January 9, 2008 / 9:33 PM / 10 years ago

Spears family says Dr. Phil betrayed their trust

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The parents of Britney Spears on Wednesday accused popular television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw of betraying their trust by publicizing his visit to the troubled pop star while she was hospitalized last week.

As her parents spoke out, reports swirled that Spears’ latest boyfriend -- a paparazzi -- was trying to sell semi-nude pictures of the singer.

A spokeswoman for the Spears family told NBC’s “Today” show the star’s parents had asked McGraw to visit her in a hospital last week as a private favor when she was admitted after refusing, in a fit of hysterics, to hand back her two children to ex-husband Kevin Federline.

“The family basically extended an invitation of trust as a resource to support them, not to make a public statement,” Lou Taylor, the business manager for Lynne and Jamie Spears, told “Today” in an interview.

McGraw issued a statement Saturday saying Spears, 26, was “in dire need of medical and psychological intervention.” He later scrapped plans for a special on “The Dr. Phil Show” about Spears and her problems after criticism from other counselors.

TV therapist Dr. Phil McGraw (L) and his wife Robin host the television taping of "Christmas in Washington" at the National Building Museum Washington, December 9, 2007. The parents of Britney Spears on Wednesday accused Dr. Phil of betraying their trust by publicizing his visit to the troubled pop star while she was hospitalized last week. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Spears spent almost two days in a Los Angeles hospital after being taken from her home on a stretcher after a standoff with police. News reports said she locked herself in a bathroom and became hysterical when Federline’s representatives came to pick up their two young sons after a visit.

Spears’ life has careened out of control since she divorced Federline in 2006. She lost custody of the boys last year.

McGraw has remained defiant. “Somebody needs to step up and provide a vector to get this young woman into some quality care,” he told celebrity TV show Entertainment Tonight.

It is not known what treatment Spears received while in the hospital but her aunt, Chanda McGovern, told Us Weekly this week: “She needs to be on suicide watch.”

Us Weekly and other celebrity Web sites say Spears has been spending time the last two weeks with photographer Adnan Ghalib -- one of many paparazzi who trail her night and day.

Various news reports say Ghalib is trying to shop photos of a partially nude Spears to the tabloid media.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Todd Eastham

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