It’s one of the great questions of our era: who is Justin Bieber’s song ‘Love Yourself’ about? It appears to take a swipe at an ex, with the brilliant lyric: “My momma don’t like you / And she likes everyone.” But who could the bequiffed one be having a go at? We rounded up the contenders.
Boy notices girl on Instagram, likes what he sees, so contacts her out of the blue. In most scenarios, this does not end well for the boy. But if you’re Justin Bieber, the girl – an Instagram-famous fashion blogger – promptly travels to Los Angeles to meet you, and romance ensues. Unfortunately for Bieber, she then talked to the papers. Fortunately for Bieber, she didn’t reveal much more than the fact that “he’s a really tactile guy, he loves cuddles.” Still, there’s a chance he didn’t take kindly to being gossiped about.
The evidence: There’s a lyric in the song that goes, “If you like the way you look that much / You should learn to love yourself”, which sort of sounds like something you’d say about someone who incessantly takes pictures of themselves to post on the internet, right?
In April 2015, Bieber and the reality star posted an intimate-looking photo of themselves on Instagram.They were then spotted cosying up at Travis Scott’s Rodeo album listening party in New York in September last year.
The evidence: Jenner does like a selfie, but it seems unlikely the song’s about her, since she’s from one of the best-connected families in showbiz, that she’d the subject of the lyric, “And all the clubs you get in using my name.”
Another Instagram-famous type, Jeffries was in Bieber’s car when he was infamously arrested for a DUI in Miami in early 2014, which is when the pair were reportedly dating.
The evidence: It’s possible Bieber doesn’t have fond memories of this time in his life, which could have contributed to the reflective tone of the song.
Bieber and the former Disney star were famously on-again/off-again for years, so she’s the ex-girlfriend most commonly linked to the song. Interviewed last year, Bieber told NME: “A lot of the time I am speaking about specific people – my ex-girlfriend – and a lot of times it’s not about that; I’m telling a story or it’s a narrative. [Latest album Purpose] is mostly very personal and relationships that I’ve been in and relationships that I’ve lost.” So, all signs point to Selena, right? Perhaps, though the singer added: “The only thing I don’t want people to ever know is ‘Love yourself’ I don’t want people to know who that’s about.” Damn you, Justin!
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The evidence: Gomez has been Bieber’s most serious girlfriend to date.
Now, this is a curveball. But the song was co-written with Ed Sheeran, so it’s only fair that his alleged exes get a look-in too. The ginger singer reportedly dated Goulding and they were spotted holding hands at the 2013 Video Music Awards. He told radio station Click 98.9: “I mean, normal people don’t hold hands if they’re just friends. It was going on, and now it’s not.”
Speaking about the supposed relationship, Goulding told Elle: “I was never in a relationship with Ed. I have absolutely no idea where that came from and why it was turned into such a big thing.” Could these words have inspired ‘Love Yourself’?