Britney Spears was already packing to leave Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles on Saturday morning when she got a visit from a family friend — psychologist and television personality Dr. Phil McGraw.
McGraw (a.k.a. Dr. Phil) was at the hospital at the behest of the singer’s family members, a rep for his television show confirmed to MTV News. The therapist visited with Spears in her hospital room, with family members present. The rep also confirmed to MTV News on Sunday (January 6) that Dr. Phil’s show airing Tuesday will be about Britney, but did not comment on whether she or any of her family members will be appearing on it.
A report posted on TMZ early Sunday cited unnamed sources as saying that Britney responded coolly to McGraw’s visit — initially leaving the room when he arrived and saying little to him when she returned — and that she had been unaware that he was coming.
McGraw released the following statement to ETonline.com Saturday: “My meeting with Britney and some of her family members this morning in her room at Cedars leaves me convinced more than ever that she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention. She was released moments before my arrival and was packing when I entered the room. We visited for about an hour before I walked with her to her car. I am very concerned for her.”
Spears had already arranged her release from Cedars-Sinai before his arrival, though a spokesperson for the hospital declined to discuss the circumstances, citing patient confidentiality.
“Unfortunately, I can’t,” said Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman Simi Singer, explaining that even a patient’s admission or release from the hospital is considered privileged information. “In certain situations, patients don’t even get registered under their own names, though I’m not saying that’s what happened here.”
Spears had been admitted against her will early Friday morning with a “5150” hold — under which an individual may be held for observation against their will for 72 hours — but doctors evidently believe she no longer presents a danger to herself or others. The admission followed a child-custody dispute Thursday evening, in which she barricaded herself inside a room of her home with one of her children; at the time she was legally obligated to hand off her sons to her ex-husband Kevin Federline.
Reports have speculated that it was either the court-appointed monitor or Spears’ former assistant, Alli Sims, who called the police after trying unsuccessfully to get the singer out of the room, but Sims told Usmagazine.com that she wasn’t at the scene. “I absolutely was not there,” she said. “And even if I was there, I would not have banged down the door with a hammer. That’s not my style. I would have knocked!”
Sims, Spears associate Sam Lufti, and several Spears family members were spotted by photographers and videographers making visits to see the singer at Cedars-Sinai before she was released Saturday morning. When asked how Spears was doing, Lufti told E! News, “She is doing a lot better than Thursday night.”
On Friday, while Spears was hospitalized, she temporarily lost visitation rights to see her two young sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, with Federline temporarily gaining sole legal and physical custody of the children. The matter is to be discussed at a hearing in family court on January 14.
[This story was originally published at 2 pm E.T. on 1.05.08]