Why Justin & Hailey Bieber’s Relationship Has Left the Online World Divided


| LAST UPDATE 03/07/2023

By Christiana Holland

Hailey and Justin have a history spanning over a decade - but it hasn't always been smooth sailing. From drama with Selena to dealing with haters, here's a glimpse inside their controversial marriage...

The Meet & Greet

We might think Hailey and Justin got together from being in the same social group, but they actually first met at a meet-and-greet on a red carpet. It was 2009, and Justin's hair was already making a name for himself.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

Bieber was starring on the Today show in the very early hours, and some fans made a special effort to support the beloved singer. One belieber, in particular, turned up and brought his daughter with him: Stephen Baldwin. But when a shy Hailey shook Justin's hand, she had no idea what the future held.

Never Say Never

Though Hailey didn't seem like his biggest fan at first, she sure did make a lot of appearances by his side at future events. In February 2011, Justin's big blockbuster Never Say Never premiered, and screams were heard all over the world. The premiere took place in NYC, and surprise, surprise, Justin's new friend was there for support.

Justin Hailey Never Say NeverJustin Hailey Never Say Never
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic via Getty Images

The two were photographed together, and, once again, Mr. Baldwin was also in the picture. Oddly enough, Hailey told Vogue she was "never a superfan… It was never that crazed, screaming thing. I didn't think about it in any kind of way except for the fact that he was cute. Everybody had a crush on him." Yet, things drastically changed.

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Jelena's #1 Fan

While Hailey was there on the sideline to support her new friend, Justin was head over heels in love with Disney's princess, Selena Gomez. He made it clear on numerous radio and television appearances that he thought Gomez was super pretty - and in the blink of an eye, Selena returned the favor.

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Kevin Mazur/TCA 2012/WireImage via Getty Images

Everyone was obsessed with Jelena, including Hailey, despite claiming she was never a fan. In May and September 2011, Hailey regularly tweeted her love for the couple, "I don't care what anyone says, but Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez together is the definition of a teenage dream! #word." But this tweet has been deleted since.

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Friends in High Places

The friendship grew stronger, and their crew got bigger. While Kendall Jenner was already involved with Justin's squad, she and Hailey began to hang out more often. In February 2014, the 3 of them were spotted at a Hillsong church service, and despite their different ages, their common interests were a good enough excuse for them to hang out.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

Hailey is 3 years younger than Justin, so as you can imagine, any 18-year-old would love hanging out with the 21-year-old star. Hailey told Vogue, "one day Justin walked into Hillsong and was like, 'Hey, you got older.' I was like, 'Yeah, what's up?'" And from that moment on, nothing would ever be the same.

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Romance Rumors

Fast forward, and Hailey suddenly appeared on Justin's Instagram. Now, if we add a little context to the situation, Justin and Selena, aka Jelena, had just broken things off. Fans were crazy about this couple - and by this point, they had been dating since 2010. Of course, rebound rumors immediately came into play.

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E! News via YouTube

The pair continued to deny dating rumors, and to be honest, why wouldn't they? They had the ultimate squad going, so why complicate things? After Hailey spoke with E!, there shouldn't have been more speculation, but fans couldn't let go of the online speculation. The love triangle became an instant frenzy.

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Deny, Deny, Deny

Hailey eventually decided to set the record straight. She assured E! News, "I've known him since I was so young - since I was like 13 - and we've just been good friends over the years… there's nothing more to it than that." But was that really the case?

Justin Hailey Relationship TimelineJustin Hailey Relationship Timeline
@justinbieber via Instagram

Even Justin had a few words to say about clearing up these "heinous" rumors. In fact, he posted a subtle B&W pic of him and Hailey to his Insta with the caption, "People are crazy. I'm super single and this is my good friend u would know otherwise." While the 'super single' comment must have stung for Selena, he wasn't fooling anyone.

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New Year, New Lady?

We know celebs can be friends and keep it that way. But, when a new face randomly falls into the picture, fans get to work and start digging. That was the case for Hailey and Justin. Shortly after they denied the rumors in early December - again - Bieber continued to post snaps. And this time, they were on vacation to spend NYE together.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

Instagram was in its golden era. While stories hadn't been developed yet, everything was documented and posted to the feed - thankfully. It had just turned midnight, and 2015 had arrived. Justin had posted footage of him and friends gathering around watching a firework display to celebrate... and Hailey made a small appearance.

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Where's Selena?

There was a lot of talk about why Selena spent 2014/2015 New Year's in Dubai with Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Cody Simpson. They had a public friendship, but everyone knew the Jenners were already tight with Hailey. While Selena was embracing her post-break-up girls' trip, Justin and Hailey were spending NYE elsewhere.

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@olivier_rousteing via Instagram

Stories even began to circulate around the press over Selena about her trip shading her ex, proving she was thriving and doing just fine without him. Of course, this was in the middle of her and Justin's rocky relationship - and little did they both know things were about to get much more complicated.

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Public Debut

So after some quality new year's time together, things only continued to heat up further. Sure, friends go to prom together, right? Usually, friends do go to prom together - but sometimes it calls for deeper feelings. And when spring 2015 hit, Hailey and Justin's relationship blossomed just like the seasons.

Justin Hailey Viral PaparazziJustin Hailey Viral Paparazzi
JMAStar/MaxGC Images via Getty Images

The two were always seen spending time together in Beverly Hills and also crashed a prom! Justin tweeted on April 26th, 2015, "Always wanted to go to prom. Thanks for having me. #promcrasher :)." While Bieber attended the Chatsworth Charter High School prom, his Mrs.-to-be was also there with fellow model Gabby Westbrook. Coincidence?

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Heating Up

Vacations are a huge step in any relationship, knowing a pair can go - or fly - the extra mile with each other. Now, Selena and Justin had their fair share of overseas moments, including their NYE in St. Barts in 2011. But times quickly changed.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

While Hailey was accompanied by plenty of Bieber's crew for New Year's Eve the previous year, this vacation seemed more serious. They could deny the relationship rumors all they wanted, but how close can friends be to take a trip with the entire family? In December 2015, Hailey attended a Bieber-infused trip to Mexico.

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Mixed Signals

While Justin, his father, and his siblings planned this trip to Tulum, they were joined by a very special guest. The vacation was highly documented all over the press, and people could not stop obsessing over this trip. Fans also had many questions - and the Jelena supporters didn't seem too happy about the situation.

Justin Hailey Family VacationJustin Hailey Family Vacation
@justinbieber via Instagram

Justin's head seemed scrambled. We can't blame him for being young, wild, and free, but fans didn't approve of how he went about it. A few short weeks after their X-mas trip, he was seen serenading Gomez at a hotel in Beverly Hills - despite consistently posting pics of him and Hailey in Tulum. Fans wanted answers, fast.

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Back & Forth

At this point, Justin was seemingly juggling 2 women's hearts. From trips to Mexico to private one on one concerts, Bieber made up his mind… or so we thought. However, in December 2015, Justin and Hailey were finally snapped, sharing a kiss as New Year's approached.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

The pattern was becoming more consistent - and let's just say this story was the height of pop culture news. Bieber's bad boy yet hopelessly devoted image was extremely confusing - but the fans just wanted what was best for him. Although, it was moments like these that sparked the Jelena vs. Jailey debate.

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Instagram Official

After a year of speculation and back-and-forth drama, Justin and Hailey finally went Instagram official with probably one of the biggest smooches in Insta history. As if sharing their relationship with the world wasn't hard enough, fans threw shade after they realized the couple was vacationing in St. Barts. Ring a bell?

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@justinbieber via Instagram

When it came to interviews, the Baby singer didn't hold back his feelings for Baldwin. It was all PDA from that moment on, with cozy snaps of the new fresh couple in Hollywood. Still, fans couldn't just act like Selena didn't exist. Although, she wasn't exactly jumping at the chance to speak publicly about her love life. How did she feel?

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"So Beyond Done"

In the midst of things, it was important to check in with Gomez, regardless if she wanted to discuss things or not. She was a real person in a real situation - more than a headline made purely for entertainment. And the actress was fed up at this point...

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@justinbieber via Instagram

After confirmation, Gomez spoke with Rolling Stone, shutting down anything Bieber-related, "Honestly, what I would love to be printed is that I am so beyond done with talking about that, and him," followed by a statement to W, "I'm so exhausted. I honestly am so done. I care about his health and well-being. But I can't do it anymore."

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It's Complicated

February 2016 came rolling in, and Hailey and Justin were the first to speak up about all things love. Bieber was GQ's cover story for its March issue. He described Hailey as "someone I really love, We spent a lot of time together… I know that in the past I've hurt people and said things that I didn't mean to make them happy in the moment."

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@justinbieber via Instagram

While Hailey told E! they were "not an exclusive couple," she made it clear their age made things "complicated" and didn't want to speak so publicly. On the other hand, Bieber confessed, "What if Hailey ends up being the girl I'm gonna marry, right? If I rush into anything, if I damage her, then it's always gonna be damaged."

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From talking about marriage to love triangles, Justin posted a pic of him and Selena sharing a smooch on March 20th, 2016. He captioned the picture "feels," while Selena had attended his concert in LA that same month. It didn't stop there as things got even more complicated. Has anyone seen Hailey?

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@justinbieber via Instagram

While the post immediately marked the return of Gomez and her on-and-off bae Bieber, a turn of events confirmed romance might not have been in the cards like we thought. When Selena performed in May during her revival tour, a fan held up a sign that read, "Marry Justin Please." But Gomez crumpled the poster and tossed it to the side.

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It seemed Baldwin and Bieber were no longer involved with each other, but Biebs took it up a notch when he unfollowed the model on Instagram. Hailey told Vogue, "Negative things happened that we still need to talk about and work through… 'Fizzled' would not be the right word - it was more like a very dramatic ex-communication."

Justin Hailey Sofia RichieJustin Hailey Sofia Richie
@justinbieber via Instagram

While a love triangle was emotionally draining enough, it became more messy when Sofia Richie came into the mix. After a heated Instagram feud with Selena over Sofia, Hailey was brought into it. According to People, "out of nowhere, Sofia apparently made him unfollow Hailey, and now she and her friends are all super upset."

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Sofia's Scrutiny

The new fling with Richie really stirred the pot between Jelena, Justin, and Jailey fans. While Bieber stepped out on the scene with his new lady, this didn't sit well with his followers at all - resulting in Bieber writing, "I'm gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don't stop the hate."

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@sofiarichie via Instagram

He continued, "If you guys are really fans, you wouldn't be so mean to people that I like." Gomez then stepped in and commented, "If you can't handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol - It should be special between you two only. Don't be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before anyone ever did."

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Serial Dater

Bieber's fling with Sofia didn't last very long, despite jetting off to Japan and Mexico together. They reportedly ended 1 month after announcing their romance. For the rest of the year, and in previous months, it seemed Justin's head wasn't in the right place. He was becoming quite the heartbreaker...

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@justinbieber via Instagram

The Biebs began dating around - with lots of various stars. Around this time period, the singer had brief romances with Nicola Peltz - now Nicola Peltz Beckham - in June 2016, and Chantel Jeffries in July. And how can we forget about the ultimate cougar moment from Kourtney Kardashian?

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The Weeknd Enters the Picture

Justin was figuring his own stuff out, and it seemed he didn't have time or energy for anything serious. However, Miss Gomez had other plans and focused on herself. The artist started dating The Weeknd in January 2017. Yes, she had taken his breath away. (We had to.)

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@selenagomez via Instagram

After the Canadian singer cut ties with long-term girlfriend, Bella Hadid, he began dating the Disney actress. They first met at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show but shared a kiss at a restaurant in L.A. in early 2017. A source told People, "it's new and nothing serious." Yet, the two made a major debut at the 2017 Met Gala.

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The Heart Wants What It Wants

Despite world tours, traveling continents together, and posting cute snaps, Selena and Abel called it quits after 10 months of dating. In the blink of an eye, the Rare beauty founder was seen at Church, followed by a breakfast date with the Biebs. Although this is what many fans wanted, no one expected it to happen so soon.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

Per People, it was "quiet date nights at home and outings to local, low-key spots… They have learned from past mistakes and are not putting any pressure on each other. Things are much different and more mature." Things were moving forward, and they thought this would be the final straw of their relationship drama.

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Clearing the Air

In December 2017, Jelena was getting back to the place they were at the start. While the pair had not shared PDA on the 'gram yet, they were snapped hanging out, riding bikes, while Selena was seen wearing Bieber's hockey jersey, supporting him at games from the sidelines. But Justin and Baldwin also seemed to have rekindled.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

Teen Vogue reported that Justin reached out to Hailey to "clear the air" out of Christian faith. But Gomez was far from thrilled. In May 2018, Baldwin told The Times U.K. that the pair "went through a long period of time when we weren't friends… there was a lot of weirdness that went on." Talk about cutting the tension with a knife!

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Hopelessly Devoted

Regardless of Gomez's hesitations about Bieber's fresh friendship with his ex, the two enjoyed each other's company for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner in Feb 2018. They later jetted off to Jamaica for Jeremy Bieber's birthday! Now, we know the gist of family vacations...

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@selenagomez via Instagram

On March 1st, Justin's birthday, Selena took this as the perfect chance to take their love to socials and announce the rekindled romance. The celebratory post was captioned, "March 1, 1994 someone I know that happens to be super cool was born. Boom." Boom was right, as just 1 week later, People confirmed the couple was taking a break...

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Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

While the world sat back and watched 3 major stars get caught up in one of the biggest love battles Hollywood had ever seen, fans couldn't take it anymore. Remember that Instagram feud when Bieber was dating Sofia Richie? Well, Gomez didn't hold back when she revealed some interesting cheating claims.

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Frazer Harrison/AMA 2011 for AMA via Getty Images

After Selena clapped back at Justin being mad at his fans, Bieber suggested Gomez "used" him for attention. All it took was one comment for Selena to say, "Funny how the ones that cheated multiple times, are pointing the finger at the ones that were forgiving and supportive, no wonder fans are mad. Sad. All love." Was it all love?

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Baldwin's Back

Shortly after the split, a Bieber source told People, "It doesn't seem like a big deal, and they will probably be fine soon again." Fans were rooting for them! But there was something about Baldwin - and before we knew it, she was back on the scene. In May 2018, Hailey told Elle they were able to move past their awkward era.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

It was a quick turn of events for Biebs, so we all knew there was something to speculate over. By the time June 2018 came around, around 2 months after Jelena's last split, the singer and model began to progress with their relationship. They were seen as "flirty" and "inseparable" at LIV in Miami and also had Church weekend plans.

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Surprise Engagement

While they were spotted kissing in Brooklyn, Entertainment Tonight reported the pair were "casually dating" but then officially back on. One month later, they both announced on Instagram that they were engaged. We could say there was a divide where half the world saw it coming, and the other half was totally taken back.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

Justin wrote, "Was gonna wait a while to say anything, but word travels fast, listen plain and simple, Hailey, I am soooo in love with everything about you! So committed to spending my life getting to know every single part of you loving you patiently and kindly… My heart is COMPLETELY and FULLY YOURS and I will ALWAYS put you first!"

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Together, Forever

The couple wasted no time tying the knot. After moving in together just outside of Toronto, they revealed to Vogue they were taking part in couple's therapy to adjust to living together so quickly. Things were done fairly quickly, and on September 13th, they had a civil ceremony in NYC where they were issued a marriage license.

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Justin Bieber via YouTube

On September 30th, Justin and Hailey tied the knot again in a lavish celebration in South Carolina. The pair officially said "I do" with over 150 of their closest friends and family members. It took place at the Montage Palmetto Bluff. Hailey explained in their YouTube series, "Everything happened the exact way it was supposed to."

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"In 2 Months You Replaced Us"

This was not easy news to digest for many - including Selena. After decades of ups and downs, she was emotionally overwhelmed by the situation. Her last hope was to write down and tell all in a song, which she released in October 2019 titled, Lose You To Love Me - and she had no plans to play it subtly.

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@justinbieber via Instagram

The emotional lyrics read, "Set fire to my purpose and I let it burn," referring to Bieber's 2015 album, Purpose, while the song later read, "In two months you replaced us like it was easy." Clearly, her lyrics said it all. Later, she told Interview, "I needed to hit rock-bottom to understand that there was this huge veil over my face."

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Trouble in Paradise

Fast forward to 2022, the Drew House founder revealed to Apple Music that his mental health battle intervened with his marriage. He admitted, "It's a journey. I remember when I first got married, I hit a little bit of an emotional breakdown because I thought marriage was going to fix all my problems and it didn't."

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@haileybieber via Instagram

A few months later, after Justin's health scares, Hailey had her say on marriage and told Harper's Bazaar, "I just think life is changing all the time…You have to figure out how to deal with this s*** as it comes, you know?… At the end of the day, like, he's my best friend, but it still does take a lot of work to make it work."

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Call Her Daddy Confessions

After all these years, it was time to put all the drama under the rug once - and finally get some real answers. Alex Cooper, the host of the Call Her Daddy podcast, invited Mrs. Bieber on the show with intense questions lined up for her. Most importantly, she addressed the claim she stole Bieber from Gomez.

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@callherdaddy via Instagram

Hailey said, "I can say, period, point blank, I was never with him when he was in a relationship with anybody - that's the end of it." The following day, Gomez spoke on TikTok, thanking her fans for supporting her beauty brand, Rare, with the knowledge of what they are representing, "and that is: Words matter. Truly matter."

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"Mean Girl"

But it didn't take long for another claim to break the internet. In February 2023, Gomez mocked herself after accidentally laminating her eyebrows "too much." But hours later, Mrs. Bieber and her pal Kylie Jenner might have thrown some shade when they posted similar brow pics - leading users to call them out for "mean girl behavior."

Kylie Jenner Selena Hailey FeudKylie Jenner Selena Hailey Feud
@kyliejenner via Instagram

Kylie posted a blurred selfie with "this was an accident" over her brows, while a facetime screenshot of her and Hailey's brows was then posted. After immediate speculation, Kylie jumped in writing, "u guys are making something out of nothing. this is silly," while the Calm Down singer responded, "I'm a fan of Kylie!" The drama never ends...

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