Justin Bieber has likened his reputation to that of Indian peace leader Mahatma Gandhi, insisting his bad boy behaviour shocked fans because of his innocent image.
The Baby singer is convinced his fall from grace in recent years was so dramatic because he was portrayed as a sweet boy when he shot to fame in 2009 so the public held him to a "different standard" to other teenagers.
He believes critics would have reacted in the same way if independence leader and civil rights activist Gandhi had gone off the rails, telling NME magazine, "It's because of the way the 'Justin Bieber brand' was portrayed... I was a wholesome pop star who was so amazing who had nice hair and a f**king image that no-one could ever live up to.
"So when all this happened people were like, 'Woah, let's rip him apart'. If you see Gandhi roll up a blunt, it's different to seeing Ryan Gosling roll up a blunt. You wouldn't give Ryan Gosling a hard time."
He also compares himself to late singer Amy Winehouse and how she was portrayed before her death from alcohol poisoning in 2011, at the age of 27.
"I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary on the plane and I had tears in my eyes... People thought it was funny to poke her when she was at rock bottom, to keep pushing her down until she had no more of herself. And that's what they were trying to do to me."
Justin recently told i-D magazine that although his fans are more aware of his shortcomings, he still won't smoke marijuana in public because he does not want to upset them.
"At the end of the day, there are people who don't think that's good, and if they don't feel that's good then I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable," he adds.
"I'm not going to put it in their face. You'll never see me smoking. Because that is not who I am. If it's something I do then it's something I do, but it's not who I am and what I want to put on blast for the world to see."