If singer/songwriter Justin Bieber had not dedicated his life to Christ and turned from his old habits, he would likely be dead, the singer's manager, Scooter Braun has revealed.
In an interview with The New York Times, Braun, 34, opened up about fearing for the 21-year-old popstar's life and career amid reports he was smoking marijuana, vandalizing his neighbor's property, using racial slurs and drag racing.
"As I started to see it going in the wrong direction, I started to prepare. I put deals in place where he was protected for the long run," Braun said. "And I started to prepare my company to scale, because I was not going to let him work. [After Journals, Bieber's 2013 digital compilation,] he wanted to tour, and I honestly at that time felt, if he toured, he could die."
As reported by the Gospel Herald, Bieber was baptized by Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz last year, and regularly discusses his newfound relationship with Jesus Christ.
"I could say it over and over again, I'm changing and doing this with my life," Bieber told Complex in an interview earlier this year. "At this point, my faith has gotten me to where I am...My faith has brought me to a whole other level. I love talking about my faith. Personally, love Jesus and that was my salvation. I want to share what I'm going through and what I'm feeling, and I think it shouldn't be ostracized."
Speaking to the Times, Braun said the singer's dedication to turning his life around undoubtedly helped with his comeback campaign after a two-year hiatus.
"I know people have seen the marketing and the A&R and everything we put together, and they're like, 'Wow, great job!' But I want to be really clear: I was trying to do that job for a year and a half, and I failed every single day," Braun said. "It wasn't until something happened that it clicked for him. He made the conscious decision as a young man: 'I need to make a change in my own life.'"
Although he believed Bieber had truly turned his life around, Braun waited severals months before allowing the young singer to return to work.
"I looked at Robert Downey Jr. and all these people - when you ask for redemption, people will give it to you. But if you're the boy who cried wolf, they'll destroy you," Braun said. "Once I saw there was consistency I said, OK, now it's time to go back to the professional life. The click happened about 20 months ago. Six months after that, you start seeing me planning a [Comedy Central] roast. And then the Calvin Klein ads come, and the roast comes ..."
Braun emphasized that he is incredibly thankful for the transformation he has seen in Bieber, as the singer's issues were much worse than the public realized.
"The outsiders don't really know what was happening. It was far worse than people realize. And when he is ready, he will tell what he was going through," Braun told the Times. "But it's a hard thing to watch someone you care and genuinely love go through that. I'm really, really happy that's over."