Once upon a time, photos of Britney Spears accounted for 20% of L.A.’s paparazzi business.
But now that she’s cleaning up her act, looking hot and getting critical acclaim for appearances on sitcoms, she’s destroying the pap economy and threatening to put her former pap buddies in the poorhouse.
"She’s boring. She doesn’t even have a boyfriend," said Francois Navarre, the co-owner of X17, the photo agency who did 24/7 coverage of crazy-days Britney Spears.
She’s even stopped seeing her enterprising paparazzo beau, Adnan Ghalib, or not in public, anyway.
Several agencies that used to have hordes of freelance photogs in black-windowed SUVs following her every right turn, left turn, run red light and missed stop sign, have had to (shudder) downsize their snapping SWAT teams.
I spotted a swarm of paps outside Maxfield on Melrose and asked who they were waiting for. "Phoebe Price," one of them whispered, referring to the D-list actress who was refused entrance to a Chanel boutique opening recently. O RLY? So it’s come to this?
"At the height of the story, we had maybe six or eight guys on it [Britney] round the clock," Chris Doherty, owner of INF, which sells pictures to magazines, websites and TV shows, told the Los Angeles Times. "Now we would have at most two. There’s no real point to being there all the time."
Should we feel sorry for the poor paps? Hey, they have wives, children, pets, credit card debt and mortgages too.
Photo: Britney made a surprise appearance at Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy’s charity last week. Looking good, girl. But don’t forget your pap pals.