Sunday, October 7, 2007
2002–2004 In early 2002, Spears's four-year relationship with Justin Timberlake ended. Speculation that Spears had been unfaithful began circulating due to Timberlake's 2002 song "Cry Me a River" and its subsequent music video. The song's music video showed an actress playing what could be construed as a Spears look-alike with certain physical features resembling Spears. Timberlake has denied that it was meant to portray Spears. June 2002 saw the opening of Spears's restaurant Nyla in New York City, serving Louisianan and Italian styled cuisine. However, she was pulled out of the business venture in November as a result of debts and management issues. Spears married childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander on January 3 2004 at The Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. The marriage lasted fifty-five hours, ending with an annulment granted on January 5, which stated that Spears "lacked understanding of her actions to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to marriage because before entering into the marriage the Plaintiff and Defendant did not know each others' likes and dislikes, each others' desires to have or not have children, and each other's desires as to State of residency." Months after the Las Vegas incident, Spears embarked on The Onyx Hotel Tour which was cancelled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single "Outrageous". An MRI showed floating cartilage in her knee. Spears reportedly became involved in the Kabbalah Centre in September 2004 through her friendship with Madonna. However, she publicly left the religion in 2006, stating on her website, "I no longer study Kaballah, my baby is my religion." 2004–2006: Marriage, children and divorce Spears began a relationship with Kevin Federline and in July 2004, announced her engagement three months after they met. Federline had very recently been in a relationship with actress Shar Jackson, who was eight months pregnant with his second child. These initial stages were chronicled in Spears's first reality show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic, which aired on UPN in May and June 2005. On the night of September 18 2004, Spears married Federline in a surprise, non-denominational ceremony at a residence in Studio City, California, filing legal papers on October 6 2004. After the marriage, Spears announced via her website that she would be taking another career break to start a family. She stood by her intent of starting a family; announced her pregnancy seven months after the marriage writing, "the time has finally come to share our wonderful news that we are expecting our first child together." Spears gave birth to her first child, Sean Preston Federline, on September 14 2005 in Santa Monica, California by a scheduled caesarean section. A few months after giving birth to Sean, speculation emerged about Spears being pregnant for a second time. In May 2006, she announced her second pregnancy with an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Spears appeared on Dateline NBC the next month to discuss tabloid rumors about an impending divorce, and motherhood. She addressed an incident which occurred in February 2006 when photos revealed her driving with her son unrestrained in her lap, explaining, "I see a bunch of photographers and I’m scared and I want to get out of the situation... They’re coming up on the sides of the car which is a scary situation for me... so I get my baby out of the car and I go home." The month following the televised interview, Spears posed nude for the August 2006 cover of Harper's Bazaar. In the accompanying interview, Spears stated that she is not ready to retire from performing. Just two days shy of Sean's first birthday, Spears gave birth to her second son Jayden James Federline on September 12 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Spears filed for divorce from Federline November 7 2006 citing irreconcilable differences and asking for both physical and legal custody of their two children, with visitation rights for Federline. The following day, Federline filed a response to Spears's divorce petition, seeking physical and legal custody of their children. Laura Wasser was hired to represent Spears in the case. However, on September 17, 2007 Wasser announced that she would no longer be working for Spears and instead, Spears is now represented by both Melvin Goldsman and Marci Levine. According to a representative for Federline's lawyer, the divorce filing "caught Kevin totally by surprise". On March 29 2007, Spears and Federline reached a settlement, "All parties signed a global settlement agreement on all issues concerning their marriage and custody of their two children," said Michael Sands, a spokesperson for Federline's lawyer. Although divorce seemed imminent, it was not finalized because the papers were never signed by a judge. On July 30 2007, their marriage was officially over. Spears's attorney stated, "They are divorced. Everything is finalized." 2007: Personal struggles In January 2007, Spears's aunt, Sandra Bridges Covington, with whom she had been very close, died after a long illness with breast cancer. On February 16, 2007, Spears stayed in an off-shore drug rehabilitation facility in Antigua for less than twenty-four hours. The following night, Spears went to a haircutting studio in Tarzana, California and shaved her hair off with clippers. A few days later, on February 20, 2007, Spears admitted herself to a treatment facility in Malibu, California. She left the facility briefly but returned on February 22, 2007. The previous day, Kevin Federline had requested an emergency hearing regarding the custody of his children with Spears but his attorney announced that his client asked to cancel the court appearance. No further explanation was given. Spears left the rehabilitation center on March 20 according to her manager, who said she was released after "successfully completing their program". Throughout early 2007, Spears embarked on a series of controversial behavior, including attacking a photographer with an umbrella. As the legal battle over the custody of Spears's children continued, many members of her entourage have been subpoenaed to testify about her parenting skills. In September 2007, the official findings in Spears' custody battle were announced by the court. "Based on the evidence presented, the Court finds that there is a habitual, frequent, and continuous use of controlled substances by Petitioner Spears." She was ordered to undergo random drug and alcohol testings conducted by the court, and also ordered to attend parenting counseling. Spears and Federline continue to share joint custody of their two children on a conditional basis. A few days later, Spears was officially charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run and driving without a license. If convicted, she could face a year in jail. On October 1, 2007, Spears lost physical custody of her children to her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon ruled that Federline will take custody of the children on October 3, 2007, "until further order of the court."