Britney Spears trial: Justin Timberlake breakup to blame for singer's meltdown?

justin-timberlake-britney-spears-pics-dating-photos-gettyi.jpgSam Lutfi's attorney may have opened the defamation trial against Britney Spears and her parents on Thursday (Oct. 17) by painting a picture of Lutfi as a confidant who tried his best to keep the singer clean. But the Spears family's attorney says in his opening statement Friday that Lutfi was an opportunist taking advantage of Britney during a vulnerable period -- a period that stemmed from her breakup with Justin Timberlake a decade ago.

Attorney Leon Gladstone contends that the beginning of Britney's downward spiral can be traced back to the Timberlake split, reports E! News, noting that things between the couple "ended painfully." After the relationship was over, the singer's parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, noticed a change in their daughter.

Then, of course, came Britney impetuously marrying her childhood friend, Jason Alexander; annulling the marriage 55 days later; abusing drugs; marrying her backup dancer Kevin Federline, with whom she later had two sons; and then divorcing him in November 2006, a period that Gladstone calls "the beginning of the worst period of Britney's life."

She made a couple of failed rehab attempts, broke ties with her family, shaved her head and lost custody of her sons before the night in January 2008 when she locked herself in the bathroom with her son Jayden, prompting calls to police and paramedics. It would take another hospitalization and psychiatric hold, though, on Jan. 31 before her father, Jamie, would be able to establish a conservatorship. He and his wife, Lynne, also filed a restraining order against Lutfi.

"This is a story of a close family, but not a perfect one," Gladstone says. "It's a story of a man who actually wanted nothing more for his daughter than to live and be well. It's a story of a father who has had to step up and take action that he never thought he would have to take ... actions that didn't perhaps endear his daughter to him."

Joel Boxer, Britney's attorney in the suit, tells the jury Friday, "Sam Lutfi tried to take advantage of a very vulnerable Britney Spears. Whether he gets away with it is a chapter to be written by you, ladies and gentlemen."
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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