If anyone is the comeback kid of 2008, it's [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist]. That's pretty amazing, considering the fact that in just the first week of the year, she was placed in a hospital for psychiatric observation and lost custody of her two young sons. But over the course of the past 12 months, she seems to have recuperated her losses. She got back to work, showed off her comedic chops on TV, hit the recording and dance studios, won some VMAs, made a tell-all documentary and had a #1 single and album.
Here's a look back at the moments — from awful lows to victorious highs — that made up the year in Britney:
On January 3, Britney refused to turn her sons over to Kevin Federline's bodyguards and reportedly locked herself in a bathroom with Jayden James. Police, fire trucks and helicopters arrived at the scene, and the pop singer was taken to Cedars-Sinai, where she was held for mental evaluation. Spears wasn't charged with any criminal wrongdoing and was released from the hospital two days later.
Following Britney's first hospitalization, Federline gained sole custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James, and Britney's visitation with her sons was temporarily suspended.
In January 2008, the best way to describe Britney was as a "beleaguered pop star." She was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center after being physically removed from her home by authorities, only weeks after her first hospitalization. Both her parents were by her side, as well as constant companion and "manager" Sam Lutfi. She was released a week later.
Aside from [artist id="1231683"]Justin Timberlake[/artist], Britney has always had questionable taste in men. From Jason Alexander to Federline, Spears has always opted to have unfamous clingers-on by her side. And in 2008, that included paparazzo Adnan Ghalib and Lutfi, who managed to take control of the pop star's life and push away those closest to her in a very short time. With the help of her parents (and their lawyers), who filed a restraining order against Lutfi while Brit was in the hospital, she ultimately got rid of these questionable influences.
In 2008, Britney had a lot of dates with her lawyers. She was in court to regain custody of her kids (eventually getting her visiting rights restored), she was in court for her driving violations, and she was in court when her dad, Jamie Spears, took over control of her affairs in February. This court order may have taken away her right to make her own decisions, but it gave her the stability and structure she seemed to need.
In a March episode of the CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother," Britney showed everyone that she's up for making you laugh, intentionally, playing Abby the love-struck dermatologist's receptionist. She did so well, in fact, that she was asked to return for another episode, and some wondered if perhaps comedy could be a new career option for the "Mickey Mouse Club" alum.
"How I Met Your Mother" proved she could be funny, so even skeptics were interested when she teamed up with VMA host Russell Brand for a promo spot. Ignoring the literal elephant in the room, the "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" star flirted with Brit relentlessly. And when Brand suggested there was some sexual tension between them, Britney won back our hearts and confidence by quipping dryly, "I didn't feel any tension."
With nearly a decade of VMA nominations and performances under her belt, Britney finally earned herself not one, but three Moonmen in 2008, including Video of the Year for "Piece of Me." Erasing the image of her 2007 VMA appearance, Brit glammed it up and giggled her way to victory at MTV's big show, which included a funny little opening skit with "Superbad" star Jonah Hill.
In her very personal MTV documentary, Brit talked in great length about her breakups with Federline and Timberlake, discussed being a mom and how important her two sons are and opened up about her very public breakdowns. It also showed everyone the steps Britney was taking to making her big, splashy comeback with her new album, Circus.
On the heels of the less-than-stellar success of Blackout, Britney headed to the Circus and released her sixth studio album on December 2, her 27th birthday. The album and its first single, "Womanizer," have become smash hits. With first-week album sales of over 500,000 copies, the once-disgraced pop princess has managed to finish 2008 with a triumphant bang. And judging by ticket sales for her tour, 2009 might not be too shabby either.