January 19, 2008 / 12:48 AM / in 10 years

Media frenzy sparks fears for Britney Spears

LOS ANGELES, Jan 18 (Reuters) - She is watched round the clock by photographers, chased at high speed and friends fear for her mental stability.

After a year of erratic behavior in the glare of the press spotlight she both shuns and invites, pop star Britney Spears has some observers comparing the celebrity media frenzy surrounding her with what Britain’s Princess Diana faced and some voice concern about her safety.

Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997, had been the most photographed woman in the world and the object of intense media scrutiny.

Spears, 26, has been staked out 24 hours a day for the past two years. This week, she was involved in a late-night car chase, in which four paparazzi were arrested for reckless driving, and she ducked back into her car after being mobbed by media covering a child custody court hearing.

Spears has been one of the biggest-selling female pop singers in the past decade. But since her life careened out of control following her divorce last year from Kevin Federline, she has been photographed with a bald head, going partying without panties and being carried by stretcher into an ambulance.

When photographers followed her into a Los Angeles church on Monday, it was the last straw for U.S. comic and talk-show host Rosie O‘Donnell.

“I remember the tunnel as it appeared on the news, lit by headlights, flashlights, red lights.....I saw it then, and I can see it now. Diana dead,” O‘Donnell wrote in her blog.

”She (Spears) will be trying to get away, but they will chase her, just as they chased her into that church ...

“The tunnel is crowded now. There are only inches of separation between vulnerability and disaster,” she added.

Diana, 36, died in a high-speed Paris car crash blamed on her drunk and drugged-up driver. She was being followed by photograph

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