We all thought Christmas had come a week early when news of pop star Justin Bieber’s supposed 'retirement from music' broke on Wednesday.
But it was nothing more than a cruel December fools, as his manager has now confirmed that the "Baby" singer was joking when he made the announcement on a US radio station.
"Um, I'm actually retiring man," Bieber told Power 106 FM radio host Kurt Alexander in Los Angeles. "I'm just gonna take some time. I think I'm probably gonna quit music, I'm quitting everything."
The Twittersphere exploded with the news as Bieber's panic-stricken fanbase - the dedicated 'Beliebers' -posted frantic messages of shock, worry and teenage heartbreak.
Now, the full interview has been released, with the pop star revealing that he was "messing around".
Speculation that Bieber's comment was a practical joke had been rife when no official statement or comment appeared on his website or Twitter after the interview.
But the singer's manager Scooter Braun has since confirmed that his artist was "just kidding". "Next year he's taking a break just to make music and relax, take some time for himself for the first time since he was 12," he told ITN at the premiere for his new movie Believe.
Bieber hit international stardom when Braun scouted him through YouTube videos in 2007.
The singer has now amassed more than 47 million followers in Twitter, making him one of the most-followed musicians in the world.
Justin Bieber's biggest controversies and mishaps
Justin Bieber's biggest controversies and mishaps
1/17 Biebs gets arrested for DUI and drag racing
The singer appeared dishevelled, but in high spirits, as he smiled for his police mugshot following the arrest for drag racing under the influence of alcohol and drugs
2/17 Biebs assaults a limo driver
Fresh from his arrest in the US, Biebs headed back to his native Canada where he proceeded to get arrested and charged again... this time for assaulting a limo driver
3/17 Biebs lashes out at a photographer
When in London on tour in March, Bieber attacked the paparazzi in an angry rage and tried to grab one photographer's camera. 'I'll f***ing beat the f*** out of you,' he said, before being forced into a car by his bodyguard. Nice.
4/17 Biebs claims Anne Frank was a Belieber
This wildly inappropriate blunder took place in April, in the unlikely setting of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. After touring the museum for an hour, Bieber wrote in the guestbook that he hoped the Jewish teenager (who died in 1945 at Bergen-Belsen aged 15 from typhus and malnutrition after hiding from the Nazis with her family for two years) 'would have been a Belieber' - a fan of his.
5/17 Biebs gets done for drugs
The 'Boyfriend' singer was detained at Brisbane airport in Australia in May after customs officials found weed on one of Justin's friends. Bieber was released after a stern warning for 'inappropriate language'. Wash your mouth out Biebs.
6/17 Biebs brawls in Southampton
Who do you think he is? Bieber was reportedly involved in a fight at a Southampton nightclub last spring after taking over the VIP section. His bodyguards were investigated for using heavy-handed tactics to detour fans trying to reach him.
7/17 Biebs tries and fails to own a pet monkey
Justin Bieber's former pet monkey Mally was moved from quarantine into a German zoo in June after the six-month-old capuchin was seized by customs officials. Bieber was given several weeks to produce the health papers required to get him back, but failed to do so. Auf wiedersehen, pet.
8/17 Biebs spits on fans
The singer was accused of spitting on a crowd of adoring fans gathered under his hotel room balcony in Toronto. The July incident was brushed aside by Bieber, however, who denied doing anything so horrible. His representative said that the star had in fact bought fans hot chocolate and played them some new music instead.
9/17 Biebs splits from Selena Gomez
After a three year on-off relationship with Disney star Selena, teenage heartthrob Bieber has officially been back on the singletons market since July. 'Egos turn me off big time,' Selena said when asked about the split. Awkward.
10/17 Biebs hits the brothel
Bieber was filmed by a Brazilian girl in bed after a supposed brothel scandal in the summer. He was then pictured trying to leave, draped in a white sheet and surrounded by male minders. The singer allegedly did the same thing again in Rio de Janeiro in November.
11/17 Biebs pretends to have been cast in a blockbuster
In September, the pop star posted an Instagram picture of the script for the new Batman movie. Watermarked with his name, rumours that he could be the Robin to Ben Affleck's lead began to fly. Bieber has previously expressed his love of the superhero, going as far as having a custom-built Batmobile made for him. Fear not though, Biebs will be nowhere near the film set.
12/17 Biebs wees in a bucket
When a Bieber's got to go, a Bieber's got to go. The singer urinated in a restaurant mop bucket while laughing when in New York in October. He yelled 'F*** Bill Clinton' too, as apparently he has political views.
13/17 Biebs vandalises Australia
The singer was asked to clean up graffiti he spray-painted while on tour in Australia last November. He painted some images of cartoon characters onto a Gold Coast hotel wall,to the disgust of the local mayor. Bieber was visiting the famous beach strip following his 'Believe' world tour shows in Brisbane.
14/17 Biebs takes a paternity test
A lady called Mariah Yeater claimed that Bieber had fathered her 3-month-old son Trystan after a backstage tryst. She later dropped a paternity suit but the singer took a test in November to prove the allegations were false.
15/17 Biebs hit by a bottle in Brazil
Also in November, the Canadian pop star was struck by a bottle and stormed off stage in Brazil. Bieber upset hundreds of devoted fans when he did not return to sing his hit track 'Baby'. Teenagers were left waiting 30 minutes for the 19-year-old's return, but had to leave when his entourage started packing the equipment away.
16/17 Biebs leaves the stage early again
The singer left a performance in Buenos Aires early again, soon after he stormed off in Brazil. This time, he blamed food poisoning for his premature exit, offering an olive branch of evidence in the form of a selfie posted on Twitter showing him lying in a hospital bed hooked up to an intravenous drip.
17/17 Biebs gets shunned by Aussie fans
Twitter followers mean little when you can't shift tickets down-under. Biebs found this out the hard way when he was forced to sell many tickets for his eight-show Australian tour for half their original price. Haters gonna hate Biebs, America still loves you.
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