Britney Spears' Ex, Who She Met In AA, Killed By Taliban

By McCarton Ackerman 02/24/15

John Sundahl was killed at the end of January when his helicopter was shot down.

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One of the men who helped Britney Spears get sober during her very public meltdown in 2007 was tragically killed last month by the Taliban.

John Sundahl, 44, was flying a plane near his station in Kabul, Afghanistan, when a missile sent by the Taliban hit his helicopter. Spears has reportedly been devastated by his death because they had remained close friends for years, despite their romantic relationship only lasting just a few months. The pair met at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in 2007 and began dating shortly after.

“I told her: ‘If you fall off the wagon, I don’t think you’ll live,’” said Sundahl to the National Enquirer in 2007. “If you don’t want to get sober, do it for your kids. She truly wants to stop doing what she’s doing and she has changed her life in another direction. She doesn’t get drunk every night and pass out.”

Sundahl was referring to a judge’s ruling in 2007 that Spears undergo random twice-weekly random drug testing and also get a parenting coach in order to not lose custody of her children. The judge also referred to Spears as “a habitual, frequent and continuous users of controlled substances and alcohol.”

However, some people at the time raised eyebrows at Sundahl’s breaking of AA’s anonymity to speak to tabloids about their love life and how Spears was still a “practicing alcoholic.”

But it seems that Sundahl’s advice positively affected Spears since she has been working hard to stay healthy and sober for years. She reportedly instituted a “booze ban” during her time as a judge on The X Factor in 2012, forbidding any alcohol to be present backstage while she was on the set. Her 2011 Femme Fatale tour with Nicki Minaj also forbade drugs and alcohol at any point during the tour, which Minaj was in full support of and called “a great thing.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.