Britney Spears says she tries to stay true to self

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LOS ANGELES, Nov 1 (Reuters) In her first interview amid the media frenzy over her child custody hearings, Britney Spears has told a radio station that the world can be cruel but she deals with it by staying true to herself.

''You just try to keep doing what you do and as long as you know what's up and you know what's true, that's all that really matters -- you know,'' Spears told celebrity disc jockey Ryan Seacrest on Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM yesterday.

Seacrest asked Spears, 25, if criticism of her parenting skills bothered her, and she lamented on how ''sad, you know, how people ... how cruel our world can be.'' ''But at the end of the day, like I said, you know, you just got to know in your heart that, you know, you're doing the best that you can and, you know, that's basically it,'' Spears said.

The singer and ex-husband Kevin Federline, 29, have been embroiled for months in a custody battle over their two sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.

In the most recent event on Tuesday, a Los Angeles court commissioner ruled Spears can visit her sons -- currently living with Federline -- three times a week with a monitor and she must continue random drug and alcohol testing.

The ruling followed a hearing last Friday at which a parenting coach testified that Spears ''rarely engaged with the children in conversation or play'' and the boys had no real schedule or routine, according to court documents.

Seacrest asked Spears if she was doing everything she could for her kids, and the singer replied, ''Oh God, yes.'' He asked how often she was seeing the boys, and she deferred to her lawyers.

''That's like all in the court, stuff like that. My lawyers know all that stuff,'' she said.

In addition to the ruling, Spears also saw the release of her new album, ''Blackout,'' this week with the single, ''Gimme More,'' winning a lot of radio play and Web downloads.

Seacrest asked Spears about the message she meant to convey in one of the album's songs, ''Piece of Me.'' ''There's a lot of people who like, you know, want to ask questions and ... sometimes you don't know their intentions and stuff like that,'' Spears said. ''It's just kind of a cute way of putting it out there, you know, like, 'you want a piece of me,' and like, in a cool, cute, clever way.'' REUTERS PD AS0922

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