Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun Relationship Strained But Still Standing

Scooter Braun has revealed his relationship with Justin Bieber came under strain this past year as the singer rebelled against being criticized in the wake of a string of scandals and controversies.

The 19-year-old has been the subject of heightened media focus in recent months following incidents on and off his Believe world tour, including accusations of underage drinking, alleged assaults, or alleged ordering of assaults by his security team, visits to a strip club and a brothel, criminal charges for spraying graffiti in Brazil — amid a slew of complaints during his recent Latin America leg.

In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter that some have likened to damage-control, Braun admits he has found it increasingly difficult to talk to Justin about his behavior and he had to change his managerial style as a result.

The 32-year-old, who came across Bieber seven years ago as a 12-year-old singing sensation on YouTube, tells the entertainment trade,

“When Justin was younger, it was, ‘Keep him out of trouble, stop him from falling down, protect him as much as you can from anything that can hurt him’… When I try to do that now, he’s resentful, he pushes away and rebels. What I’ve come to learn is ‘Be there, give the best advice you can,’ but he has to be allowed to make his own decisions — and his own mistakes.”

Braun adds, “I saw the rebellion, I saw our relationship being hurt. We were struggling in talking to each other because I wasn’t having conversations about anything good anymore. It was constantly calling to say, ‘No!'”

At this point, Bieber, who was also interviewed, agreed with Braun’s points, adding, “Scooter was like the father figure in my life. But when I started to grow up, it was hard for him to have to listen to my input. I want to be me, to show everybody who I am as an individual. I don’t want to just be a puppet.”

However, despite the pair experiencing issues in their relationship, they appear to be united in two key areas. Namely, their resolve to buck critics’ expectations of a Bieber burnout and a belief in each other’s respective talents.

Braun insists the pop phenom isn’t going to flame out as so many young stars have before him.

“Justin’s not going to go crazy,” he says. “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.”

The 2013 Time Magazine TIME 100 named professional also slammed specific claims that have been widely reported, throwing in his own take on the Canadian’s extraordinary year.

“I think his moments of anger come from his resentment towards the ridicule [and] of being judged for things, which a lot of times he hasn’t even done,” Braun shares, noting the teen’s inability to go out without attention.

Meanwhile, Justin’s message to detractors, media, and the paparazzi that constantly trails him is defiant.

“I don’t give a f—.” Bieber says, before explaining, “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,” he adds.

Affirming his manager was among the few he can rely on, the singer said, “I trust Scooter with my career; he’s always made sure I’m taken care of.”

Braun attended the fourth birthday party of Justin’s brother Jaxon, said to have been held during a Nov. 17 video shoot in Los Angeles for Justin’s past single, “All That Matters.”

The manager appeared at ease with Justin and his family.

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