Justin Bieber slams paparazzi for taking 'disheveled' photos that depict him as 'unhealthy'

Elise Solé
·4 min read
Justin Bieber took issue with his public perception in Instagram videos. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Justin Bieber took issue with his public perception in Instagram videos. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Justin Bieber’s complicated relationship with the media took another hit on Friday, as he claimed “disheveled” paparazzi photos of him were a form of sabotage.

The “Holy” singer made the claims on his Instagram Stories (which he later deleted), saying, “I don’t know what the algorithm is for why certain photos come up but this is so frustrating considering I took a lot of time to get healthy and I feel as though people legitimately try to sabotage me.”

“This was a time when I was really unhealthy,” he said, pointing the camera to his laptop which yielded photos he said were snapped during his battle with Lyme disease.

In January, Bieber, 26, revealed his illness in the context of reports that he looked unhealthy and “on meth”; in reality, he said, he had Lyme disease and chronic infectious mononucleosis (mono), a contagious disease that causes exhaustion, body aches and other symptoms.

Justin Bieber shared frustration with his public image in a Nov. 20 post on Instagram Stories. (Screenshot: JustinBieber/Instagram)
Justin Bieber shared frustration with his public image in a Nov. 20 post on Instagram Stories. (Screenshot: JustinBieber/Instagram)

The star’s health was explored more in his YouTube docu-series Justin Bieber: Seasons.

In his latest Instagram Stories post, Bieber explained, “All of the top photos are me looking ‘disheveled.’ I was obviously going through a tough time but it’s like, these are the photos the media tries to run with.

“There are so many new photos that I’ve serviced to the media, and they continue to use these photos, so it’s like, ‘What’s the deal?’” he continued. “I don’t know. It’s frustrating me. I wish they would change it.”

Bieber added, “I don’t know why. I mean, look at my skin now. There are so many photos they can choose.”

Earlier, he posted a throwback photo of himself writing, “I was 15 when the world put me on a pedestal,” after he released 2009 EP My World and rocketed to worldwide fame.

In the October YouTube special Justin Bieber: Next Chapter, the singer shared that he was once “really, really suicidal.”

“There were so many people who were just so mean,” he reflected in his doc. “Random people saying like, ‘You suck! You look like a girl!’ I would shake it off and act like it didn’t bother me, but that stuff bothered me. And then it affected how I acted and how I treated other people, and it’s just this ongoing cycle of, like, hurt people, hurt people. I was just this young kid.”

The singer has been happily married to Hailey Baldwin, since 2018. During an August interview with Vogue India, the 23-year-old remarked that growing up as the daughter of Stephen Baldwin (and the niece of Alec Baldwin) didn’t qualify her as “famous” compared to the experience of Bieber. “Of course, I knew my father was an actor and he was famous to an extent, but if I was to compare how I grew up to how Justin did, he’s had a way crazier ‘famous’ experience really young,” she told the outlet. “Whereas I got to grow up and get my driver’s license and really be normal until the past three years of my life.”

Bieber didn’t say whether his complaint was made in vanity or emotional pain, but old photos don’t always breed nostalgia. This week, Talullah Willis deleted a selfie that “triggered” her fans (in the image she wore a bra top and shorts), then reshared it for her own healing.

“I do not mean to trigger, but I also do not feel I want to hide or be ashamed of where I’m at or my process,” she wrote under the Instagram image. “I hope to be as transparent as possible. I plead with you, do not see this as inspiration, or a desirable place to end up. See a young woman who is very tired, who lacks energy, who is trying to frantically nourish herself while figuring out how to minimize stress.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

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