Are you looking at a whole new Justin Bieber?
For the last year (and change!) we've been covering every obnoxious move the guy has made, including arrests, spats with neighbors, disputes with other celebrities, mistreatment of airplane staffers, and the whole urination in a mop bucket incident. But now — as he approaches his 21st birthday on March 1 — we're seeing a kinder, gentler Biebs, and we like it.
On Wednesday night, the "Boyfriend" singer posted a very personal video message to fans following an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He said he was "nervous" going on the talker because he didn't want to come off as "arrogant," which he admitted was how he has been acting.
"I wanted to make a video because I wanted to express how I feel right now. Today I was on Ellen and it was a lot of fun. She's amazing," said the Calvin Klein undies pitchman. "But I was really nervous, and I think I was nervous because I was afraid of what people are thinking about me right now. It's been a minute since I've been in a public appearance and I didn't want to come off arrogant or conceited – basically how I've been acting the past year or a year and a half."
He continued, "I'm not who I was pretending to be. And why I say pretending is often we pretend to be something we’re not as a cover-up of what we're truly feeling inside. There were a lot of feelings going on in there — just being young and growing up in this business is hard. Growing up in general is hard."
Bieber said being on Ellen, and having the audience staring back at him, made him think about how the world sees him — and how it's likely in a negative light.
"I just felt awkward up there. I felt like people were judging me," said Selena Gomez's ex, who has undergone another hair transformaion this week, losing his peroxide blond locks. "I really wanted people to know how much I care. How much I care about people. And how I'm not that person to say that 'I don't give a f—k. I'm not that kid. I'm a person that genuinely cares. And although what's happened in the past has happened, I just want to make the best impression on people and be kind and loving and gentle and soft."
While this is the first time he's addressed his bad boy behavior — just over a year after his Miami arrest — he has been trying to clean up his image in recent months. He's been attending church services with gal pals Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin. Earlier this month, he made a surprise appearance at a West Hollywood lounge called State Social House where he did an acoustic set. And while out to dinner, he's randomly purchased meals for other patrons in an attempt to pay it forward.
We're not talking sainthood or anything, but we are seeing baby steps in the right direction.
During his Ellen appearance, which airs Thursday, Bieber said, "I’ve done some things that might not have been the greatest. I just want to be able to, ya know, kind of own up to some of the things."
The Biebs will be owning up to a lot next month when he gets skewered during a Comedy Central Roast that will coincide with his birthday. TMZ reported that he sees the upcoming event as a form of "therapy" — acknowledging his bratty behavior will allow him, and the public, to view him as more of a grownup as he turns 21.
Do you buy it? Let us know if you think we've seen the last of bratty Bieber — or if this is a publicity stunt.