Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber has denied that he canceled the remainder of his current world tour to start his own church.
Channel Nine entertainment guru Richard Wilkins has recently claimed that Bieber decided to cancel the remaining 14 dates of his Purpose World Tour because he wanted to "reconnect with his faith" and possibly start his own church. According to Daily Mail, Wilkins said that he gained the "exclusive" information from an inside, unnamed source during his guest appearance on Today Extra on Tuesday
The 23-year-old singer, however, denied Wilkins' claim when he was questioned by TMZ on Tuesday if he canceled the tour due to "religious reasons." Bieber reportedly looked dumbfounded by the question and replied with a simple: "No, you already know the reason."
TMZ noted that Bieber has previously stated that he needed some rest after spending two years on the road.
The cancellation of Bieber's scheduled stadium shows was announced in a statement published on his website on Monday.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, Justin Bieber will cancel the remainder of the Purpose World Tour concerts. Justin loves his fans and hates to disappoint them," the statement read.
"He thanks his fans for the incredible experience of the Purpose World Tour over last 18 months. He is grateful and honored to have shared that experience with his cast and crew for over 150 successful shows across 6 continents during this run. However, after careful consideration he has decided he will not be performing any further dates. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase," it continued.
According to TMZ, multiple sources connected with Hillsong Church have said that Bieber canceled his concerts because he has "rededicated his life to Christ."
Bieber has become very close with Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz over the past few months, and his Instagram bio links to a sermon by Miami pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr., as opposed to one of his music videos or songs.
Wilkins suggested that the singer could be looking to make a more permanent connection with Hillsong as he was seen attending the church's annual conference in Sydney earlier this month.
While the singer's original statement did not elaborate on the reason for canceling the tour, an insider reportedly said that the performer was "super exhausted" from his hectic tour schedule.
Bieber's tour crew was reportedly blindsided by the abrupt decision, saying no warning nor explanation was given before the announcement that put 200 people out of work.