After publicly asking fans of Justin Bieber’s ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez to leave her alone in April, Hailey Bieber, Justin’s wife of four years now, gave a lengthy interview on Call Her Daddy about whether she and Justin were romantically involved at the same time he was with Selena in 2018. She also addressed her current relationship with Selena and the effect Jelena fans had on how she saw herself.
Hailey carefully tackled the topics, maintaining there was no overlap and speaking honestly about how much respect she has for Selena, Justin, and their past history. “It’s hard for me to talk about this because I don’t want to talk on either one of their behalf, again, because it was their relationship, and I honestly respect that very deeply,” she said at one point.
She added later that “I just feel like there’s a little bit of that anxiety of people will probably take it the wrong way or I just don’t want to say something that is being disrespectful or bringing up something that can stir up feelings for someone. I know that we’re just all so moved on from any type of drama, and I’m so happy for that so I get nervous about talking about it because I don’t want to like stir anything up or bring anything up that is going to be like a thing.”
Still, Hailey revealed a lot. She and Call Her Daddy‘s Alex Cooper chose to never mention Selena by name either, choosing instead to refer to her just as Justin’s ex.
For timeline context, Selena and Justin dated on-off for nearly 10 years, and it was very publicly messy at some points. Their last time being romantically involved ran from late 2017, after Selena’s relationship with The Weeknd ended that October, to spring 2018 when the two were reported to be on a break in March. That ultimately became a permanent breakup.
Justin and Hailey, who had dated in the past too, reconnected in June 2018 at a Miami church conference. That July, Justin proposed to Hailey. In September 2018, they tied the knot in a New York City courthouse. They’ve been married since.
All parties have moved on, with a source telling Entertainment Tonight in December 2020, “Selena, Justin and Hailey are all tired of the Selena vs. Hailey narrative at this point. It’s exhausting for everyone, and they just want people to move on so they can move on too and not focus on any further negativity or past situations.”
Hailey has still received harassment though, as has Selena from their mutual fan bases.
At the time, Hailey sparked an online frenzy when she posted an Instagram Story of herself listening to Summer Walker’s “I’ll Kill You” minutes after Selena released “Lose You to Love Me,” a breakup song about Justin.
Like Hailey and Cooper in the interview, Selena never named Hailey explicitly but didn’t need to given the context.
Selena said at the time: “I am grateful for the response that the song is getting. I’m so grateful,” she said. “However, I do not stand for women tearing women down. And I will never, ever be by that. So please be kind to everyone. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. If you’re my fans, don’t be rude to anybody, please. Don’t go off and say things that you just feel in the moment. And just please, from me, know that that’s not my heart. My heart is only to release things that I feel that are me and that I’m proud of. And that’s all that I’ll say, yeah.”
She added later, “Again, please be kind. Please, please, please be kind. I don’t like seeing people being disrespectful or rude to other people, so please don’t do that.”
Hailey said in her Call Her Daddy interview that she and Selena have talked privately and are on good terms. Here, the key takeaways from Hailey’s discussion on Justin, Selena, and fans’ treatment of her. The full interview is an hour long and is worth the full listen here on Spotify, too.
On public perception of her and Justin Bieber’s rapid engagement:
“First of all, I think one thing is that we’re both really young. I think honestly that’s for starters, which I totally understand. When we got engaged, I was 21, and he was 24, yeah. 24 and 21. I personally never thought I was going to get married that young. I always thought I would be maybe getting married now when I’m 25, and I still think I’m really young. I think the timing was obviously very rapid and very fast, which now being four years past that, looking back on it, I totally get it.
“I’m like, ‘yeah, that seemed really drastic and really crazy.’ But that was what we felt was a decision between the two of us, and it felt correct for the two of us of us at the time, and clearly, we were right because here we are, four years later. And I think just given the timeline of where he was at before we got back together and what was going on, and there was just a lot happening. But I will say too, the only people who really know the truth of the situation and what the timeline really was and how it happened and how it went down are like me and him.
“Perception is a really tricky thing because when you’re watching something from the outside, you can see it one way when it may not really be the reality of what happened behind closed doors, and that’s a big challenge I think of somebody who is in the spotlight for being famous is that I know how we got to where we got. Period. I just know how it happened. I was there. And I was living it everyday so there’s a lot that I can understand why people were so like, ‘what is going on? Like, this seems crazy.’”
On whether there was overlap between her relationship with Justin and Selena’s with him:
“No, not one time [was I ever with Justin romantically at the same time as Selena]. When him and I started hanging out like, ok, let’s just put it this way: When him and I ever started hooking up or like, anything of that sort, he was not ever in a relationship ever at any point. I would never—it’s not my character to mess with someone’s relationship. I would just never do that. I was raised better than that. I’m not interested in doing that, and I never was. I think that there are situations where you can still kind of have back and forth with someone but even that was not the situation. Like I can say, period point blank, I was never with him when he was in a relationship with anybody. That’s the end of it.
“And I had been involved with him since I was 18. The timeline also that sometimes is in question of us getting together then getting engaged and him having been spending time with his ex before that, this is so crazy. I’ve literally never talked about this ever. I understand, again, how it looks from the outside. There’s a lot of perception there. But that was a situation where I know for a fact that it was the right thing for them to close that door. They were not in a relationship at that time, but there’s a very long history there, and it’s not my relationship. It has nothing to do with me, so I respect that a lot, but I know that it closed a chapter, and I think it was the best thing that could’ve happened for him to move on and be engaged and get married and move on with his life in that way.
“And it’s hard for me to talk about this because I don’t want to talk on either one of their behalf, again, because it was their relationship, and I honestly respect that very deeply. But I just know what was going on when we got back together, and I know what had to happen for that to come back together in a healthy way. And I think it was the most healthy, mature decision that he could’ve made, and I respect that.
“As a woman, I would never want to get into a relationship with someone and be engaged to them and be getting married to them and think in the back of my mind, I wonder if that was really like, closed for you. And I know for a fact that the reason we were able to get back together was because it was very much completely closed. And that is respectful to me.”
On where they all stand now:
“I know that we’re just all so moved on from any type of drama and I’m so happy for that so I get nervous about talking about it because I don’t want to like stir anything up or bring anything up that is going to be like a thing.”
On the perception that she “stole” Justin from Selena:
“Well, I think one of the things that we already just covered is the timeline of things and a lot of the hate and the perpetuation comes from like, ‘oh, you stole him.’ And I guess maybe that just comes from the fact that they wish he had ended up with someone else. And that’s fine. You can wish that all you want but that’s just not the case.”
On commenters harassing her about Selena on social media:
“I think there’s a certain numbness you get when you know it’s going to happen. It still happens to this day. You’re talking about something that was two years ago now, almost three [when a fan called on others to harass Hailey on an Instagram Live], and if I was to go live on Instagram right now, it would still be happening. Probably less, which is nice, but you just reach a point where you’re like, you have to just ignore it and be like, ok.
“Well, I know that for him [Justin], it’s hurtful because if we have moved on, why can’t you? That’s kind of like the whole thought process. It’s just hurtful. It’s bullying.
“I have had this conversation with a therapist before. I hate comparison. The whole point of this conversation is we’re talking about how my relationship is being compared to something else or I’m being compared to another woman.”
On her message to Jelena fans now:
“You’re not obligated to like me, but I believe that no matter what, there can always be mutual respect between people. And to me, that means just that you don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to like me, but you don’t have to say anything either because behind this person that you’re looking at on a screen is a person with a brain and a heart and emotions and issues that I face and so do you and so does Alex and so does every single person in this room. [Treat them] with mutual respect and decency and know that what you say can have impact.”
On whether Justin asked Selena to tell her fans to stop harassing Hailey:
“No [Justin did not ask Selena to ask her fans to put an end to the harassment]. What I will say is that she has been in this industry much longer than I have and maybe there’s something she knows about this, that it wouldn’t fix anything.”
On the respect she has for Selena:
“I think that everyone is just trying to create separation even though there’s not always separation. I would never expect someone to do that for me [ask her fans to stop harassing Hailey, which Selena did in October 2019]. She doesn’t owe me anything. Neither of us owe anyone anything except respect. I respect her a lot. And I think there’s just no expectations. If that was something she thought was necessary, that would be amazing. But yeah, I respect her. There’s no drama personally.”
On whether she has spoken to Selena one-on-one after marrying Justin:
“Yes, [we have spoken]. Yes [we have spoken after my marriage]. So that’s why I’m like, it’s all respect, it’s all love. It’s also why I feel like if everybody on our side knows what happened, and we’re good and we could walk away with clarity and respect, then that’s fine. Which had brought me a lot of peace, and I’m like, ‘hey, we know what happened. It is what it is.’ You’re never going to be able to correct every narrative, and there’s going to be new ones that come [from this interview]. It’s never going to end, and that’s why I get to the point where like, that’s why I didn’t speak about a lot of this stuff because I’m like, there will be something new. ”
You can listen to Hailey’s full interview here on Spotify.
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.