This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Celebrities: They love to explain themselves. Especially if they can do it on a ten-part docuseries in which they serve as both star and executive producer. Justin Bieber, 25, is the latest pop sensation to offer a tightly-controlled "inside look" at his life in this manner; he released his docuseries, Seasons, about the road to creating his new album, Changes, on YouTube this week.
I watched the first four episodes, and I can tell you that the individuals who work for Bieber do believe that this is a season of change for him. All of the talking-head interviews in the doc are with professionals on Bieber's payroll: His manager, Scooter Braun, his other manager, Allison Kaye, his clothing designer/ "swag coach" Ryan Good, and his producer, Josh Gudwin. They uniformly attest to the idea that since his marriage to Hailey Bieber (nee Baldwin), Justin has become a hard-working family man who is ready to release an album full of instant-classic bangers. The tabloid drama, they say, is behind him.
Hailey is featured heavily in the first four episodes; the model lurks around the studio, looking impossibly perfect in sweatpants. She tells the camera that it is really cool to see her husband's musical process. Everyone else tells the camera how amazing Hailey is—one of the Bieber employees even calls her a "unicorn." Justin himself says, "I have the sickest chick in the game. She's so awesome."
But for all the time Braun et. al spend discussing the perfection that is Mrs. Hailey Bieber, they conspicuously avoid mentioning Justin's other great love, Selena Gomez. Gomez and Bieber dated for the majority of his career, and they were together again as recently as March of 2018—just a few months before Bieber proposed to his now-wife. The Gomez timeline is something that Bieber and his team would prefer not to explain at all, it seems. Of this gap in subject matter, director Michael D. Ratner told CNN: "It's really about the music in the past couple of years. It really focuses on the album making process and obviously the stuff that took place the past couple of years that he wanted to draw inspiration from. That's really the focus of the doc."
Unfortunately for Bieber, Gomez is prepared to talk about the past. In an interview with NPR this week to promote her new solo album, she discussed her relationship with Bieber, revealing, "I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse." She did not get into details but clarified that she meant "emotional abuse."
Bieber has not responded to her claims. Perhaps we will get an explanation in a future docuseries.
Also explaining herself this week is the pop-star-turned-reality-tv-phenomenon who started it all: Jessica Simpson. Simpson, 39, is releasing her memoir Open Book next week, and she has handed out excerpts and interviews to People, The Today Show, and The New York Times. Unlike Bieber, Simpson is actually revealing much about her life in this endeavor—the book is not even out yet, and we already know that she discusses her experience with alcoholism (she's sober now) and childhood sexual abuse.
Simpson also writes about the other side of the tabloid frenzy that was her relationship with John Mayer. The couple started dating in 2005, after her divorce from Nick Lachey, and she describes the relationship as obsessive and controlling. "I constantly worried that I wasn't smart enough for him," she writes. "My anxiety would spike and I would pour another drink. It was the start of me relying on alcohol to mask my nerves."
Despite some of the dark subject matter in the book, Simpson has managed to make her press tour seem fun. In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week, she revealed a particularly satisfying bit of gossip about the Mickey Mouse Club crew: After her divorce from Lachey, she said that she shared a "nostalgic kiss" with Justin Timberlake. (This was right after he broke up with Cameron Diaz.) Immediately following the encounter, she said that Timberlake texted Ryan Gosling, because the two made a bet when they were 12 over who would kiss Simpson first. Is that not exactly how you imagine Timberlake operates?
Not that she needs to do this, but I would actually love to see Simpson back on reality TV.
Here is an example of a star who explained too much: This week, Channing Tatum accidentally (?) insulted his ex-wife Jenna Dewan while attempting to defend his current girlfriend, Jessie J, from an Instagram troll.
Tatum and Jessie got together pretty quickly after he separated from Dewan, and it seems like things have been a little tense between the three of them since then. Last fall, Dewan insinuated in her explanatory memoir/advice book Gracefully You that she found out about Tatum's new relationship in the tabloids.
Tatum and Jessie, meanwhile, have been on-and-off. They broke up in December and recently got back together (and expressive with each other on Instagram again). According to a source who talked to People, "They seem very happy about being together. Things seem back to normal." We'll see.
Finally, I'll leave you with something that I don't believe can ever be explained: this video of Julianne Hough experiencing a pseudo-exorcism at Davos last week.
If you have any idea about any of this, please let me know.