Britney Back In Rehab Yet Again

Singer returns to facility 15 hours after leaving; child-custody hearing delayed.

On Wednesday evening, Britney Spears re-entered the same rehab facility she had left approximately 15 hours earlier.

A source close to the situation told MTV News that the singer left the Promises Residential Treatment Center in Malibu, California, at 8 a.m. PT on Wednesday, and returned by 10:30 p.m. PT, after being driven to the facility by her mother.

After Spears left the treatment center on Wednesday morning — the second time she’d left rehab in a week (see “Britney Spears Leaves Rehab; Federline Requests Emergency Hearing” ) — she went to the Beverly Hills offices of attorneys Tarlow & Berk (who recently represented Mel Gibson). She then drove to the beach (in an effort to lose the photographers who were following her), then to the Bel Air Hotel, and then to Kevin Federline’s residence, where she tried to ring her estranged husband and got no response, according to an X17 photographer. That photographer bore the brunt of her frustration, as she struck him and his car with an umbrella while yelling at him, causing minor bruises and minor damage to the car. Spears’ mother, Lynn, picked Britney up, took her home and then drove her to the front gates of Promises.

Federline had requested an emergency family court hearing to discuss their custody squabble, but it was called off abruptly on Thursday (February 22) after he and his attorney missed the deadline to file the necessary papers. A temporary custody order granting Spears and Federline joint custody of their two children through January was recently extended.

A source close to the situation told MTV News that 17-month-old Sean Preston and 5-month-old Jayden James are “fine” and “don’t even know what’s going on,” and Federline is continuing his visitation schedule as usual. Meanwhile, Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph, assured People magazine that “the kids are being well taken care of,” while Federline’s rep assured MTV News that “Kevin remains a very focused father.” Exactly who is looking after the children was not clear at press time.

Last week, Spears briefly visited the Crossroads Centre, a treatment facility on the Caribbean island of Antigua, only to leave less than a day later. Early this week, her family and manager intervened, and announced on Tuesday that Spears had voluntarily entered rehab (see “Britney Spears Checks Into Rehab” ). Spears checked out of the facility the next day.

After returning from her first trip to rehab, Spears made a shocking public appearance Friday night, debuting her newly shaved head at a tattoo shop in Sherman Oaks, California (see “Britney Spears Shaves Head, Gets Tattoo” ).

Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, told Fox News on Thursday that his daughter is “a sick little girl … we’re just trying to take care of her.” He added that Britney’s problems are “not about what other people think,” and that he and her mother are “concerned about our daughter.”

“What’s interesting to me is that most people think Britney finally hit rock bottom,” former Britney fan site webmaster Ruben Garay said on Thursday. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. Unfortunately, it will only get worse, because up to this point, she has had her kids within her reach. The possibility of losing custody of her children will truly show us how bad things could get.”

“Based on Spears’ very public behavior, the best interest of the children indicates that someone other than she should have custody,” said divorce attorney Seymour Reisman, a partner in the New York firm of Reisman, Peirez and Reisman. “As the natural parent, Federline would have first dibs if he’s ‘clean.’ ”

Spears’ erstwhile party pal Paris Hilton, en route to Puerto Rico, told paparazzi at the airport that she wishes Spears “the best.”

[This story was originally published at 12:09 p.m. ET on 02.22.2007]