like, ‘Hey, you got older.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ Over time he became my best guy friend. I was running around with him as his homie.” And I’ve got to wonder: Did Bella Hadid circa her insanely-uncomfortable-to-watch Complex interview just highjack Hailey Baldwin’s brain? But more importantly, I get the impression that Hailey’s engagement to Justin was as much as shock to all of us as it was to Hailey. She admits of their reunion, “he was like, ‘We’re not going to be friends.’ I was like, ‘We’re not?’ Within a month, he had slipped an enormous oval-shaped diamond ring on her finger.” Yes, this is romantic, but it’s also questionable. Like, you got married without even talking about it? Sure, whirlwind romances happen all the time, but they’re not exactly known for lasting.
Nearing the end of the article, Justin unknowingly sums up the issues with his marriage by saying of Hailey, “She’s trying to be this grown-up.” Ah yes, how could we forget that they are both actual children masquerading as functional adults who do things like make lifelong commitments to one another? Maybe that’s why this marriage is off to a weird start! There’s a reason the legal drinking age is 21, and I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s because your brain doesn’t fully develop until then. And sure, 22 is old enough to legally drink at your wedding, but is it really old enough to understand the full ramifications of your decisions? I won’t attempt to answer that, but I will say that at 22, I still thought side bangs flattered my face. Then again, I haven’t had a religious awakening, so who knows!
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As newlyweds, @justinbieber and @haileybieber have learned is that they are pretty happy homebodies. They like to lounge around the house, watch movies, listen to music and dance in their kitchen. But it hasn't been blissful 100% of the time. "The thing is, marriage is very hard,” says Hailey. “That is the sentence you should lead with. It’s really effing hard.” Tap the link in our bio to learn about their relationship background, their struggles, and why they're committed to growing together. Photographed by #AnnieLeibovitz, styled by @tonnegood, @michael_philouze, and @Karla welchstylist. written by @robertjhaskell, Vogue, March 2019
Ok, I’m not like, the Grinch of love, so I will say that after going through all 3,621 words, it is clear that there is definitely a lot of love between Hailey and Justin. They care about each other more than a lot of people who have been together for years and should have broken up by now. Hailey says, “We’re coming from a really genuine place. But we’re two young people who are learning as we go. I’m not going to sit here and lie and say it’s all a magical fantasy. It’s always going to be hard. It’s a choice. You don’t feel it every single day. You don’t wake up every day saying, ‘I’m absolutely so in love and you are perfect.’ That’s not what being married is. But there’s something beautiful about it anyway—about wanting to fight for something, commit to building with someone. We’re really young, and that’s a scary aspect. We’re going to change a lot. But we’re committed to growing together and supporting each other in those changes. That’s how I look at it. At the end of the day, too, he’s my best friend. I never get sick of him.”
I can’t imagine being married to Justin Bieber is anything short of a magical fantasy (lol jk it’s my actual worst nightmare), but she has a good point. People who get married assuming it’s going to be all rainbows and dinner dates are usually the ones who get divorced because they weren’t expecting a lifelong commitment to be the slightest bit challenging. And yet, all Justin manages to choke out in response to this thoughtful take on marriage is, “And you’re my baby boo.” But just because I question the longevity of Justin and Hailey’s marriage doesn’t mean I want them to fail! In fact, I wish them all the best and want them to succeed—even if I don’t see it happening.
Images: voguemagazine / Instagram (3); Giphy