For over a decade, Justin Bieber has reigned supreme in the realm of pop.
Starting his career at the young age of 14, Bieber quickly skyrocketed to the mainstream and became a cultural icon in the 2010s.
From dropping the hit single “Baby” with Ludacris to getting married, Bieber has certainly grown up in front of the public eye throughout his illustrious career.
As Bieber turns 26 on Sunday, let’s take a look back at the singer’s biggest moments in his career:
Signing with Def Jam, 2008
Bieber was a mere 12 years old when he was discovered online by Scooter Braun for his cover videos, which eventually led to his big break in the music industry.
Signing to Island Def Jam at the age of 14 spelled out a bright future for the rising pop singer. Under the tutelage of Braun and Usher, Bieber soon dropped his debut single “One Time” in May 2009 and debut EP, “My World,” shortly thereafter. Bieber’s debut EP soon went platinum.
Dating Selena Gomez, 2010
By December 2010, rumors began swirling of a relationship between Bieber and actress-slash-singer Selena Gomez. The two ultimately confirmed their relationship in February 2011 when they made their red carpet debut at Vanity Fair’s Oscar’s Party — leading to the “Jelena” craze.
The two went on to have a tumultuous, on-and-off relationship until 2018, when they officially split.
"Believe," change in sound and image, 2012
In 2012, Bieber dropped his third album, “Believe.” The album marked a departure from Bieber’s traditional teen-pop sound in favor of a more mature-sounding record. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and included features from Ludacris, Big Sean, Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Shortly after the album’s release, Bieber began to develop a “bad boy” persona, which began with a critically panned appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” The Huffington Post lambasted the singer’s appearance, claiming “The entire show was about Justin Bieber,” while Bill Hader didn’t take too kindly to Bieber “[showing] up with like 20 guys.”
Legal troubles, 2014
Bieber’s public image began to take a turn for the worse when he was arrested in 2014.
In January 2014, Bieber was arrested for the first time in Miami Beach on charges of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Police told the Associated Press that the teen idol admitted to smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and taking Xanax, a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders.
Later that year, he faced a misdemeanor vandalism charge, which was filed after he and his friends egged his neighbor’s home in Calabasas, Calif., a few weeks prior to his DUI arrest. He was sentenced to pay $80,900 in restitution, in addition to completing two years’ probation, 12 weeks of anger management, as well as five days of community service.
“Purpose” and music hiatus, 2015
After his series of legal troubles, Bieber dropped his album “Purpose,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 once again. Following the release of the album, Bieber embarked on a world tour that was ultimately canceled toward the end “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
With the pressures of fame mounting, Bieber began a slow decline in musical output — opting only to appear on hit singles including Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” and DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One,” along with several other tracks.
Getting married, 2018
Bieber remained relatively quiet musically throughout 2018, choosing not to appear at the 2018 Grammy Awards to perform despite “Despacito’s” nomination.
In the interim, Bieber became engaged to Hailey Baldwin (whom he dated for a brief stint in 2015 before reconciling in May 2018) in July 2018. The couple officially tied the knot at a New York City courthouse that September.
The two had an official ceremony in South Carolina in September 2019.
Return from hiatus, “Changes,” 2019
In March 2019, Bieber took to Instagram to announce that he would be stepping away from the spotlight to focus on his declining mental health.
"So I read a lot of messages saying you want an album .." Bieber began the Instagram post. "I’ve toured my whole teenage life, and early 20s, I realized and as you guys probably saw I was unhappy last tour and I don’t deserve that and you don’t deserve that, you pay money to come and have a lively energetic fun light concert and I was unable emotionally to give you that near the end of the tour."
He continued: "I have been looking, seeking, trial and error as most of us do, I am now very focused on repairing some of the deep rooted issues that I have as most of us have, so that I don’t fall apart, so that I can sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be.
“Changes” was released on Feb. 14, 2020 and, in typical Bieber fashion, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. This was Bieber’s seventh U.S. No. 1 album.