'You know the reason': Justin Bieber denies he quit tour for 'religious reasons'

Pop megastar Justin Bieber appears to have denied suggestions that he quit his third world tour in order to start a church.

Reuters/Mario AnzuoniJustin Bieber performs a medley of songs at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 22, 2016.

When asked by TMZ if he had quit the worldwide Purpose tour because of 'religious reasons', a puzzled Bieber responded: 'No...you already know the reason.' The 23-year-old was quizzed as he casually sought sushi in Beverly Hills, LA on Tuesday.

Reports broke out yesterday that Bieber had quit his tour because he planned to start a church. A 'world exclusive' from Australia's Today Extra reported that 'I am led to believe that the real reason he's come off the road is because he wants to reconnect with his faith and maybe even planning to start his own Church,' according to The New Zealand Herald.

They added: 'Whether he's looking at teaming up with [Hillsong] ... or starting his own church, we're not quite sure ... That's the word from an inside source.'

Sources close to Hillsong told TMZ that Bieber dropped the tour because he had now 'rededicated his life to Christ'.

Bieber is well established with Hillsong, is close with its megachurch pastor Carl Lenz, and has made frequent references to his Christian faith in recent months. However, his response that 'you already know the reason' suggests his reason is, as he has implied on social media, needing rest and relaxation after a year and a half of relentless performance.

The original statement on the tour cancellation read: '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. He thanks his fans for the incredible experience of the Purpose World Tour over last 18 months.

'He is grateful and honoured 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.'