Justin Bieber sat down for an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe this week and shared an intimate peek inside his relationship with wife Hailey Bieber, who inspired many of the songs on his new album Changes. According to Justin, Hailey has helped him grow over the last few years—though he admits it took him a while to get to a place where he could commit. He also alluded to his time with his ex Selena Gomez, sharing that he knew he needed to work through issues from his “previous relationship” before he married Hailey.
“I think I was just hurt from my previous relationship,” he explains. “I think I still was dealing with a lot of unforgiveness and all that sort of stuff. To be honest, I don’t even think I knew what I was struggling with at the time.”
The couple dated on and off, and during the breaks, Justin says, he would try to work on bettering himself. “In my previous relationship, I went off and just went crazy and went wild, just was being reckless,” he said, referring to his past with Gomez. “This time, I took the time to really build myself and focus on me, and try to make the right decisions and all that sort of stuff. And yeah, I got better.”
As for Gomez, she’s laid out her feelings about her breakup with Justin on her album, Rare, and said she experienced emotional abuse. “It’s dangerous to stay in a victim mentality. And I’m not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse,” she said in an interview with NPR.
When the interviewer asked her if she meant “emotional abuse,” Gomez replied, “Yes, and I think that it’s something that—I had to find a way to understand it as an adult. And I had to understand the choices I was making. As much as I definitely don’t want to spend the rest of my life talking about this, I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt and I’ve found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible.”
Bieber has also admitted he “abused” his previous relationships in an Instagram post from September, in which he wrote, “I became resentful, disrespectful to women and angry.” However, while speaking to Lowe, he cited Hailey as a huge reason he’s been able to reconcile with his past and move forward.
“It’s been a big reason to why I’m coming back and I’m successful at this,” he said. “I think she is definitely the reason. There’d be no story without her, she just ties it all together. I mean, she giving me substance to talk about… She’s the person that I’m learning to love unconditionally and start a family with.”
You can watch Justin Bieber’s full interview, below: