NEW YORK (Reuters) - Teenage pop star Justin Bieber sent out a series of mixed messages over his Twitter feed on Tuesday night, one of which said he was retiring, on the eve of the Christmas Day release of the latest film chronicling the life of the Canadian singer.
The tweet to the 19-year-old’s nearly 48 million followers - “My beloved beliebers I’m officially retiring” - was quickly followed by another message: “I’m never leaving you, being a belieber is a lifestyle.”
And then: “IM HERE FOREVER.”
Representatives for Bieber did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
The Canadian singer has been involved in a series of headline-grabbing incidents over the past year.
In March, the singer scuffled with a photographer outside a London hotel during a European tour. Later that month, police were called to his Los Angeles area home after a neighbor claimed he had been threatened and struck by Bieber.
In June, Bieber struck a photographer with his Ferrari sports car while driving away from a comedy club in Los Angeles, though police said the accident was not considered a hit-and-run.
The movie, “Justin Bieber’s Believe,” which takes the name of Bieber’s third studio album, could help repair his image after the difficult year.
“I think people forget that it’s a 19-year-old kid, trying to figure it out,” Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, told ABC News, adding the film shows Bieber as “a human.”
At one point in the film, director Jon Chu suggests Bieber’s life could become a “train wreck.”
The “retirement” message went out on the night of Christmas Eve and by the following morning had nearly a quarter million retweets and over 185,000 favorites.
Twitter user @theycallmejerry tweeted: “A life without Justin Bieber. A life without my idol, hero, inspiration, my everything. Not the best thing to think about on Christmas Eve.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Twitter user CozImAGuy said, “Justin Bieber retiring is the greatest Christmas gift EVER.”
Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Edith Honan and Jeffrey Benkoe