Justin Bieber grew up with his mother, Pattie Mallette, in Stratford, Ontario after his parents split when he was young. Before Bieber was born, a 17-year-old Mallette went into the hospital for trying to commit suicide after being sexually abused and turning to drugs and alcohol as a child. She cleaned up her act and joined an evangelical church. Mallette played a vital role in launching Bieber's career when she uploaded clips of a 12-year-old Bieber singing to YouTube in 2007 and has played an active role ever since. Bieber credits her as "the person most responsible for my success" in a clip promoting this year's Grammy Awards.
Bieber's dad, Jeremy, a ripped young fighter who competed in a UFC-like Muay Thai league, was in and out of the picture when Bieber was a child.
Scooter Braun accidentally discovered Bieber in 2008. He had quit his gig at Jermaine Dupri's So So Def Records and was living in Atlanta looking for artists to develop when he clicked on a link that wound up being one of the clips Pattie Mallette had uploaded of her son singing in the "Stratford Idol" competition. Braun followed through on his promise to get Bieber a record deal and was by Bieber's side as his career took off, even getting arrested when a 2010 mall appearance got out of hand.
After Scooter Braun signed Bieber to a management deal, he courted big names to help further Bieber's career — among them, Usher and Justin Timberlake. Usher won out, and Bieber signed to Raymond Braun Media Group, a joint venture between Usher and Braun. Usher went on to help secure Bieber a record deal at Island Def Jam under honcho L.A. Reid. Usher and Bieber have performed several times together, including at the 2009 holiday concert for New York City radio station Z100 (pictured here) and at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
The chairman of Island Def Jam signed Bieber to a 360 deal in 2008 after Usher put Bieber on Reid's radar. The deal entitles IDJ to a percentage of Bieber's income from money-generators such as merchandising, publishing royalties, endorsements and sponsorships.
Nothing makes Bieber happier than when someone compares him to Michael Jackson. "Michael is my inspiration, and I want to emulate his career as much as possible," he says in our new cover story.
Bieber has said Boyz II Men were one of his main musical influences growing up. The R&B quartet joined him on stage at Madison Square Garden last year to duet on their hit "On Bended Knee" for a cameo in Bieber's 3D movie.
Bieber and his fellow Canadian superstar Drake were up against each other for the Best New Artist Grammy (they lost to Esperanza Spalding) capping off a huge year for both. In addition to their solo successes, Drake had a guest spot in the video for Bieber's "Baby" and has performed the song live with him (the original cut features Ludacris). The two have not ruled out future collaborations.
Asher Roth was working with Braun when Braun discovered Bieber and had a front-row seat to Bieber's evolution into a successful pop star. Though the two share a manager, Roth — who hit it big in 2009 with his ode to the party lifestyle, "I Love College" ̵ has said the difference in their fanbases would make a collaboration harder to do.
Until recently, there was a great deal of mystery over Bieber's dating status, but the paparazzi caught Bieber kissing Disney TV star Selena Gomez in St. Lucia and more shots of the pair (pictured here at the MTV Video Music awards last September) have been snapped in recent weeks.
Disney star and fellow 3D concert movie maker Miley Cyrus joined Bieber on stage to perform his song "Overboard" for Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The two have teamed up several times in the past, including a duet on her hit, "Party in the USA" for an awards show last year. Despite rumors of a romantic relationship, they've never been confirmed as a couple.
Among the famous ladies who have shown their adoration of Bieber is the E! reality star, who told Us Weekly, "I'm a big Justin fan. He's a lot of fun. He definitely has this swagger to him!"
The teen pop star opened for Bieber on the second leg of his My World 2.0 tour last year after appearing in the clip for his and Sean Kingston's "Eenie Meenie" and co-starring in Bieber's "Baby" video. After the "Baby" shoot, rumors swirled that Bieber and Villegas were involved.
Bieber opened for the country superstar in the U.K. in November, 2009 and broke his foot on stage at Wembley Stadium. In addition, the two have both guest starred on CSI (though not at the same time) and there's speculation the two will collaborate on a tune in the future.
You'd be hard-pressed to find an interview where Bieber doesn't boldly state his crush on Beyoncé, saying everything from how she broke his heart when she married Jay-Z to how she's his dream date.The two finally met at the 2010 Grammy Awards (pictured here).
Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne teamed up for a Best Buy Super Bowl commercial earlier this year that had Bieber replacing the Prince of Darkness as the pitchman for new technology — and then showing up as an older version of himself in a surprise ending.
The former Fugee sang with Bieber on the "We Are the World: 25 Years for Haiti " recording last year, and filmed a viral clip, in which Jean called Bieber "a prodigy in the making."
Will Smith's kids (pictured here with Bieber at the 2010 American Music Awards) are no stranger to the spotlight or to sharing it with Bieber: Bieber sang the theme to Jaden's 2010 Karate Kid reboot, "Never Say Never" and Jaden joined him to perform it both in Bieber's 3D movie by the same name and live on the 2011 Grammy Awards. Willow is heading overseas with Bieber to open for him on his 2011 European tour.
Rev Run's son, Diggy Simmons (left) is a burgeoning mogul in his own right with two mixtapes and a clothing line under his belt, but when Bieber brought him on stage last fall to perform the "Baby" remix, Diggy exploded into the mainstream. Though he's working on his debut album now, Diggy hasn't ruled out future collaborations with Bieber.
Bieber calls Sean Kingston (right) his "bro" and the two hung out all the time when Kingston opened for Bieber last summer. The two also collaborated on Kingston's songs "Eenie Meenie" and "Won't Stop."
R&B singer/songwriter/producer Taio Cruz (pictured here with Kingston and Bieber at New York City radio station Z100's 2010 holiday concert) told MTV he's working on "fun, young pop music" for Bieber's next record.
Bieber wouldn’t sound the same without his guitarist and musical director Dan Kanter. In 2009, Kanter was studying musicology at Toronto’s York University when he got a call from a rep at Universal, searching for someone to lead Bieber’s band. Since then, he’s worked as a producer on Bieber’s My Worlds Acoustic, appeared in Never Say Never and played venues from Wembley Stadium to Madison Square Garden.