I had no idea on Thursday — when Kevin Federline sat down with me for an interview — that just five days later, he would be headed toward divorce. It's possible he had no idea, either.
Granted, there's only so much you can get to know about a person during a 40-minute chat (see "K-Fed Explains Why He And Britney Kept Second Baby's Name Under Wraps"). He could be forgiven for acting reserved or suspicious — considering the beating he often takes from the public, the media and, willingly, the WWE — but Kevin acted like he had nothing to hide. He was calm. Relaxed. He looked me straight in the eye and was willing to address any question I asked him, be it something personal or political, even if, by his own admission, he's not a political person.
And when it came to Britney, Kevin talked as if they were still very much a "we" (see "Britney Spears Files For Divorce — It's Official"). "We had a baby." "We didn't make the name up." "It's our private time." In a lot of Kevin's interviews, he shies away from addressing Britney by name — she's "my wife." But he seemed more comfortable using her name, even if it was just to explain that he finally realized he could put out the album he dreamed up once "me and Britney happened."
"I need to let people know that, as a man, I got to provide for my family," he said. "I wouldn't have good peace of mind if I didn't do it."
That's because he has an image as a freeloader, as a bad husband, as a bad father, as an incessant partygoer. When I asked him if it's possible that he's contributing to that image — just watch his video for "Lose Control" — he said it's a battle he can't win.
"We talked about it, trying to change this thing," Kevin said about his reputation. "I don't know if it can be won. Maybe I meet you 50-50 to work out whatever it's going to be? People will never know who I am, and that's cool. That's my private side. But if they always have these thoughts and judgments and hatred, it's a toss-up. You got to give and take. That's why I'm here, and I'm going to start turning my situation around."
Kevin seemed to think Britney got it worse than he did because of people judging her based on her association with him as well as "moments" that she's had — such as driving with Sean Preston in her lap, not in a car seat — that he said were blown out of proportion.
"You don't want to get caught in an awkward moment," he said. "They can take that and blow it out of context, and there you go."
If Federline was not speaking sincerely on Thursday — putting up a smoke screen to distract from a divorce he may or may not have known was coming — he could have a promising career as an actor.