Justin Bieber is still recovering from his trying teenage years and early 20s.
The pop star, 24, sat for an interview for Vogue‘s March cover with his new wife, Hailey Baldwin, and opened up about becoming so famous so young — as well as his very public mental health issues that followed.
“I started really feeling myself too much. ‘People love me, I’m the s—,’ that’s honestly what I thought. I got very arrogant and cocky. I was wearing sunglasses inside,” he told the outlet as Baldwin emphasized, “At night inside.”
Drugs — and “a legitimate problem with sex” — came with making millions at 20 years old, Bieber admitted.
“I found myself doing things that I was so ashamed of, being super-promiscuous and stuff, and I think I used Xanax because I was so ashamed,” he said.
“My mom always said to treat women with respect. For me that was always in my head while I was doing it, so I could never enjoy it. Drugs put a screen between me and what I was doing. It got pretty dark. I think there were times when my security was coming in late at night to check my pulse and see if I was still breathing.”
Naturally, these struggles bled into his career. In 2017, he canceled his Purpose world tour with 14 shows left amid rumors about his mental health.
“I got really depressed on tour,” he recalled. “I haven’t talked about this, and I’m still processing so much stuff that I haven’t talked about. I was lonely. I needed some time.”
Bieber said he’s since made a conscious decision to step back from the career that made him famous.
“Just thinking about music stresses me out. I’ve been successful since I was 13, so I didn’t really have a chance to find who I was apart from what I did,” he explained. “I just needed some time to evaluate myself: who I am, what I want out of my life, my relationships, who I want to be — stuff that when you’re so immersed in the music business you kind of lose sight of.”
Having been burned too many times, Bieber says his relationships — both personal and professional — have also suffered due to suspicions that others have ulterior motives.
“It’s been so hard for me to trust people,” he explained. “I’ve struggled with the feeling that people are using me or aren’t really there for me, and that writers are looking to get something out of me and then use it against me.”
The “Sorry” singer continued: “One of the big things for me is trusting myself. I’ve made some bad decisions personally, and in relationships. Those mistakes have affected my confidence in my judgment. It’s been difficult for me even to trust Hailey.”
Then he asked his wife, “We’ve been working through stuff. And it’s great, right?”
“I’m fighting to do this the right way, to build a healthy relationship. I want people to know that,” Baldwin, 22, replied. “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. … 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.”
And the singer stripped down and dressed in nothing but a pair of dark Dior shorts and white sneakers, showing off the tattoos covering his body.
PEOPLE first confirmed a cover was in the works in December when they were seen posing in a park in Los Angeles.