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Justin Bieber & His Fans: A Complicated (and Long) Love Story

Updated

Kevin Mazur/Getty

We all know Justin Bieber loves his fans, but in recent years, relations with the Beliebers has been a little … complicated.

At a recent Purpose World Tour stop in Birmingham, England, he told his arena of screaming fans to tone it down a little bit.

“Can you guys do me a favor? Can you guys just relax for about two seconds?” the singer asked the crowd. “I get it, I get it, but I’m like two feet away from you. And I can hear you. I appreciate all the love, it’s amazing. But can you show it in a different way? Screaming is just so obnoxious.”

Then, on Oct. 25, he gave his fans the greatest gift: the singer made a surprise appearance at Manchester bar, partying with fans and even previewing his new track, “Close To You,” at the event.

In light of these recent developments in the Bieber-Belieber relationship, we must ask: How did we get here? Let’s review, in his own words.

THE STRENGTH OF THE BELIEBERS
“I don’t think of myself as powerful. If anything, my fans are powerful. It’s all in their hands. If they don’t buy my albums, I go away.”
— to Rolling Stone in February 2011

THE MOST BLESSED TWEET THERE EVER WAS
“So blessed. So moved. So grateful. Can’t believe this is my life. Never going to take it for granted. Always going to give back. Thank you.”
— on Twitter in February 2012

THE UNDYING FAN SUPPORT
“First of all, I just want to thank all my fans … this is not just my award, this is my whole Belieber fan group-nation. Again, thank you guys so much. I love you so much.”
—  at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards

THE POWER OF “OUR”
“Our story. Our awards. Our songs. Our albums. Our tour. Our journey … Just the beginning. This is forever. Thank you. Love.”
—  on Twitter in August 2013

THE BELIEBER LIFESTYLE
“The media talks a lot about me. They make up a lot of lies and want me to fail, but I’m never leaving you, being a Belieber is a lifestyle.”
—  on Twitter in December 2013

THE APOLOGY TOUR
“I looked back, and I was disappointed in myself. You have to own up to the mistakes. You have to say, ‘I’m sorry if I’ve let you down.’ I always want to be honest and let people know that those mistakes aren’t who I am. Who I am is someone who really cares about people.”
— to Seventeen in May 2015

Source Instagram
Source Instagram

THE REASON BEHIND HIS TEARS
“I just wasn’t expecting them to support me in the way that they did [at the 2015 VMAs]. Last time I was at an award show, I was booed. I think I’ve worked so hard on this album. I’ve worked so hard at just becoming the man I want to become.
Stepping into situations, you just can’t help but feel judged. I was just feeling judged and wanting to win so badly and just wanting to do what I love so badly that I just put everything on the line. That’s what’s so special about the emotional moment at the end. It was authentic, it was real. I was really just wanting it so bad.”
— to Jimmy Fallon in September 2015

THE INFAMOUS SNAPCHAT RANT
“The way you ask or approach me when you want a photo with me is going determine if I take a photo or not. If I’m walking somewhere or arriving somewhere and you guys are asking me to take a photo, if I don’t respond, if I continue walking, the likelihood is that I probably don’t want to take a photo at that moment.

Now, if you start screaming louder, that’s not going to make me take a photo more. I want to enjoy the moment just as you’re enjoying the moment, but I can’t enjoy it if I’m not feeling there’s any respect given to me in that moment. So, if you’re asking kindly, usually the chances are I’ll take a photo. But if perhaps I don’t, or I’m in a mood where I’m not trying to take a photo that moment, please just respect me and just treat me the way that you would want to be treated. That’s all. I just want us to be on the same page.
Honestly, I’d rather stand there and talk to you for five minutes and not take any photos, and us be able to have that moment, rather than chaos. It’s like, why did you travel to see me in the first place? Was it really to see me, or was it to get that moment of you seeing me so you could tell people about it? Just remember: I’m not unreachable, I’m not unattainable. I’m just like you, and I communicate just like you, so next time you see me, remember.”
— on Snapchat in September 2015

Justin Bieber/Instagram
Justin Bieber/Instagram

AFTER HE STORMED OFF THE STAGE IN NORWAY
“Sadly, it’s been a rough week for me, long days no sleep, while having to be ‘on’ as they would say for cameras fans etc. In no way did I mean to come across mean, but chose to end the show as the people in the front row would not listen. Hopefully people will understand where I am coming from. I don’t always handle things the right way, but I’m human and I’m working on getting better at responding, not reacting. Unfortunately people were affected by this, as am I. For the people in the back, I am so sorry, and for anyone I may have disappointed, I’m sorry.”
— on Instagram in October 2015

THE END OF MEET AND GREETS
“Love you guys. I’m going to be canceling my meet and greets. I enjoy meeting such incredible people, but I end up feeling so drained and filled with so much of other people’s spiritual energy that I end up so drained and unhappy. Want to make people smile and happy but not at my expense, and I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression. The pressure of meeting people’s expectations of what I’m supposed to be is so much for me to handle and a lot on my shoulders. Never want to disappoint, but I feel I would rather give you guys the show and my albums as promised. Can’t tell you how sorry I am, and wish it wasn’t so hard on me. And I want to stay in the healthy mindset I’m in to give you the best show you have ever seen.”
— on Instagram in March 2016

Source: Justin Bieber/Instagram
Source: Justin Bieber/Instagram

A DISPLAY OF GRATITUDE
“Most of all, I want to thank my fans. You guys have been sticking by me 100 percent. You guys are unbelievable.”
— at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in April 2016

THE END OF FAN PHOTOS
“If you happen to see me out somewhere, know that I’m not gonna take a picture. I’m done taking pictures. It has gotten to the point that people won’t even say hi to me or recognize me as a human. I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity. I realize people will be disappointed, but I don’t owe anybody a picture. And people who say ‘but I bought ur album’ know that you got my album, and you got what you paid for – AN ALBUM! It doesn’t say in fine print whenever you see me you also get a photo.”
— on Instagram in May 2016

THE SOCIAL MEDIA VANISHING ACT
“I’m gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don’t stop the hate. This is getting out of hand, if you guys are really fans you wouldn’t be so mean to people that I like.”
— on Instagram in August 2016, a few days before he deactivated his account

Japan💕

A photo posted by Sofia Richie (@sofiarichie) on

THE MID-CONCERT REQUEST
“Can you guys do me a favor? Can you guys just relax for about two seconds? I get it, I get it, but I’m like two feet away from you. And I can hear you. I appreciate all the love, it’s amazing. But can you show it in a different way? Screaming is just so obnoxious.”
— to fans in Birmingham, England in Oct. 2016