According to new reports, Justin Bieber turned to Will Smith for support and advice amid the chaos surrounding his UK tour last week.
Will Smith – himself a former child star – became a mentor and “father figure” Justin Bieber as what should have been a triumphant tour was rocked by a string of public relations disasters.
The actor was in London chaperoning his own 14-year-old son Jaden Smith – one of three support acts on Justin Bieber’s sell-out Believe tour.
And according to one member of Justin Bieber entourage, Will Smith, 44, was on hand around the clock to offer advice and guidance to the 19-year-old in the absence of his own parents.
Justin Bieber’s visit to the UK has been mired in controversy. The Canadian turned up two hours late for his show on Monday; was hospitalized with chest pains on Thursday; and was involved in an ugly altercation with a photographer on Friday.
As his mother Pattie Mallette now prepares to fly in to support her son, The Mail on Sunday revealed the behind-the-scenes power struggle that emerged as Justin Bieber pulls away from his bubblegum “tween” image.
While Will Smith is a fatherly influence, it seems Justin Bieber is increasingly under the sway of new Hollywood companions, led by little-known rappers Lil Twist and Lil Za.
Angie Simpson, mother of 16-year-old Australian singer Cody Simpson, another of the support acts, said: “Will has been helping Justin out a lot, mentoring him and offering him guidance.
“He’s someone who is used to this level of scrutiny and it has helped having him around.
“Justin is an adult and has a very strong, loyal and professional team around him, but it is hard for anyone to come under such pressure.”
On Friday night, Justin Bieber was back on stage for the last of his four London tour dates at the O2 Arena, arriving on stage 20 minutes late and opening the 90-minute show performing Never Say Never, a duet with Jaden Smith.
After the show, Justin Bieber returned to his Mayfair hotel at 1.30 a.m. surrounded by an entourage and was whisked straight up to his $15,000-a-night penthouse suite.
Minutes later Justin Bieber posted a series of Twitter messages which hinted at the strain of the past week.
He wrote: “Still a little short of breath tonight but was an incredible show. London fans go hard.”
In place of his parents, Justin Bieber has been accompanied in the UK by Scott “Scooter” Braun, the 31-year-old talent manager who discovered his protégé on YouTube and turned him into a global “tween” brand worth more than $100million.
But a lack of parental guidance, combined with the emerging pull of his worrying new circle of friends in the wake of his split from girlfriend Selena Gomez in November, is now raising serious questions about Justin Bieber’s increasingly erratic behavior and state of mind.
Lil Twist – also known as Christopher Lynn Moore, a 20-year-old from Chicago – and Lil Za – real name Xavier Smith, also 20 – are regulars on the LA party scene and are thought to be exerting an increasing influence on Justin Bieber.
In January both were believed to be present when Justin Bieber, whose hits include Baby and One Less Lonely Girl, was photographed with a cannabis joint in a party at a California hotel room.
The incident came a day after Lil Twist was pulled over by police as he drove Justin Bieber’s Ferrari and a photographer was killed as he ran across the road to take a picture.
As well as the new friends, many believe it was the end of Justin Bieber’s two-year romance with Selena Gomez, 21, who dumped him last November, that led to him embracing a more chaotic lifestyle.
A friend of Selena Gomez’s said: “Selena was a calming influence on Justin. She is two years older than him and he listened to and respected her.
“Everyone is hoping this recent behavior is just growing pains and not the start of a more serious problem. Only time will tell.”