For Selenators and Beliebers, as they affectionally call themselves, the breakup between longtime couple Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber was a heart-wrencher. Hailey Bieber (then Hailey Baldwin) got caught in the middle of the drama when she started dating and ultimately married Justin Bieber not too long after. Two years later, the model is speaking out about the treacherous dynamic between social media and mental health, and even seemingly hints about those comparisons to Gomez.
I think over the last two and a half years for myself, after getting married especially, it really opened me up to this new kind of level of attention. I think one of the biggest things I struggled with for sure was the comparison aspect of body comparison and looks comparisons and behavior comparisons. I think when you’re going through a situation where you just have so many people hounding you with the same thing over and over and over again, it starts to mess with your mind and then you start to question everything. You’re like, is there something that I’m not seeing that they see? Maybe they’re right? It got to such a low point to me that I was like honestly, maybe I’m delusional. It’s like separating two realities, essentially.
Now Hailey Bieber didn’t specifically name Selena Gomez in the comparisons she’s referring to, but the hints are kind of obvious. There was only one other fan base bigger than her husband’s during that time period, and it was the Selenators and the “Jelena” shippers. Even as recently as December, those fans barraged Bieber’s Instagram live with comments that Gomez was better for Justin and prettier, prompting the Biebs himself to say on Instagram that it was “not right” to “bully the person I love most in this world.”
This Internet/fan obsession with the Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez trifecta is why Hailey apparently had to quit Twitter. She called it a “toxic environment” of online trolls that, even now, makes her want to “throw up” with anxiety just thinking about it. But she now has protocols in place to protect her mental health. She doesn’t use Instagram on Mondays through Fridays and she limits the number of comments that can be made on her posts. Her father, Alec Baldwin, followed suit and left Twitter recently following his own social media backlash.
Justin Bieber also opened up in the past about his struggles with his mental health but has credited his marriage with helping him through it all. As a result of ridding herself from most of the unwanted comments and comparisons, Hailey Bieber is now also in a much better headspace. She said,
I want everyone to like me. It’s like part of my downfall at times and I’m working through it. I think one thing I’ve come to the conclusion of is trying not to feel like I owe anybody an explanation or owe anybody anything and really just trying to correct what I need to correct personally and behind closed doors.
The conversation around our obsession with celebrities has been at the forefront for a few months now. Hailey Bieber’s testimony is just further proof that there is a long way to go in pulling apart that obsession into something more positive.