Hailey Bieber says church 'social club' culture made her feel like an 'outcast' after 2016 breakup

Hailey Baldwin
Model Hailey Baldwin poses on the red carpet for a screening of the film “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” in New York on July 27, 2015. |

Supermodel Hailey Bieber has criticized the “social club” experience at church, saying it made her feel isolated when she and her now-husband, Justin Bieber, broke up after dating briefly in 2016. 

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the young celebrity and daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin claimed she was outcasted by many in her church community after briefly breaking things off with the pop star in 2016.

The couple were seen regularly attending Hillsong church together at the time. 

“There were a lot of people in the church world that made me feel very outcast,” she shared in the interview that was published on Tuesday. “When did church become a social club? That was such a bad feeling.”

The couple first met as children after Stephen Baldwin introduced the two. They dated and broke up when she was 19. She told Elle their lives were “going in very different directions.”

The couple reconnected at a 2018 church conference in Miami, and she said her friends — pastors Judah Smith and Chelsea Smith of Churchome — were some of the few church people that stood by her side through it all. 

Smith is the pastor who officiated the couple’s 2019 wedding.

Last November, Bieber and her husband sat down with the Smiths on their “In Good Faith” podcast. They spoke candidly about their marriage, the highs and lows and some of the struggles, including Justin Bieber's journey with mental health struggles.

In an interview for Hillsong TV, Bieber shared more about the pressure she’s put on herself because of her Christian upbringing. Along with once feeling rejected by the church, Bieber revealed that a few months into her marriage, she struggled with a lot of guilt from her past. 

“I think where it stems from for me is that I was raised in a Christian household. I grew up with Christian parents and I put extra guilt on myself to be this good girl, to fill this role of being like this goody-two-shoes good girl, and what I learned leading up to being married is it’s just not realistic,” Bieber said.

The entertainer said she had to come to terms with her past mistakes let them go. 

“What I learned, being married, is that every mistake that I made and bad decision that I made, and everything that I was making myself feel guilty for, led to me being married and me being a wife,” she testified. 

“I think in the beginning, especially for the first six or seven months of being married, I was just ridden with guilt: 'I wish I hadn’t done this. I wish I had just walked into this clean and free and [with a] clean slate.' But what it taught me is that it’s just a) not realistic, and b) we all have guilt, and we all feel shame for things we’ve done, but it doesn’t have to define who we are, and it didn’t have to define me in my relationship.”

“We’re constantly evolving, especially in Jesus,” she added. “Our relationship with Christ is going deeper and deeper. … Where I was before I was a wife and who I was before I was a wife is not who I am now.”

The Biebers were legally married in a civil ceremony in September 2018 at a courthouse in New York. The two held a Christian wedding ceremony in Palmetto Beach, South Carolina. 

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