Unlike Britney Spears' previous custody hearings, the embattled pop star's arrival Tuesday morning (May 6) at the Los Angeles County courthouse was punctual, and without much of the usual ballyhoo.
There were no adoring fans wielding signs of support, and as her white Land Rover sped into the adjoining parking garage, the paparazzi that have built a career of mobbing her failed to give chase. Spears arrived wearing a brown polka-dot dress, with a small sweater over the top, according to The Associated Press. At her side were her parents and one of her lawyers, Blair Berk. Meanwhile, Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline arrived on time, in a cream-colored suit.
Tuesday's proceedings got under way shortly after 9:30 a.m., after reporters were asked to leave the courtroom, following the granting of a motion to close the court. The purpose of the hearing was to provide the court with a progress review, during which an assessment of a psychiatrist's evaluation of Spears was expected, along with a discussion of the couple's current custody arrangement.
Before the court was closed, Commissioner Scott Gordon swore all of the parties involved in, by asking them to raise their right hands and state their names. Spears simply stated her name as "Britney," at which point Gordon said he'd need "her full name." She then complied, saying, "Britney Spears."
Gordon could adjust the couple's visitation agreement, a decision he'd be asked to base on Spears' recent conduct. However, he is not expected to make any changes to the mandate, a source close to the proceedings told AP.
About an hour into the hearing, Gordon took a quick recess, during which Spears was seen outside of the court room, visibly upset, her eyes watery. While she wasn't crying in the hallway, it appears as though she may have been crying inside the court. Several minutes later, Spears emerged again, holding Berk's hand and appearing as if she had been sobbing. Gordon called for a break around 11:40, so that he could hear other cases.
Spears has been under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie, since her release from UCLA Medical Center back on February 6. Spears was involuntarily committed to the facility, so she could be treated for bipolar disorder, and was released after only a week.
Federline has had sole legal and physical custody of the couple's two sons, 2-year-old Sean Preston and 1-year-old Jayden James, since January 3, the night Spears was hospitalized after refusing to turn the children over to her ex. After failing to regain custody twice, Spears was granted restricted, monitored visitation in late February, and visited her sons February 23 for about three hours.
Since her last court appearance, Spears has seemingly turned her troubled image around, keeping a relatively low profile and even landing some well-received acting gigs. She is set to reprise her role as Abby the receptionist on CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" on May 12. Several have attributed the shift in Spears' behavior to her parents, who've taken a more active role in the singer's life in recent months.