LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Troubled pop star Britney Spears was in a Los Angeles hospital for the second time in a month on Thursday after being taken from her home in the middle of the night by ambulance and a fleet of police.
Several celebrity media outlets reported that the singer was being held for a mental evaluation. Hospital officials declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality.
News video showed more than a dozen police motorcycles and squad cars entering and leaving Spear’s Los Angeles home shortly after midnight on Thursday and taking her to the UCLA Medical Center.
Spears, 26, whose life has grown increasingly erratic in the past 12 months, is being held for a three-day mental evaluation on the orders of her psychiatrist, her self-styled manager, Sam Lutfi, told the New York Post’s gossip Web site PageSix.com.
Spears’ estranged mother, Lynne, and her father, Jamie, were pictured leaving the hospital on Thursday morning along with Lutfi. Lynne Spears told reporters only that Britney was okay.
Celebrity web site TMZ.com said the pop star’s psychiatrist felt Spears, who is followed night and day by paparazzi, was a danger to herself because of reckless driving and a recent deterioration in her behavior.
Thursday’s transfer to hospital was prearranged, according to TMZ.com, with Spears’ doctors, her parents and Los Angeles police.
Spears’ personal life went downhill after she filed for divorce from Kevin Federline in November 2006. She was seen out partying without wearing panties. She shaved her head, attacked paparazzi and spent a month in rehab.
Spears, who has lost custody and visiting rights with her two young sons, was ordered late last year to undergo random drug and alcohol tests by the family court handling her bitter custody dispute with ex-husband Federline.
But in recent week, friends and family have said they believe the former teen pop phenomenon is suffering from bipolar disorder — which is characterized by abrupt mood swings — or other psychiatric problems.
In recent weeks, Spears, a native of Louisiana, has assumed a British accent, been photographed sitting in tears outside her house at night clutching her dog, arguing loudly with friends including Lutfi. Several unnamed sources have told celebrity news outlets she has not slept for more than three days.
Spears was first hospitalized for two days on January 3 after apparently locking herself in a bathroom in hysterics and refusing to hand back her two sons to representatives of Federline.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Sandra Maler