Justin Drew Bieber is 12-years-old when his single-mother receives a call from an up-and-coming music producer called Scooter Braun. Only 26-years-old, Braun has already made a name for himself as a PR guru in Atalanta for Jermain Dupri's So So Def Records, but after a workplace dispute, Braun leaves the company in 2007 and decides to go it alone.
Months later, he is scouring YouTube for new talent when he stumbles upon a video of a pale, moppy-haired Canadian kid wowing judges at a local singing competition. Impressed, he contacts the local theatre that hosted the competition and requests the number of Justin's mother, Patricia. Initially hesitant, she eventually agrees to have her son flown to Atalanta, where he boards with Braun in a rented house as they record material to send to record producers.
Fast forward to 2017, and Justin Bieber has conquered the music charts and cemented himself as a modern-day phenomenon. He's shifted 140m records, embarked on stadium tours across the globe, secured four straight number one Billboard albums and amassed hundreds of millions of social media followers who proudly proclaim their loyalty to Bieber by referring to themselves as Beliebers.
It's the stuff of dreams for any young artist, and for Bieber, his celebrity only grows, and instead of a flash-in-the-pan, here today and gone tomorrow success, his fandom increases to the point where Braun, let alone Bieber, can scarcely believe what's happened.
But deep down, the novelty of the immense success has passed. It becomes a burden and something to live with for the rest of your life. And after falling in love with fellow artist Selena Gomez and then dealing with the subsequent breakup, Justin, like many other heart-battered teenagers, begins to go off the rails, leading Braun to admit to Complex that he once feared for his client's life.
In an impassioned Instagram post, Bieber even described his life to that of a "zoo animal" and after a series of media mishaps and run-ins with the law, bashing the star became almost second-nature to those who despised not only his music but Bieber himself.
Yet by perpetuating this vogue hatred, we are failing to recognize the dangerous side-effects celebrity has on an individual.
After all, wouldn't you get consumed by delusions of grandeur if you had what Justin had at his age? The awe-inspiring talents. The global fame. The $200m fortune. The good looks. The Yes Men telling you you're great every morning you wake up. The ecclesial- like devotion spawned from fans who would take a bullet for you. Heck, if I was Justin, I'd probably go off the rails too. And that's perfectly okay.
As fellow Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes said, "Stop looking at him in a negative view and accept him as who he is. We don't get mad at punk rock bands for doing shit like [he does], because that's their personality. I just find it very confusing."
By making those comments, Mendes summed up who Justin really is: A 23-year-old living an other-worldly life with all the vices and temptations at his disposal, just like a famous punk band would have.
And that's not to condone his actions- far from it. As well as spending a night in a jail cell for drag racing a Lamborghini through a Miami open road, leaked footage then surfaced of a young Justin privately performing some of his songs with racial slurs, while footage of him spitting on his own fans incensed even the most hardcore of Beliebers.
Yet it's his recent public rebirth that has won Bieber many new fans.
Take his 2015 Comedy Central Roast. Organized by himself, he allowed the likes of Will Ferrel and Snoop Dogg to say all the things we wished we could have while his candid 2016 interview with Billboard suggested that he had reflected on his mistakes and come out stronger because of them.
He even compared the lives of younger celebrities like Kylie Jenner to that of his own, illustrating that having a camera in front of her since she was a child has "affected how she's thinking."
In many ways, his predicament (if you want to call it that) draws parallels to Jim Carrey's iconic character Truman Burbank in the movie, The Truman Show.
Justin has been made to entertain us (or at least, his millions of fans and the paparazzi that profit from him) and by having his every move documented he hasn't been able to discover who he truly is, a reality he alluded to in the song I'll Show You, singing in the intro, "My life is a movie, and everyone's watching."
In the lengthy interview with Billboard, he also said, "I started going through the motions. I felt like people were judging me all the time. I came out alive. I came out swinging. But I was close to letting [fame] completely destroy me."
So give the guy a break. We all acted up and did stupid things as teenagers- we just didn't have to own up to our actions in front of the world. A 23-year-old Bieber may still not be your cup of tea, but he's proven that with age, you can still find yourself and grow into a better person.
Under the guidance of Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz, Bieber has also rediscovered his Christian faith and appears to have a more solid grasp of his fame and how to control it, while a much-needed rest after cancelling the remaining dates of his gruelling Purpose World Tour offered him the opportunity to rekindle his romance with old flame Selena Gomez.
So now he's in a better place, let the guy live his life and appreciate that he's learned from his past. We all make mistakes.
Unfortunately for Justin, he made them in front of you; and millions of others.