It was a difficult time for Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey Baldwin Bieber, as they faced health fears, but trials made the couple’s marriage stronger.
In March, the 25-year-old model suffered a small stroke after a blood clot traveled from her heart to her brain. (Hailey later reported being diagnosed with grade 5 PFO – a small opening in the heart that usually closes after birth – and underwent a procedure to correct the condition.)
Then, after postponing three dates of his long-awaited tour on Justice, the 28-year-old pop star revealed in a candid video on Instagram on June 10 that she had been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder caused by her reactivation. chickenpox virus and shingles. He paralyzed the right side of his face, making it impossible for him to blink or smile.
“Hailey was as supportive of Justin as she was of her health problems,” a friend of the couple said on this week’s cover of PEOPLE. “They are unbreakable.”
Dimitrios Kampouris / Getty Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Bieber
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As Hailey herself said during an appearance on June 15 at Live with Kelly and Ryan to promote her new Rhode skin care line, she feels that she and Bieber are now “closer than ever”.
For more on this week’s PEOPLE cover for Justin and Hailey Bieber, check out our daily PEOPLE Every Day podcast below.
“I honestly think that the silver investment in what I went through, what went through, is really what binds you,” he said.
During her appearance, Hailey also assured fans that Bieber is in a state of recovery.
“It will be very good,” he said. “This is a very strange situation.”
Two days before Hailey’s appearance, Bieber – who postponed the rest of his Justice World tour, which was originally scheduled to last until July, to focus on his health – shared a social media update , acknowledging that he was facing a ‘terrible storm but had already seen an improvement in his condition.
“It was rough,” said a source close to Bieber. “There is nothing he can do to speed up his recovery, so he just has to be patient. He is supposed to be taking his medication, resting and eating nutritious food.”
Ramsay Hunt syndrome, characterized by acute facial weakness, earache, rash around the ear or face, and sometimes hearing loss, affects only five in 100,000 people a year. Anyone who has had chickenpox or has never been vaccinated against chickenpox is susceptible, experts say.
“The virus, even if you had it as a child or as a young adult, remains dormant in your body until something triggers it to reactivate,” says Dr. Amit Kochhar, director of the Facial Nerve Disorders Program at Providence Saint John Health Center. Pacific Neuroscience Institute, which has not treated Bieber. “Once the nerve that causes facial movement – raising your eyebrow, you close your eyes, smile, things like that – becomes inflamed, you get facial paralysis.”
According to Dr. Scott Stephan, director of the Vanderbilt University Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery program, many patients see “significant” improvement after a few weeks of treatment, which usually includes high doses of steroids and antivirals.
“In three months most people would have a significant recovery,” adds Stephan, who has not treated the singer.
Stefan also dismissed claims on social media that the COVID vaccine had led to Bieber’s disease, saying: “There is no proven link between the vaccines and facial weakness.”
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Although Hailey traveled between her and Bieber’s home in Los Angeles and New York to promote Rod, she “constantly checked in with Justin,” says a source close to Bieber. “It was very scary for her. Although she knows she will be fine, it has definitely been an overwhelming year so far.”
The young couple first met in 2009, when a 12-year-old Hailey was introduced to the 15-year-old pop wunderkind by her father, actor Stephen Baldwin, behind the scenes. Today projection.
They remained friends and went out for a short time in 2015 before things ended in a “very dramatic” separation, Hailey said. Fashion. Months after their romance was rekindled in 2018, they were married in a New York court, followed by a larger celebration in South Carolina a year later.
“I just felt like this was my call,” Bieber said GQ last year. “Just to get married and have babies and do all that.”
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Bieber has spoken openly about dealing with mental health problems such as depression, ADHD and stress.
“I realized I needed some serious treatment that I had to go through to get to a place where I could be in a healthy, serious relationship, because I had a lot of injuries and scars,” he told Judah and Chelsea last November. of Smith In good faith podcast. “Fortunately, Hailey accepted me as I was.”
In difficult times, her support never wavered.
“I made that decision,” he said in the same interview. “I know I love this person for a long time, and now would not be the time to leave him. I just would not do that to him.”
Kevin Mazur / Getty Justin and Hailey Bieber
While navigating a high profile career, the couple has worked hard to pursue a quiet life together. During the first days of the pandemic, “we really had to be with each other, laugh and have fun,” Hailey told PEOPLE in 2021. we were going to make time for. “
They also found refuge in Bieber’s home in Ontario, Canada.
“They are like normal people here,” says one local. “Justin loves Canada and can have fun here without much hassle.”
Although they married young, sources say they grew up together.
“Justin has matured in his marriage,” says a music source. “Hailey had a good influence. They will do whatever it takes to help each other.”
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Relying on his faith and loved ones, Bieber is looking forward to returning to tour Europe later this summer.
“It’s a setback, but everyone has setbacks: They will move forward and become healthy,” says the couple’s friend. “He is in a good mood and looking forward to his life and career.”
For all the details on Justin Bieber’s path to recovery, get the latest issue of PEOPLE in newsstands everywhere on Friday.