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Britney Spears

Blender Strikes First!


No, she didn’t pose for that.

That shiz is Photoshopped!

Both Blender magazine and Rolling Stone had Britney covers planned, but Blender was the first to hit newsstands.

We hear the Rolling Stone Brit issue won’t hit newsstands for at least another week.

And, has an exclusive preview of the Blender cover story.

Pay special note to the passages about Osama Lutfi, Spears’ new “manager.”

Enjoy it below!

“Britney Spears has lost her kids, her fans, her underwear and her mind,” reads the strikingly honest cover line on the March issue of Blender magazine, on sale nationwide February 12. The cover image is a composite photo (by Michael Elins), featuring doe-eyed, fresh-faced Spears, wrapped in white silk sheets, that reminds us of her potential. For the article, The Road to Ruin, writer Michael Joseph Gross spent a month interviewing dozens of sources and trailing Britney with the ever-present paparazzo to tell the inside story on all that went wrong-her missteps, her meltdowns, and what friends say may be her last hope for rescue. Those closest to her speak out:

On being a child star: “She was the bread winner in her family,” says one former manager. “And when you know everyone’s living off you, you learn not to trust.” Moreover, again like most child stars, “she was never really taught how to live. Basic things: how to balance a checkbook, how things get done.”

On her breakup with Justin: The breakup, according to those closest to Spears, began her personal collapse. “Ever since then,” says one friend, “she’s been mad at the world.”

On Chaotic and her relationship with Kevin: “Chaotic destroyed the image that we had worked so carefully to create,” says one of her advisers at the time, who opposed the project. “She thought that if she showed the world everything, everyone would love her for it. What it did, instead, was make her look like white trash – and that is not what she is. She’s better than that. It created an appetite for this wild and crazy girl and created this spiral where nothing can satisfy that appetite.

On her brief time in rehab: She ended her rehabilitation early “because that would have required her to admit, in front of the world, that she had problems. That was the one thing she couldn’t do,” says one of Britney’s closest companions at this time, sounding eaten by frustration. “Is there anyone on the planet, except Britney Spears, who cannot see that Britney has a problem? After that, she pushed her family, literally everyone, away.”

What will it take to save her? Her former manager Johnny Wright says “I’m not pointing fingers, but I can’t believe that she woke up one morning and said, ‘I don’t want my family, or anyone else I knew, to be in touch with me anymore.’ “People say she needs to go to rehab. I think she just needs a friend – somebody not caught up in Hollywood, not looking for a paycheck. Somebody she trusts has to step up and break it down for her.”

Among the most shocking revelations in Gross’ s article comes from an exclusive interview with Danny Haines, an vulnerable 29-year-old man who met Britney Spear-de facto manager/publicist/confidante Sam Lutfi, over MySpace in the fall of 2005. Haines divulges shocking details about Lutfi’s dark past (including at least three outstanding restraining orders and a violent temper) and how he may be a driving force behind Britney’s actions.

On their relationship: To Haines’s fractured ego, Lutfi’s social skills and emotional intelligence were magnetic. He encouraged Haines to “stand up for himself” and at the same time worked to become indispensable to him. Lutfi ingratiated himself with Haines’s family, acting as a go-between and informal counselor. Haines says that their relationship was not romantic or sexual but that Lufti was more jealous than a lover. He could be supportive one day and vicious the next, leaving voicemails tracing extremes from “You’re a worthless motherfucker” to “I love you, man. I love you to death.” He says that…Lutfi reserved most of his energy for emotional blackmail and extortion. “Everybody hates you,” he wrote to Haines, suggesting that Haines should just kill himself: “Seriously, sleeping pills, LOTS of them…”

The threats: When Haines finally cut the cord, Lutfi humiliated him. He e-mailed naked photographs of Haines to his family, friends, colleagues and employer. He texted and called incessantly, telling Haines he hoped his sister would be “raped to death” according to the restraining order…such communications moved Haines to seek the restraining order, which also protects his mother from being contacted by Lutfi.

Haines, whose relationship with Lutfi was the subject of a few obscure blog comments after Lutfi’s other restraining orders wre reported in December, says that he subsequently received an e-mail from Lutfi’s sister’s address, which he read as a warning: “One of your friends is writing to some magazines about your history with my brother…I don’t think that’s wise for him to do.” The warning came with what sounded like a threat: “Those pictures and your history isn’t so positive either and I’m sure you wouldn’t want that to be public as well.”

“If Sam’s not doing anything wrong with Britney, if he’s not worried about being exposed,” Haines asks, “why would his sister be saying, Don’t talk about my brother and his past?”

Britney’s parents weigh in: Informed of the details of Haines’ relationship with Lutfi, Jamie and Lynne Spears, who declined to discuss Lutfi on the record, both expressed grave concern to Blender about his ongoing involvement in their daughter’s life and have encouraged Haines to go public with the story.

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Jan 28, 2008 11:57am PDT

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