Since no one in Britney Spears’ orbit can turn down an interview, now she has to respond to claims from ex-husband Kevin Federline about their teenage sons supposedly choosing not to see her for months.
Federline, a former backup dancer who was married to the pop superstar for two tumultuous years in the early 2000s, recently took part in a sit-down interview with the Daily Mail, reigniting long-standing tensions between himself and his ex.
“The boys have decided they are not seeing her right now,” Federline told the Mail about Preston, 16, and Jayden, 15. “It’s been a few months since they’ve seen her. They made the decision not to go to her wedding.”
Federline also alleged that their sons are particularly bothered by Spears’ social media behavior, including the revealing photos she posts on Instagram.
“I try to explain to them, ‘Look, maybe that’s just another way she tries to express herself,’” he said. “But that doesn’t take away from the fact of what it does to them.”
He furthermore claimed that Spears’ conservatorship ― which she has said resulted in years of financial exploitation and emotional abuse after it was put in place in 2008 ― actually “saved” her.
Kevin Federline and Britney Spears divorced in July 2007 after two years of marriage. (Photo: John Sciulli via Getty Images)
The fallout from the legal arrangement, which a judge terminated in November 2021, has been “hard to watch, harder to live through, harder to watch my boys go through than anything else,” Federline said.
“It’s been tough,” he added. “It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.”
Spears responded to the interview Saturday night via Instagram, calling Federline’s comments about her sons “hurtful.”
“It saddens me to hear that my ex husband has decided to discuss the relationship between me and my children,” she wrote. “As we all know, raising teenage boys is never easy for anyone ... It concerns me the fact that the reason is based on my Instagram ... it was LONG before Instagram ... I gave them everything.”
(Photo: Instagram/Britney Spears)
In a separate post, Spears pushed back on Federline’s criticism of her social media activity, writing that “other artists have made much worse when their children were extremely young.”
“I’m only human and I’ve done my best,” she wrote. “I was controlled and monitored for nearly 15 years ... I needed permission just to take Tylenol!!! I should embark on doing WAAAY more than going topless on the beach like a baby!!!!”
“I’m not surprised that just as my family did their share of interviews, they will too,” she continued. “I’m not surprised at all with their behavior and their approach to what I’ve had to deal with.”
Sam Asghari, who married Spears in June, also didn’t take kindly to Federline’s comments, saying via Instagram that “there is not validity to his statement regarding the kids distancing themselves.”
“The boys are very smart and will be 18 soon to make their own decisions and may eventually realize the ‘tough’ part was having a father who hasn’t worked much in over 15 years as a role model,” Asghari wrote.
“Kevin’s gravy train will end soon which probably explains the timing of these hurtful statements,” he added. “I do not know him personally and have nothing against him aside him choosing to vilify my wife. His character is revealed by approval of the cruel 13 year (conservatorship) and his loyalty to Jaimie indicates his approval at time of its conception as well.”
Despite Federline taking out a restraining order against the singer’s father, Jamie Spears, over an alleged altercation in 2019, he said he would now “absolutely welcome” Jamie back into his son’s lives.
“People make mistakes,” Federline told the Daily Mail about his former father-in-law, who was the architect of Spears’ conservatorship. “I feel bad for him. I feel like he’s been put through the wringer.”
The singer is currently in the midst of a legal battle with her father as part of an ongoing investigation into his role as the conservator of her estate.
In July, she scored a major victory when a judge ruled that Jamie must sit for a deposition to address a slew of troubling claims, including an allegation that he put his daughter under constant surveillance by bugging her bedroom, which he has denied.
Spears rarely speaks about her own sons publicly, though she did share a sweet photo of herself with the boys last year, saying they’d given her permission to post it.
“I’m extremely lucky because my two babies are such gentleman [sic] and so kind that I must have done something right,” she wrote at the time. “I haven’t posted pictures of them for some time cause they’re at the age where they want to express their own identities and I totally get it.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.