Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin.

Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Waited Until Marriage to Have Sex

“The thing is, marriage is very hard. That is the sentence you should lead with. It’s really effing hard,” Hailey Baldwin (fine, Hailey Bieber) told Vogue in their March issue cover story, in which she and her husband, Justin Bieber, opened up about what the magazine summed up as their “not-always-easy but absolutely all-in romance.”

If you still can’t believe that the pair actually got married, well, have we got have news for you: There’s a lot more to it than the 24-year-old singer and 22-year-old model secretly getting married in a Manhattan courthouse last September. Amid the wide-ranging bevy of details about the newlyweds’ personal life packed into the profile is the fact that there was another reason that Bieber and Baldwin, who’ve been friends for a decade and briefly dated in 2016, rushed to a courthouse in Manhattan for a secret wedding just three months after rekindling their relationship: They wanted to have sex.

The last time Bieber gave a major interview was two years ago, when he was “lonely” and “depressed,” and in the midst of his so-called “apology tour” for his previous misbehavior, which he made clear was in his past. It’s thanks to church, after all, that he and Baldwin came together; their real friendship developed when they both began attending services at Hillsong Church, which has something of a cult following in Hollywood. And it was also at a Hillsong service that the pair reunited last June, rekindling their relationship after a brief period of dating in 2016, which ended in what Baldwin called a “dramatic excommunication.” (As to how they ended up getting engaged just a month later, she continued, “the common denominator, I promise you, is always church.”)

At that point in his life, Bieber was more than a year into a period of celibacy, which he imposed on himself to deal with his “legitimate problem with sex”—or, as Vogue’s Rob Haskell put it, his “addiction”—and use abstinence as a tool to feel closer to god. “He doesn’t ask us not to have sex for him because he wants rules and stuff,” Bieber elaborated. “He’s like, I’m trying to protect you from hurt and pain. I think sex can cause a lot of pain. Sometimes people have sex because they don’t feel good enough. Because they lack self-worth. Women do that, and guys do that. I wanted to rededicate myself to God in that way because I really felt it was better for the condition of my soul.”

Plus, as Bieber pointed out, “there are perks”: “You get rewarded for good behavior,” he continued. “I believe that God blessed me with Hailey as a result.” Once he received that blessing, however, he was apparently more than prepared to put chastity in his past: While he said that their reunion made him realize how much he loved and missed Baldwin, he also simply wanted, in Haskell’s words, “finally to have sex.”

Sex hasn’t been a cure-all; both Baldwin and Bieber agreed that living together in a house outside of Toronto has “been a test,” in large part because of difficulties communicating and disagreements over decorating decisions. Baldwin, in particular, has had issues of her own too: She was deeply lonely and homesick in the weeks after their marriage, and felt attacked by the response to it on social media. (She’s previously described how going on Instagram now gives her “immediate anxiety.”)

Bieber—the self-described “emotionally unstable one,” who “struggle[s] with finding peace”—has, of course, had his fair share of difficulties as well. He’s put music aside for the past few months in an effort to find out more about himself, which he said his early success never gave him the chance to do. The effects of that first started manifesting in Bieber when he was 16 and bought into the idea that he was “the shit.” (It was during that time that he could be found wearing sunglasses inside at night, as Baldwin pointed out.)

He also got up to things much more serious than that, including getting a DUI and a variety of “douchey things” that he still doesn’t seem to think were that big of a deal. (“Me peeing in a bucket, people made such a big deal of that. Or me owning a monkey. It’s like, if you had the money that I had, why wouldn’t you get a monkey? You would get a monkey!”) What he does take seriously, however, is how he started abusing Xanax, in part to deal with how ashamed he was for being “super-promiscuous”—to the point that he believes there were nights when his security would check in on his pulse and “see if I was still breathing.” (In contrast, Baldwin has apparently “never touched a drug.”)

But, according to Bieber, he hasn’t done drugs since 2014, when he began interning for—and playing basketball, soccer, and hockey with—the Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz. (He still drinks alcohol socially.) And while he remains as devoted as ever to his faith, he also made a point to add that he “wouldn’t consider [him]self religious.” “I believe in the story of Jesus—that’s the simplicity of what I believe,” he explained. “But I don’t believe in all the religious elitism and pretentiousness, like people are better than you because they come to church, like you have to go to church and dress a certain way.” He has other reservations too: “I get sensitive when religion comes up because it’s been so hurtful to a lot of people. I don’t want to be thought of as someone who stands for any of the injustice that religion has done and does do.”

What he does want to be thought of as is a good husband, which is why he’s continuing to put music to the side. No doubt we’ll see a glimpse of that at their “real wedding,” which the couple confirmed is on the way—they’re just finalizing the details. (Remember, they may share a love of God, but that shared passion has yet to carry over to the realm of decorating.)

Related: Justin Bieber Says “Relationships Are Hard” After Hosting Thanksgiving for His and Hailey Baldwin’s Families