“Justin and I were friends for a long time,” the 21-year-old model and Drop the Mic host said during a new interview with U.K. newspaper The Times.
“I met him when I was really young and he was one of my best friends. Everybody knows that at a certain point in time that turned into something else, but that just happens when you’re 18, 19. It was what it was,” she explained, adding that after their relationship status changed “we went through a long period of time when we weren’t friends.”
Continuing, she said, “We didn’t speak for quite some time and there was a lot of weirdness that went on” but that “we’ve moved past that.”
Although dating rumors had swirled around the couple since 2014 — which both Bieber and Baldwin denied — days after the pair went on vacation together in 2016, the “Sorry” singer made headlines after sharing a photograph of them kissing at a New Year’s Eve party.
Describing their relationship, Baldwin went on to tell E! News they weren’t “an exclusive couple,” while Bieber told GQ that he didn’t want to “rush into anything” in case the pair ended up getting married someday.
“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. It’s really hard to fix wounds like that. It’s so hard … I just don’t want to hurt her.” he told the magazine.
Baldwin went on to tell The Times that being a part of a high-profile relationship was “weird.”
“But it brought both of us to the realization that we just work much better as friends,” she added. “He’s somebody I really cherish. Now it’s a very mature situation. It’s good.”
Baldwin recently sparked relationship rumors with Shawn Mendes after the pair stepped out together at the Met Gala earlier this month, although the 19-year-old singer has since told PEOPLE they’re just friends.