News flash: Britney Spears says she's not pregnant.
Despite being photographed browsing pregnancy tests with her paparazzo boyfriend, Adnan Ghalib, at a Rite Aid on Monday, the singer told photographers and videographers afterward that she wasn't thinking about her own fertility. "I never had a pregnancy test," she answered when asked if she had tested positive. "It was for my friend."
So then the question becomes — which friend? If you were pals with a singer who's trailed everywhere by a flock of photographers, would she be your first choice to send to the drugstore to buy any sort of personal item? Conversely, if you were that famous singer, knowing everyone would assume it was for you, wouldn't you decline to run that errand yourself, and perhaps send an assistant instead? Especially if you're a pop star who just lost custody of your two young children, with a teenage sister already facing a world of scrutiny after announcing she's pregnant as well.
It seems much more reasonable to assume, as many paparazzi agencies already do, that the "friend" Spears is helping out is actually Ghalib, whose photo agency, FinalPixx, had the exclusive. (The agency refers to Ghalib's employment status as "freelance.")
And judging from the volume of calls FinalPixx staffers were juggling on Wednesday, the stunt resulted in a huge influx of new business for the company — including MTV News, which licensed one photo at a rate of $300 for the right to use the shot online. (People.com, which used a shot, and TMZ, which used video footage on air, declined MTV News' request to disclose how much they paid, and FinalPixx declined to discuss how much new business they have received, in either specific or general terms.)
Ghalib's colleagues in the paparazzo world have been skeptical since he first took up with the star.
"When People.com licensed the set-up pix of Britney and Adnan 'shopping' for pregnancy tests, did they fall for Adnan's trick?" X17 blogged.
"Britney Spears has admitted toying with the public," Splash News blogged. "I wonder what Adnan will convince Britney to do next!"
Spears associate Sam Lufti told "Access Hollywood" this week that it was all a game for the couple. "It's all bullsh--," he said. "They're just toying with the paparazzi."