Britney Spears: In Deep Denial?

A court has ordered Britney Spears to give up custody of her two children beginning tomorrow.

A celebrity Web sites says that Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, are already with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, and were handed off yesterday as part of their regular shared custody agreement.

The court made its decision after a closed door hearing. All transcripts from that proceeding have been sealed, so the exact reason behind the decision is not known, but Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom said she wasn't surprised with the judge's decision because Spear's didn't follow what Bloom called "the first rule of litigation: Do not mess with the judge's order."

"I don't think the judge cares that much about her driving without a license, but he wanted her to sign up for parenting classes, go to drug counseling, random drug tests, even sign the order acknowledging she's supposed to do these things," Bloom told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "She didn't do it, and that was the last straw for the judge."


Photos: Britney And K-Fed
Lawyers for Federline couldn't be happier. But for Spears, 25, the ruling is a new low.

"Go back even just a week and a half ago, this court order came down where she had to undergo these random drug tests, we knew she had to meet with a parenting counselor, so you would have thought she was going to pull her act together and then that night we saw her out partying," Kim Serafin, senior editor at In Touch Weekly, told The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

Early Show contributor and assistant managing editor at People magazine Jess Cagle said it doesn't seem like Spears is aware of the gravity of the situation and is in deep denial.

"Even yesterday, after the order was handed down that she had temporarily lost custody of her children, she was out shopping and tanning and things like that," he said. "She did do one thing, which was she went to the DMV to take a driver's test so maybe she could get her license. She seemed to hear that."

2Questions about Spears parenting skills began almost as soon as she became a mother. She was photographed driving with Sean Preston on her lap and on another occasion, sitting in an improperly secured car seat. There was also a picture of Spears holding him while nearly losing her balance and dropping him. But the real downward spiral started after she filed for divorce in November 2006, and the all night partying began. On Feb. 16, she shaved her head and was soon in and out of rehab.


Photos: K-Fed Gets A Text Message
Early last week Spears took another huge hit in the court of public opinion. Her former bodyguard called her an unstable mother, who pranced around naked and abused drugs and alcohol.

She was also hit with a hit and run charge, and driving without a valid license. Then she was seen over the weekend driving without a license with her kids in the car.

"Britney has really tested everybody and this judge doesn't really care what the parents do he is looking out for the kids and I think he is getting to the point enough is enough," family law attorney Tina Schuchman said.

Spear's inner circle also seems to be dwindling. She lost the services of her attorney, Laura Wasser and her manager, Jeff Kwatinetz. She is estranged from her parents. One of her major problems, said "Insider" anchor Lara Spencer, is that she will not allow people in her life that question her behavior.

"If somebody tells her what she doesn't want to hear, then they're out," she said. "It's happened time and time again."

Her big chance at redemption came last month when Spears performed at MTV's VMAs, but even then, Spencer said, the singer wouldn't take expert advice.

"It was a perfect example of this, you know, systematic self-destruction," she said. "You know, she was out drinking and partying all night for two nights before going on. I mean, this is her -- you would think you would rehearse, you would be ready to go, you would listen to what the experts told you about what to wear. She didn't do any of that. Even down to her outfits. The MTV producers had a very ... chic bustier, elegant outfit and she said not sexy enough. She had a wonderful hairstylist who left because she wouldn't listen to him. She styled her own hair. She can't seem to make the right decisions."


Timeline: Britney's Meltdown
Jive, Spears' record label, has been very supportive, Cagle said, and her new album is due in November.

"But it does seem that she is intent on alienating herself," he said. "I think what you're seeing is this sort of delayed, very rebellious, rebellious adolescence that she never got to have and is now doing it."

While some question whether Federline is himself a worthy parent, Bloom says there is no choice but to grant him custody for now. The fact that the judge took such young children away from their mother shows how serious the situation is. The judge, who called Spears a habitual drug user, said the safety of the two boys is at stake.

"Judges want parents to succeed. If she straightens up and flies right, as you said, complies with all the laws and the orders and gets back on track, she can get those kids back," Bloom said. "It's possible, at this point, not probable, but possible."

Spears, clearly enjoys playing the child. She drove around this weekend, sucking on a pacifier and when she ran out of gas, a paparazzo stepped in to fill her up.

There will be another hearing. Custody arguments can go on for years -- and Spears is most likely paying Federline's attorney's fees.