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Video: Spears’ spokesperson rips Dr. Phil

TODAY contributor
updated 1/9/2008 10:24:04 AM ET 2008-01-09T15:24:04

Television talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw violated the trust of Britney Spears’ parents by making public statements about his hospital visit with the troubled pop star after a standoff with police last week, a family spokesperson said in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

“This is another example of a trust being betrayed,” Lou Taylor, the spokesperson, told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira. Rather than helping the family’s situation, the celebrity psychologist caused additional damage, she said.

“I think it’s been compromised, because it’s a measure of trust,” she said of the relationship between Britney Spears and her parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears.

“Here’s Britney, who needs to have some security somewhere, that every single thing she does and every person she has a relationship with doesn’t become another opportunity for her to be exploited. When do you ever rest if you’re constantly in fear of being exploited?” Taylor said.

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Late last Thursday night, police were called to the singer’s Los Angeles home, where she reportedly was acting hysterically in the presence of her two young sons. After a standoff that ended early Friday morning, Spears was transported to Cedars-Sinai hospital strapped to a gurney.

She was initially to stay in the hospital under observation for three days, but left the next day.

The star’s parents have had a relationship with McGraw and his wife, Robin. Taylor said that Lynne Spears did ask Robin if the psychologist could visit Spears in the hospital as a private favor.

McGraw arrived as Spears was packing to leave. He says he walked her out of the hospital, and issued a press release about the visit:

“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 … I am very concerned for her."

McGraw also said he would devote one of his television shows to the Spears family. That plan was torpedoed by the family, who felt that he had gone way beyond what he was asked to do and was exploiting them and their daughter to further a television career that got started after numerous guest appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

“What’s wrong with Dr. Phil’s statement is that he made a statement,” said Taylor, who is the business manager for Jamie and Lynne Spears and also for their other daughter, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears.

“The family basically extended an invitation of trust as a resource to support them, not to make a public statement. Any public statements he made, because he was brought in under this cloak of trust, are just inappropriate,” Taylor said.

Dr. Phil has no regrets
McGraw has been defiant, telling “Entertainment Tonight,” “Somebody needs to step up and provide a vector to get this young woman into some quality care … I do not apologize one whit, not one second.”

Taylor said the Spears do not need Dr. Phil to tell them their daughter has problems. Since her divorce last year from her then-husband, Kevin Federline, her life has been spiraling out of control.

Slideshow: The Spears years

A stay in rehab had no apparent affect, and last October she lost custody of her two young sons to Federline. After her meltdown last week, she lost all visitation rights and faces another court hearing on that issue next week.

The Spears family is also coping with the admission by Jamie Lynn, who has a TV show of her own, that she is pregnant. In addition, Lynne Spears lost her sister to cancer a year ago this month.

And now, Taylor said, Dr. Phil has delivered another blow.

“I felt it was inappropriate for him to be self-serving,” she told Vieira. “I felt for Jamie and Lynne that this was a time they were taken advantage of. They are people who love their daughter and know what’s going on and want that support.”

The tabloid media have been very critical of Jamie and Lynne Spears, whom Taylor said are not anything like they are portrayed.

“People just do not know the Spears family,” she said. “Every day, Jamie goes to work as a professional chef, asking the Lord to give him strength to honor the people he works for in the midst of this. Lynne Spears is a mother who’s brokenhearted just because she’s apart from her daughter, who loves her daughter so much, and again, asking every day for God to give her strength, and to continue to have hope.”

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