Image: Getty

Earlier this week, Justin Bieber’s longtime manager Scooter Braun sat down with Van Lathan’s The Red Pill podcast (via Page Six) and gave an uncharacteristically candid interview. In it, Braun reveals JB’s past bad behaviors (DUIs, arrests, lawsuits, etc) worried him to the point where he feared the young singer was going to die. He said:

“There was a time when I would go to sleep almost every night when he had the money to fly away from me and I was worried every night that I was gonna lose him. That was the time when I was telling him he’s not allowed to work. He used to yell and scream at me and he wanted to put music out. He wanted to tour, but I thought if he did that, he would die. So I just refused. We weren’t making any money, it wasn’t like I was trying to take advantage. I didn’t want him to work, I wanted him to get healthy.”

Braun saying that he “wasn’t trying to take advantage” of Bieber feels like unusually defensive language to me, but it’s more understandable when you recognize that Braun’s discovery of Bieber when he was just a kid more or less made his career.

Then, without revealing too much (namely, what substances Bieber was abusing and the extent of its damage,) Braun admits to having attended Al-Anon meetings when things got serious:

“I thought he was going to die. I thought he was going to sleep one night and that he would have so much crap in his system that he would not wake up the next morning. I was trying to monitor him from a distance, I would fly after him at times, all kinds of different stuff...

I think that he made a conscious choice for himself to change. For a year and a half, I failed miserably trying to help him because for a year and a half he didn’t change, and I made every effort you can imagine. It wasn’t until one day he woke up and said, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you. I don’t want to be this person anymore.’ And he made the decision to change, and actually put that into action, and the result is who he’s become today, and that is the result of his own decision, no one else’s.”

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Call me cynical, but I think we’d all benefit from hearing what exactly Braun means by “I made every effort you can imagine”—the guy certainly has fiscal concerns that might not overlap with instructing Bieber to take a break from working and get help ASAP, but I digress.