Photographed by Zoey Grossman; Styled by Anna Trevelyan

Before Justin and Hailey Bieber had their formal wedding in South Carolina this September, outlets reported they changed the date four times (and sent out new save the date invites every time). Their religious wedding was supposed to happen shortly after their legal one in September 2018; instead, it happened a year later, in September 2019. The Biebers initially wed in a New York City courthouse and took months to personally confirm they got married.

In her interview with ELLE, Hailey explains directly for the first time why she and her husband really waited a year to have their second, formal wedding. “When we first got married, we were just figuring out our life together,” she said. “I felt like putting a wedding in the middle of all of that would be really hectic and stressful.”

The first year of marriage was tough because of Justin’s health issues, she added. “He was really sick. He has Lyme disease, and he was dealing with a bunch of medical stuff. We didn’t have a diagnosis. And it was hard because everybody from the outside was being super mean and judgmental, saying he looked like he was on drugs, saying how unhealthy he looked, when in truth, he was not healthy and we didn’t know why.”

“It was months of me being a new wife trying to help him figure out what was wrong and what was going on,” she continued. “Now he’s perfectly healthy. But going through that and then trying to be like, ‘So where does our wedding fit into this?’ didn’t feel like the vibe at all. We went straight into figuring out the hard stuff. Because you never know what can happen with someone’s health. When you don’t know what’s happening, it’s really scary. And then you have the opinions of everybody from the outside, and it just sucks.”

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