Hailey Bieber got more than wedded bliss when she said “I do” to Justin Bieber after what seemed like a whirlwind romance in 2018.
She also found herself the subject of online hate and other-woman allegations, as she was portrayed as the one who broke up a fan-favorite pairing of the pop star and his longtime on-and-off-again girlfriend Selena Gomez.
Now, four years later, the model is ready to set the record straight.
“Let’s just put it this way, when him and I ever started hooking up or anything of that sort, he was not ever in a relationship. Ever. At any point,” the 25-year-old insisted during an interview on Alex Cooper’s “Call Her Daddy” podcast. “I would never."
Bieber said that getting involved with anyone who was already taken was simply "not in (her) character."
"I would just never do that," she explained. "I was raised better than that. I’m not interested in doing that, and I never was. ... That’s the end of it. "
At least, that's the end of it for her. But she knows fans of her husband and his ex-girlfriend might not take her at her word.
"The timeline also that I think sometimes is in question of us getting together and getting engaged, (and) him having been spending time with his ex before that," she noted, without ever mentioning Gomez by name. "This is so crazy. I’ve literally never talked about this ever. I understand, again, how it looks from the outside and there’s a lot of perception there, but that was a situation where I know for a fact that it was the right thing for them to close that door."
Bieber added that whatever went on between her husband and his past partner before she came along had nothing to do with her, and that, even now, it's a tricky topic to tackle.
"It’s hard for me to talk about this, because I don’t want to talk on either one of their behalf," she told Cooper. "Again, because it was their relationship, and I honestly respect that very deeply."
"I get nervous about talking about it because I don’t want to stir anything up or bring anything up that is going to be a thing," Bieber added.
After all, she's already faced plenty of backlash just for being with the hit-maker.
"A lot of the hate and the perpetuation comes from ‘oh, you stole him!’ (accusations), and I guess maybe that just comes from the fact that they wish he had ended up with someone else," she continued. "And that’s fine. You can wish that all you want, but that’s just not the case."
That left Cooper wondering if the "Sorry" singer or anyone else had asked the singer's ex-girlfriend to put an end to the hate that Bieber says she still faces.
"No," Bieber said. "What I will say is that she has been in this industry much longer than I have and maybe there’s something that she knows about like it wouldn’t fix anything," Bieber said, adding, "She doesn’t owe me anything. Neither of us owe anybody anything except respect. I respect her, a lot."
But the two women have talked about the matter privately, including after the couple tied the knot in 2018, and Bieber said that the discussion brought her "a lot of peace" and that there's "no drama" between them.
"I feel like if everybody on our side knows what happened, and we’re good and we can walk away with it with clarity and respect, then that’s fine," she said.
"It is what it is," she added. "You’re never going to be able to correct every narrative."
And the only narrative that matters to Bieber now is that of her own love story with the "Baby" singer.
"He’s my best friend, and there’s nothing better than being with the person that makes you smile the most, makes you laugh the most," Bieber raved of her partner. "He’s just literally the best human to me. Ever. ... I just love him."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com