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Britney Spears Is Finally Sober. So Why Does She Seem So Sad?

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Acting out is no longer consistent with Britney's billion-dollar brand.

By Sam Lansky

06/08/11

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(page 3)

Later, we piled into the dorm room of a boy down the hall. I sat in a swiveling desk chair while he ran the buzzing electric clippers across my head.

“I think it’s such a bold style statement. So many people just don’t have the skull shape to pull that off. Sam—you’re, like, the Natalie Portman of Vassar,” Aurelia said.

I ran my hands across my scalp. It felt soft, new. Three days later, I checked myself into Cottonwood de Tucson, an inpatient clinic in Arizona. I stayed for 33 days.

Three months later, to the day, Britney Spears shaved her head—and three days after that, she checked herself into Crossroads, an inpatient clinic in Antigua. But Britney only lasted one night before checking herself out against medical advice and returning to Los Angeles to wreak more havoc on hordes of scandal-happy paparazzi. 

Newly sober, I was referred to a halfway house in Newport Beach, California. There, I met a girl named Ella, an ebullient blonde perpetually clad in a Juicy Couture tracksuit. We baked in the sun all day and spent the evenings cruising up and down the PCH chain-smoking, guzzling energy drinks, and blasting Britney from the windows of Ella’s sedan. Britney could occasionally be seen at 12-step meetings in Hollywood, we heard, then Malibu. We buzzed with anticipation. All we had to do was find the right meeting and we could become best friends with Britney.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted,” Ella gasped. “To be pictured in the tabloids with Britney fucking Spears. Can you imagine the caption? ‘Britney Spears, lunching at Joan’s on Third with unidentified friend.’” She mock-swooned. “It’s my dream come true.”

But Britney was never in attendance at any of the meetings we attended.

In Newport Beach, Ella briefly dated a guy named Matt, a handsome, rangy hipster. A few months after they broke up, I was watching entertainment news when a familiar face flashed across the screen. I rewound the news and paused it at the image. It was the cover of that week’s Us Weekly. Matt was on the cover, pictured in a swimming pool next to Britney, under the headline, “My Twisted Night with Brit.” I read the text below. “Topless, drunk, and lonely, Spears seduces a college student in a hotel pool.” Matt had been an extra in Britney’s latest video shoot, leading to a brief and (clearly) ill-fated dalliance; he had taken his story, replete with half-nude candids of Britney, straight to the tabloids. I called Ella.

“You know what this means, right?” she said. “I basically had sex with Britney fucking Spears.”

“You basically did. And since I had sex with Andy who had sex with Blaine who had sex with you before he relapsed on meth and had sex with everyone, and you had sex with Matt who had sex with Britney, I’ve also basically had sex with Britney fucking Spears.” I paused. “Although I guess following that same logic, we’ve basically had sex with each other, which is gross.”

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