From “claiming all candy for the glory of God” on Halloween to waiting to have sex with Justin Bieber until marriage, Hailey Bieber is always ready to talk about her faith. The model's new Elle magazine cover story is no exception. In the interview, she talks about how her faith plays into her marriage and the couple’s involvement with Hillsong Church.
“As I got older, it got harder to follow church and the Bible because it felt very adult. I don’t want to sound wrong, but it was boring,” she told Elle. “I didn’t care about it anymore, until I found a church I felt was geared toward young people. And for me, that was the Hillsong Church in New York City.”
She added, “It started to feel like my own little community of people who were also young and following God and just immersed in a church community. Then I developed my own relationship to church and my own relationship with God, separate from being raised that way by my parents. That’s been a cool journey for me.”
Hailey also said that her faith is central to her marriage to Justin. After dating and breaking up when Hailey was 19, the pair reconnected through church. “We ended up being at this church conference together in Miami, and it was the first time we’d seen each other in a while,” Hailey said. “I remember we were hanging out and I was like, ‘Listen, I’m really, really happy for us to be friends again. I want us to always be cool and be friends.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, here’s the thing: We’re not going to be friends.’ And I was like, ‘Oh. Is that so?’”
We all know the rest: The couple fell in love, got married, and then got married again. Hailey attributes the strength of their bond to the couple’s shared faith. “Being able to share that with each other—to have that bond of faith and spirituality—is so [critical] for us. It’s the most important part of our relationship, following Jesus together, being a part of the church community together. It’s everything,” she said.
Although Hillsong Church has many famous members — along with the Biebers, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, and Vanessa Hudgens have all been spotted attending — others, including Ellen Page, have criticized the church’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies and reported history of conversion therapy.
Hailey and Justin Bieber have never addressed these criticisms of Hillsong Church. Refinery29 has reached out to representatives for Hailey Bieber and Hillsong Church NYC for additional comment but they did not respond. We will update if we hear back.