The music manager, 37, opened up about the “What Do You Mean?” singer’s dark past in a wide-ranging interview on Van Lathan’s The Red Pill podcast.
“I thought he was going to die,” Braun said candidly about Bieber, 24, in the discussion released Wednesday. “I thought he was going to go to sleep one night and have so much crap in his system that he would not wake up the next morning.”
Braun explained, “There was a time where 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 going to lose him.”
Braun said he tried to save Bieber by keeping him from his music. “That was the time where I was telling him he’s not allowed to work,” Braun recalled. “And he used to yell and scream at me. 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 … I didn’t want him to work because I wanted him to get healthy.”
Braun says that Bieber, who is engaged to Hailey Baldwin, is now in a much healthier place, all thanks to Bieber’s own determination. “I think that he made a conscious choice for himself to change,” Braun shared. “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.’ He made the decision to change and actually put that into action. The result is who he’s become today.”
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In March 2013, after a week in which Bieber was treated for shortness of breath mid-show and lunged at a photographer, a source told PEOPLE, “He’s wildin’ out. On a scale of hot sauce, he’s a mild, but his money is so hot, it can get him anything.”
The next month, police raided Bieber’s tour bus in Sweden and confiscated drugs.
Then, in January 2014, Bieber’s home was raided by police after he allegedly threw eggs at a neighbor’s house.
Weeks later, he was arrested in Miami for DUI. “Mr. Bieber made a statement that he had consumed some alcohol, and that he had been smoking marijuana and had consumed some prescription medication,” a Miami Beach Police spokesperson said at the time.
“The people close to him try, but he’s a mess,” an industry source told PEOPLE in 2014. “He acts as though he’s never heard the word ‘no’ and he thinks he’s God.”
Speaking on Lathan’s The Red Pill podcast, Braun reflected on the scrutiny Bieber’s behavior received. “I think Justin is an extraordinary young man who has been given an extraordinary life, and because of that he cannot complain that he’s held to extraordinary standards,” Braun said. “He used to complain, he used to fight it, and that’s kind of what got him into a dark place.”
Braun continued, “But when he accepted his responsibility and took a hard look at himself and not what everyone else was doing, that’s when he owned it, and he got healthy, and he got better, and he made the choice to change.”
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