Pop star singer Britney Spears fell so deep into a drug addicted lifestyle in 2007 that even her own father woke up dreading each day, fearing that it would prove to be his daughter’s last.
Her behavior became so erratic by the following year and she was hospitalized so many times that her parents took legal action to obtain conservatorship over her financial affairs.
Sam Lufti, who claimed to be her manager during those troubled days and fiercely guarded Spears against anyone else’s intervention, ultimately sued Spears as well as her parents, claiming he was still owed a large chunk of her income at the time.
But Spears has not only managed to survive those dark drug-addicted days to make a comeback out the other side, she has also written about her trials and turmoil in a book called “Through the Storm”.
It recounts how her father fought to get both the singer’s health and finances back under control after she lost custody of her children and was even placed on psychiatric hold while hospitalized when officials feared she might commit suicide.
But by 2012, Britney Spears was reported to be the highest grossing female musician, with earnings topping $58 million.
“I think it’s a kind of Judy Garland syndrome,” says Brian May, the former Queen guitarist who worked with and befriended Britney during the making of a Pepsi commercial in 2003.
“They don’t get the chance to grow up, these kids. She’s fabulous. It’s very sad.”
“We are living in a new, very different age of celebrity,” says Professor Cary Cooper, the president of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
“Young celebrities are particularly vulnerable because they often miss out on the critical development phases of their teenage years, and the camaraderie of their peer group – phases of natural development they need to go through,” believes Prof Cooper.
“We take these young kids and turn them into celebrities, and they in turn play to the media because they think it will be good for their careers, while growing up without the coping mechanisms to deal with all the attention.”
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Britney’s dad feared singer would die during 2007 meltdown