Oct 2, 2007

The Saga Continues: Britney Spears Losses Children To K-Fed

The decline of Britney Spears from a pop megastar to tabloid punchline continued last night when a judge awarded custody of the singer’s two children to her former husband, the failed rapper Kevin "K-Fed" Federline.

The decision by Judge Scott Gordon was made after a hearing two weeks ago, during which he noted allegations that Britney was engaging in “habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol”. He also ordered her to undergo random drug tests.

Her loss of custody follows allegations by one of her former bodyguards that she used drugs in front of her children and walked around naked in front of domestic staff. Britney, 25, is worth an estimated $100 million (£50 million) and she owns homes in Malibu and Orlando and a forest in Louisiana.

The decision to grant custody of Ms Spears’ children to Mr Federline, 29, is likely to be controversial. Mr Federline, a former back-up dancer for Michael Jackson and the female singer Pink, was criticised widely when he left his previous girlfriend, with whom he had two children, to marry Ms Spears. He received a text message from Ms Spears confirming their divorce while he was in the middle of a televised interview.

It is thought that his case for custody was helped by testimony from a former bodyguard for Ms Spears, Tony Barretto, who claims that he was dismissed after failing to pick up the singer’s hat when told. Through a lawyer, Ms Spears said that he was a disgruntled former employee.

The judge in the custody case has ordered Ms Spears to see a therapist at least once a week and has required her to hire a “parenting coach” as well as to sign up, with her former husband, to a Los Angeles programme entitled Parenting Without Conflict.

Ms Spears’ first album in four years is set for release next month.

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