A free daily digest of the biggest news stories of the day - and the best features from our website
Thank you for signing up to TheWeek. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Justin Bieber's fans were shocked on Monday when the singer announced that he was cutting short his Purpose tour "due to unforeseen circumstances"
A spokesperson said that the star "loves his fans and hates to disappoint them" but, "after careful consideration", Bieber has cancelled the 14 remaining dates on the tour, which were to include shows in East Asia as well as the US and his native Canada.
Ticketholders were devastated to hear they would not be seeing their idol live on stage - but some were also worried about the cryptic circumstances which had driven Bieber to abandon life on the road.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Gone are the days when tabloid gossip columnists held the key to what was happening in Hollywood - these days, fans can piece it together themselves with a little online sleuthing. So what are the main theories?
Theory 1: Exhaustion
Bieber's official statement gave no concrete explanation for his decision to quit the Purpose tour, but the word from the Despacito singer's camp is that the 23-year-old was simply running on empty.
An insider told People that Bieber was "super exhausted" after performing 154 shows on the mammoth world tour. "He actually does like being on tour," the source said, but he’s been touring for 18 months straight and it takes a toll."
Bieber himself appeared to confirm this version of events, telling a paparazzo on Thursday that he would spend the near future "just resting, getting some relaxation," US Magazine reports.
This explanation certainly makes sense. Bieber has been in the spotlight since he was a teenager and spent the best part of the last two years crisscrossing the globe to perform upwards of dozen shows a month. No wonder he fancies a break.
Theory 2: Health issues
Since Bieber made the surprise announcement on Monday, there has been much speculation that the pop star's problems might be more serious than exhaustion.
Bieber has been open in the past about his struggles to maintain his mental wellbeing. In March 2016, he announced that he would no longer allow fan "meet and greets", saying the pressure of living up to their expectations "mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression".
In a statement posted to Instagram on Tuesday the star's manager, Scooter Braun, dropped a hint that the singer's mental health was at risk if he continued to tour.
Braun said he was "sorry" for the ticketholders affected by the decision to call off the tour, but that "a man's soul and well being I truly care about came first".
Bieber would be far from the first hitmaker to buckle under the strain of life on the road. In November last year, rapper Kanye West was hospitalised following erratic onstage behaviour during his Saint Pablo Tour, and later cancelled the remaining dates citing "stress and exhaustion".
Theory 3: Religion
On the surface, Bieber's recent Instagram activity seem pretty similar to his usual Insta style - topless pictures of himself, paparazzi snaps and a few memes. However, one person pops up over and over in the most recent uploads - Carl Lentz.
Lentz is the pastor of New York's hip Hillsong evangelical ministry, nicknamed the "church to the stars" for its celebrity parishioners, who include Kendall Jenner, Nick Jones, Vanessa Hudgens.
Bieber and Lentz have been pals since at least 2015, and earlier this month Bieber even took time out to attend a Hillsong conference in Australia, where he and Lentz were spotted enjoying a cheeky Nandos between sermons.
Bieber has made no secret of his Christian faith in the past, once calling his relationship with Jesus "the reason I'm here". Could the young pop star be undergoing a religious revival?
"Multiple" sources linked to Hillsong apparently told celeb gossip site TMZ that Bieber had decided to pull the plug on the tour because he has "rededicated his life to Christ". Some sources even claimed that Bieber was planning to start his own church.
However, the man himself insists that isn't the case. Asked by a paparazzi on Tuesday if he had called off the tour for religious reasons, Bieber said no, adding "you already know the reason".
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.