Justin Bieber hit a rough patch a few months ago, but he’s doing “much better,” a source close to the 23-year-old singer tells PEOPLE.
“It was a really bad scene,” the insider tells PEOPLE. “He was just not himself. He was profoundly unhappy. Exhausted, low energy. He was just miserable. He needed to step back, recalibrate, and then figure out his next move.”
The singer canceled the remaining concerts on his Purpose world tour, got involved in his church, and slowly began returning to his old self. “It has been a process, but he’s doing so much better,” says the insider. “You can talk to him and see that the old Justin is coming back. He seems happier, more energetic. It’s encouraging. He’s not completely there, but he’s definitely on his way.”
Braun told the magazine that he placed a lot of blame on himself: “I failed him day after day. We were living in hell because he was in such a dark place” — but Braun refused to give up on the now 23-year-old, even after “people invested in Justin’s career told me, ‘It’s over. Focus on something else. That kid is done.'”
“I made a promise to him when he was 13 that I would never give up on him. I plan on keeping that promise,” he said, adding of Bieber: “He’s family. I think the relationship is more like a big brother, especially because he’s become a man. I think he’s seen the worst of himself, and to watch him rise out of it was amazing.”
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The insider concurs that Bieber is emerging from a very dark place. “For a long time, it was just awful, but it’s not anymore. Justin is seeing the beauty around him,” the source tells PEOPLE. “He sees that his life is beautiful, that he’s beautiful. He’s young and rich, but that’s not enough. He’s now becoming emotionally and spiritually grounded, and the difference is written all over his face. It’s beautiful to watch.”