Justin Bieber has been the center of concern for months. The 22-year-old star repeatedly has exhibited unusual behavior, garnering attention as he strolled around barefoot, ranting on Instagram about award shows and now, in the most recent example of odd actions, becoming involved in a fist fight. But an insider told People that those around Justin weren’t even shocked by that brawl in Cleveland.
That fight, which included Bieber swinging at his opponent, was the result of a week filled with tension. And those close to him had known that he was ready “to snap,” according to the insider.
“In the week leading up to the fight, you could tell he was going to snap. It was like a bottle had been shaken.”
The battle in Cleveland resulted from a “negative” comment made by a heckler. And the situation exemplifies what happens with fans, and the chain reaction that results when the public pushes Justin too far.
“People run up to him and they literally will put their phone two inches from his face. There’s no filter with these fans,” added the source. “They spring up to him and just throw their phone to the point where they almost smack him.”
Moreover, wherever Bieber goes, he finds himself the center of attention. The inability to relax in public, combined with the pressure from his Purpose Tour, has been too much, according to the source. To try to alleviate the feeling that he is always under scrutiny, the singer canceled the meet-and-greet sessions for his Purpose Tour.
“I end up so drained and unhappy,” explained Justin as the reason.
The incessant spotlight and lack of freedom to go places without being noticed have become intolerable.
“He can’t handle or tolerate it,” emphasized the insider. “It has him on edge all the time.”
Following the brawl, Bieber turned to Instagram to mock what happened with his friend Micah Cravalho.
“Is that a fighting video? Dude, fighting’s not cool,” commented the “Sorry” singer.
“I know, that’s why you don’t take on 6’5″ guys,” responded his pal.
Reflecting on Justin’s actions and attitude recently, his inner circle is concerned that he is on the verge of a breakdown, a source told ET.
In recent weeks, those insiders have become more and more worried about the 22-year-old pop star. Bieber ranted on Instagram that he feels “like a zoo animal” at times, slammed awards shows, and went barefoot in Boston. And they feel that the brawl isn’t the end of his troubles.
“People around Justin are nervous about him and worry that he could have a breakdown,” shared the source. “He feels like people forget that he is a human being and needs privacy. Him writing those social posts about the ‘no photos etc…,’ that is him just being overwhelmed.”
But this individual also emphasizes that the Biebs isn’t trying to come off as a “snotty pop star.” Instead, he truly is seeking a way to normalize his life and calm down.
“He has been trying to be as normal as possible and trying to be super low-key about everything.”
But it’s a challenge in the pressure cooker created by his fame. An observer of Justin’s brawl told ET that the singer already was on edge due to heckling, including getting booed at the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors game. Trying to just hang out by the hotel, Bieber found himself the object of harassment.
“Bieber was hanging out outside the hotel and had been getting harassed by people walking by (mostly guys making fun of him) and hounded for pictures so he was a bit on edge,” recalled the eyewitness.
The result was the brawl, as well as increasing concern from those around him.
[Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images]