Raising a teenager is hard enough, but can you imagine raising a 19-year-old with unlimited resources at his disposal? How do you keep one of the most famous pop stars in the world grounded when he’s growing up in the spotlight?
Justin Bieber’s mom Pattie Mallette shared her answers to these questions in a roundtable interview with ModernMom in the weeks leading up to the release of Bieber’s new movie “Believe.”
The film, which opens in theaters on Christmas Day, is a follow-up to 2011’s “Never Say Never” and offers a candid look into the life of the 19-year-old teen icon – complete with behind-the-scene concert footage and interviews with those close to him.
Mallette appears in the film, of course, since she spent much of the past year on tour with her son.
“You’ll see his vulnerable side [in "Believe"], she told us. “People are going to get to see his humanity. I think sometimes with celebrities, we put them on a pedestal. In the movie, he talks about some of his mistakes and how he’s learned from these mistakes.”
She spoke about the challenges of growing up in the limelight:
“He has to do everything in front of the whole world and unfortunately sometimes that’s not always so pretty. It’s tough, trying to figure out who you are as a teenager, and then you add all this money and fame and resources endlessly at your fingertips and the whole world telling you that you’re invincible… It’s a balance, trying to figure out what’s real and what matters. I think it’s a struggle for any of us, and then you add all that on top of it and it just complicates things even more.”
As a mother, Mallette admitted she finds it difficult when the media criticizes her son:
“I find that sometimes the things that are said bother me more than they bother him. You just have to remember who you are and where you came from and remember that not everyone is always going to agree with everything you do.”
She noted that Justin “continuously finds himself the underdog and wants to prove everyone wrong, prove that he’s here to stay.”
(Editor’s note: If you think the description of Bieber as an underdog feels like a stretch,check out Eve Vawter’s post over at Mommyish.)
She also described her son as “his own worst critic – he’s a perfectionist, he strives for excellence and he’s harder on himself, I think, than anyone.
Bieber may get some of his drive from Mallette, who gave birth at 17 years old and raised her son as a single mom, at times living in low-income housing (she has since started Round 2, a foundation focused on offering a second chance to those in similar situations).
As the conversation drew to a close, we asked whether success has made it difficult to hold on to their family values:
“I think that if you raise a child in the way he should go, when he’s old he won’t depart from it,” Mallette said. “And I just hope that I’m still the loudest voice in his ear.”
You can watch the official trailer for Believe below: