Before Justin Bieber re-dedicated his life to Christ, the singer's manager, Scooter Braun, questioned if undergoing another tour would kill the pop star.
Braun, 34, was candid about having to build a campaign around Bieber's comeback following some legal trouble in 2013 that led to an arrest in Florida and public scrutiny. The singer was previously blasted in headlines for allegedly smoking marijuana, vandalising his neighbor's property, using racial slurs and drag racing.
Although Bieber wanted to tour after releasing his Journals album, Braun told The New York Times that he feared the singer's life was spiraling out of control.
"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 told the publication. "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."
While Bieber's release of his Purpose album proved to be a hit with fans earlier this year, Braun admitted that it was the singer's decision to turn his life around that truly 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.'"
Still, Braun waited six months before he was willing to place Bieber back in the public eye.
"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 in 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 …"
That change may have come in the form of a baptism orchestrated by Bieber's spiritual mentor and Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz. In the January 2016 issue of GQ magazine, he revealed how the 21-year-old Canadian crooner Bieber sobbed and told him, "I want to know Jesus ... baptize me."
Last year, TMZ began reporting about Bieber's spiritual transformation.
"Pastor Carl Lentz — who works with Bieber in NYC — tells us he spent a week doing intense Bible study with Justin last month ... in the wake of being extorted over the videos. As we previously reported — JB's team was contacted two months ago by a man in possession of the videos and wanted a million dollar payday or else he'd go public," TMZ reported last year. "We're told Bieber's religious resurgence focused on studying Bible passages and attending services ... culminating in an actual baptism performed in the bathtub of one of the singer's friends."
These days, Braun is happy about Bieber's transformation and stressed how serious the singer's issues once were.
"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."