Skip to main content

Justin Bieber: From tween sensation to adult icon

By Stephanie Goldberg, CNN
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 1137 GMT (1937 HKT)
Trouble seems to pursue pop star Justin Bieber. In January, he was charged with driving under the influence in Miami, a case he settled in August <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/13/showbiz/justin-bieber-miami-plea/'>by pleading guilty</a> to careless driving and resisting arrest. And he is on probation for a <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/09/showbiz/justin-bieber-vandalism/index.html'>vandalism conviction</a> that resulted from egging a neighbor's home. Click through to see more of Bieber's troubles in the last couple of years. Trouble seems to pursue pop star Justin Bieber. In January, he was charged with driving under the influence in Miami, a case he settled in August by pleading guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest. And he is on probation for a vandalism conviction that resulted from egging a neighbor's home. Click through to see more of Bieber's troubles in the last couple of years.
HIDE CAPTION
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
Justin Bieber's troubled timeline
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justin Bieber is one of many celebs who've grown up under the proverbial microscope
  • "I think I'll make a smooth transition from a teen star to an adult star," he said in 2011
  • 2013 is already shaping up to be that fateful transition time in Bieber's career

(CNN) -- Justin Bieber has been a household name since before he was old enough to drive. We listened as his voice changed and watched him trade in his purple hoodies and signature swoopy hair for low-riding pants and a more voluminous 'do.

The 19-year-old pop star is one of many celebrities who've grown up under the proverbial microscope, where the simplest rites of passage -- like grabbing your girlfriend's backside during a passionate make-out session -- are headline fodder.

It's nothing we haven't seen before. Stars like Christina Aguilera and Shia LaBeouf would likely agree that the transition from teen sensation to adult icon is seldom seamless.

For whatever reason, Bieber might have considered himself to be an exception.

Why is Justin Bieber going bad?
Mom: Bieber 'not just a story to me'
Is the media 'bullying' Justin Bieber?

"I think I'll make a smooth transition from a teen star to an adult star," he told USA Today in 2011. "I don't want to grow up too quickly and do anything that's not smart."

Two years later, 2013 is shaping up to be that fateful time in the Canadian-born star's career.

In January he was seen holding what sites identified as marijuana in one photograph, while another showed him getting handsy with a female fan. Earlier this month, Bieber had his "worst birthday," and angered fans when he was late to the stage for a sold-out show at London's O2 Arena.

The most recent Bieber news isn't any more flattering. According to authorities, the singer's neighbor is accusing him of "battery and threats" after a confrontation took place outside his California home on Tuesday.

As The New York Times pointed out after the "Girlfriend" singer's 18th birthday last year, "Mr. Bieber can be his own man, sure, so long as he continues to belong to everyone else too."

Despite rejecting comparisons to Justin Timberlake, Bieber would be lucky to moonwalk into adulthood the way the "Suit & Tie" singer has. Of course, Timberlake had the support of his boy band 'N Sync behind him when he made the leap. It also helped that there were other male stars around, like the Backstreet Boys, helping to dim the harsh limelight.

Bieber doesn't exactly have a counterpart today. While "Twilight" stars Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson, or "Hunger Games" stars Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, have distracted the media -- and countless tween fans -- Bieber remains in a league of his own.

Miley Cyrus can likely relate. Every step of her own maturation -- from the time she danced with a pole at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, to her drastic haircut in 2012 -- has made headlines.

The "Can't Be Tamed" singer and "Last Song" actress issued a public apology after a video surfaced of her smoking salvia (an herb sold legally in many health food stores) in 2010.

"But do you really think it was a mistake?" Marie Claire's Kimberly Cutter asked Cyrus in a 2011 interview. "Obviously college kids your age all over America are smoking bongs with a lot more than salvia in them."

"But they're not Miley Cyrus," she said. "They're not role models. So for me it was a bad decision, because of my fans and because of what I stand for."

Cyrus is getting older, but she's not in and out of court (no offense, Lindsay), or getting into car wreck after car wreck (no offense, Amanda), so isn't the "good girl gone bad" label pushing it?

Another former Disney princess who's growing up in the public eye is Bieber's former girlfriend, Selena Gomez. The singer-actress is attempting to shed her Disney image (without muddying her squeaky-clean off-screen persona) by co-starring in the raucous crime dramedy "Spring Breakers."

Gomez hasn't taken nearly as much heat as Cyrus, though she has shown a fair amount of side boob with her red carpet choices of late.

Despite the age-old idea that each generation is more reckless than the last, Bieber and his famous peers don't appear to be rebelling so much as they're just getting older.

Jada Pinkett Smith, whose son Jaden is friends with Bieber, recently took to her Facebook page to express her frustrations with the way young stars are treated:

"Is it okay to continually attack and criticize (Bieber) a famous 19 year old who is simply trying to build a life, exercise his talents while figuring out what manhood and fame is all about as he carries the weight of supporting his family as well as providing the paychecks to others who depend on him to work so they can feed their families as well?" She wrote. "Does that render being called a c--- by an adult male photographer as you try to return to your hotel after leaving the (sic) hospital?"

Sure, Bieber has consciously snapped a few pictures of his bare abs, and strolled through the airport topless, but the singer hasn't even been present for some of the events that produced the most scandalous and tragic headlines of all.

In 2011, a California woman alleged in a paternity lawsuit that Bieber fathered her 3-month-old baby boy.

And in January, a photographer was killed by oncoming traffic after he thought he saw Bieber sitting in his white Ferrari in Los Angeles.

"While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim," Bieber said in a statement.

"There's a lot of pressure on this kid to do bigger, better things," Jennifer Chancellor wrote on TulsaWorld.com January. "The adoration could be crushing. Bieber, so far, has mastered it by being himself. That means being human. He threw up on stage once; he's raced cars; he's partied ... some."

Maybe we should all take a page out of Internet sensation and Britney Spears' advocate Chris Crocker's book and just leave Bieber alone?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT