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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britney Spears made a brief appearance on Monday at the Los Angeles courthouse for a hearing to win back visitation rights to her two children -- but never quite made it inside the courtroom.
Spears arrived hours late for a hearing in her bitter child custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline and was mobbed by photographers as she stepped from a sport utility vehicle outside the downtown Los Angeles courthouse.
But instead of heading into the building where the hearing was under way with Federline in the courtroom, the troubled pop star climbed quickly back in the car and drove off again.
"Move back, I'm scared. Stop it. Stop it. I want to get back in the car. Just stop it. Let me get in the car, please!" Spears shouted at photographers, according to the celebrity Web site TMZ.com
It was the latest in a series of strange episodes involving Spears since she divorced Federline in late 2006. She lost custody of their two sons, 1-year-old Jayden James and 2-year-old Sean Preston, last year.
Earlier this month, police were summoned to Spears' home when she refused to give the two boys to Federline's representatives after a visit and became distraught. The 26-year-old singer was taken away on a stretcher to be hospitalized for two days.
That incident prompted Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon to suspend her visitation rights with the children until Monday's hearing -- which experts considered critical for Spears to attend.
She did not show up for a morning session, and made her brief appearance outside the courthouse after a noon break.
The hearing was closed to the press and public, but Federline, his hair styled into a Mohawk, was seen coming and going.
Spears became a teen pop phenomenon nine years ago, and enjoyed a brief comeback in October with her new single, "Gimme More" and an album, "Blackout," which briefly hit No. 2 on U.S. pop album charts before falling off.
Additional reporting Justin Kroll, editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Doina Chiacu