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CNN reported yesterday that Kevin Federline, nee Mr. Britney Spears, planned on attending an emergency hearing today after learning that his former wife had left rehab for a second time after a brief 24 hour period, following months of bizarre behavior. While it is not known what issues were to be discussed, suspicions were that the backup dancer wanted to revisit the custody of sons Jayden James, 5-months-old, and Sean Preston, 17-months-old, which he and Spears are sharing until the end of this month.

However, TMZ.com reports that Britney has reported back to rehab and this time she has an ultimatum from Kevin: Get the help you need or I will file for full custody of the children. As a result, Kevin agreed to cancel today’s emergency hearing.

More importantly, her mother, with whom she’s had a strained relationship since her marriage to Federline, has reemerged. EXTRA reports that Mrs. Spears drove her daughter back to the Promises rehab facility, which led me to recall the “Wall of Britney” a co-worker and I had started many years ago. When Brit-Brit first came on the scene, she was cute, shiny and a real pop-cultural icon. We though Britney was brilliant in her seductive schmaltziness. But every once in a while we would question her sartorial selections by asking, “Where was her mother?” As in, how could she let her leave the house like that?

Unfortunately, that question was soon applicable to the popstress’ life choices: My co-worker puts the pivotal moment at the nearly-nude Esquire magazine photo shoot; I place it sometime around the opening of NYLA, her lambasted Manhattan restaurant.

And while it’s true that Britney is legally an adult, and her mother can’t force her to do anything, it’s also true that she is in the classic sense a little girl lost–that she needs to develop an identity and learn to love herself as much as we did. Right after they got married, Bit and K-Fed were voted by Beliefnet readers as the celebrity couple most in need of spiritual help. “If you asked me,” I quipped, “this marriage isn’t about spirituality, it’s about sperm.”

“What we have here is the making of a classic Ricki Lake episode. You know the ones, where a teen girl says she wants to have a baby because she wants something to love her? It happens to child stars all the time, they have the adoration of millions of fans, but crave real love, at least according to all those VH1 specials.”

It’s heart-breaking that I was seemingly so right and that Britney, who seemed to defy child star status, has become such a stereotype–turning to drugs and alcohol, behaving inappropriately and wondering why men she dates for five minutes don’t love her enough and then betray her confidences to the tabloids. Even more tragic is the fact that Federline, whom tabloids lambasted for two years for going out and partying while Britney stayed home with the babies, is now being heralded by the same publications as father of the year.

This is not to say that Federline isn’t and wasn’t a good father, I am not intimately familiar with the situation and can’t make a true judgement, although US weekly did a fairly good job of convincing me that he was quite a cad. However, Britney’s downfall has provided a dramatically delightful redemption story for the failed rapper; he’s even rubbing elbows, albeit briefly, with A-lister and former Britney flame, Justin Timberlake. No wonder Britney shaved her hair off; it saved her from pulling it all out!

Let’s hope that the third time is the charm for Spears and she can reinvent herself, a la her idol, Madonna. Maybe minus the mysticism.

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