In his first sit-down interview in nine months, 19-year-old Justin Bieber opened up to The Hollywood Reporter in a 3-hour, one-on-one chat — while wearing a red onesie.
Bieber is over the word “swag”: “I’m very influenced by black culture, but I don’t think of it as black or white,” he says. “It’s not me trying to act or pose in a certain way. It’s a lifestyle — like a suaveness or a swag, per se. But I don’t really like to say the word [‘swag’] anymore. It’s kind of played out.”
Bieber is proud of himself and doesn’t care what you think: “I don’t give a f—.” Elaborates Bieber: “Not ‘I don’t give a f—‘ to just be reckless and do whatever, but ‘I don’t give a f— what they say.’ … I know who I am and what I’m doing in my life and what I’ve accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I’m happy with the man I’m becoming.”
Even though he peed in a bucket at a NYC restaurant: The video of him peeing into the mop bucket netted a “so-called friend $US40,000 10 months later,” snaps Braun.
Justin isn’t going to end up like those other child stars: “The rumours were coming so fast and furious that we couldn’t address all of them,” says Braun of their decision to throw up their hands. “Say whatever the f— you want. Justin’s not going to go crazy. He’s not going to end up in rehab. He’s not going to end up a statistic. Nine months ago, they said he lost his mind — he hasn’t missed a show since. So we’re just going to shut up.”
He travels with a pastor: Pastor Judah Smith, who has maintained a steady presence in Bieber’s life, travelling as far as South Africa and Australia to help him “not get discouraged or despondent because of perceived failures.”
He’s the most Googled person on the planet: “He’s the only person in humanity who’s grown up the way he has — with smartphones and cameras on him 24/7,” says Braun. “Another kid can go out and have a good night on the town, and no one gives a crap, but Justin is the most Googled person on the planet — for four years straight!”
Scooter Braun is like a father figure: “I’m usually up pretty much all night until I know Justin is in,” says Braun of a routine that might sound familiar to parents. “At night is when trouble can come.” Typically, Braun will receive an all-clear text or call from Bieber’s body guard or tour manager, and that’s when he can get some shut-eye. … Until Bieber rings. “The person who usually wakes me up is Justin,” he says. “He likes to talk to me in the middle of the night. Because that’s when the world goes quiet for him and his mind’s running.”
Many celebrities have reached out to try and help Bieber: “Oprah Winfrey, Adam Levine and Mark Wahlberg each have reached out to Bieber via calls and emails to Braun. Rita Wilson offered to have husband Tom Hanks counsel the young star. Eminem’smanager, Paul Rosenberg, told Braun: ‘If you ever want Eminem to talk to him, he would do it in a second. He cares about that kid.’ Braun adds, ‘Drake is like a big brother to Justin. And Justin really looks up to Drake. They have an extremely special relationship.”
But Bieber’s most influential famous friend is Will Smith: “The most present mentor is Will Smith. Braun tells of a particularly tough time for Bieber around the time he returned from his world tour in May that prompted the movie star to drive to Bieber’s house and pull him out of bed for a three-hour talk. Bieber’s reaction, according to Braun: ‘He said, ‘Man, that makes me feel so loved. I woke up, and there’s Will Smith, one of, if not the, biggest movie stars on the planet. He took time out of his day for me.’ “
“Now, Bieber and Smith have a weekly call to go over any potential issues, emotional or otherwise. (Scientology has never been discussed.) At the same time, Braun adds of Smith, “He’s telling me: ‘Justin’s got to go through it. You can’t stop him from going through it. That’s youth in itself. He’s a young man who’s growing up, and that’s what makes him interesting and relatable. Otherwise, he’d be some kind of weird robot.'”
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